The Keto Diet

It is the diet everyone talks about, some in favor and others against, but what is the ketogenic diet? Well, let’s start by saying that it’s a low carb diet focused on the production of ketones by the body. And, what are ketones? They are organic compounds created by the body when there is a low carb ingestion, and they are in charge of breaking down fat for energy.

The process is known as ketosis, and it’s the one that the body uses to help us to survive when there is none or low intake of food. Experts say that if the keto diet is properly maintained, the body is forced to go into ketosis but not due to starvation of calories but of carbohydrates.

Then, what’s a typical menu during the keto diet? The answer is not the same for every person. It’s important to know that there are those who believe that this is a dangerous diet due to the process and foods that are part of it.

In any case, the regular keto dieters consume seafood, especially salmon and other fish rich in potassium, selenium, and B vitamins. Low-carb vegetables are a key part of this diet. Cheese…yes, cheese is not only welcomed but almost necessary for its high content of fat. Remember that this diet needs fat to be used as energy. Avocado, coconut oil, poultry, meat, olive oil, and eggs are also an essential part of the keto menu.

What not to eat? Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans (grains), fruits like mango or banana, sugar, or any other carbohydrate.

According to the keto diet fans, it offers benefits that go beyond the weight loss. Energy increase, control of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and a sharpened mental focus are some of the claimed benefits of the ketogenic routine.

However, and almost as in any diet, there are also negative effects. Nausea, headache, fatigue are some of the symptoms that you could experience.

As always, remember that it’s imperative for you to consult your primary care physician before you make drastic changes in your diet. Experts say that not everyone is good for any diet, and not any diet is good for everyone.

 

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Follow your heart…literally!

The importance of your heart rate for your health

Let’s start by explaining that your heart rate shows the number of times that your heart beats per minute. As you can imagine every person has a different heart rate depending on his/her body size, use of medications, emotional issues, etc.

Now, it’s important for you to know that number because even if you don’t practice a sport regularly, or if you are not an athlete, to track the heart rate could help you to detect possible and developing health issues.

There are normal parameters that you have to consider, and that will help you to improve your health, to lose weight, and even to improve your fitness level.

Here are some essential things you should know:

  1. Resting Heart Rate:  It refers to the number of times that your heart beats per minute while you are at rest, and the best time for you to check it could be as soon as you wake up, and before you get out of bed.
  2. Normal bpm (beats per minute): For most people, it goes between 60 and 100, while athletes or more active people may have it as low as 40.
  3. There is a maximum heart rate that you should avoid: It’s 220 minus your age. If you exceed that number, you may hurt yourself.
  4. If your goal is to lose weight, calculate 50 to 85 percent of the previous number and stay on the higher end. Ex: If you are 40 it would be 220-40=180. 85 percent of 180=153, that’s probably your target rate.
  5. If the 85 percent is too intense, you can start with a 60 – 70 percent of 220 minus your age as your target rate.

 

Bottom line, learn about your heart rate, its healthy ranges, and how you could incorporate that information into your fitness routines. As always, talk to your doctor about possible changes in your physical activities, and start following your heart…literally!

That diet soda…

Diet sodas were born in 1952 in Canada, they were sweetened with saccharin and they were an option for people with diabetes. However, their popularity exploded, and since then the world has seen all kind of flavors, colors, recipes, and options of sodas that offer the flavor, sensation, and coolness of a regular soda, but without the calories and the sugar. Nowadays aspartame has replaced the saccharin, and as said before, there is all sort of flavors and options.

We are talking a big wave that only in our country leaves $21 billion per year! Huge, right? But, are we talking about something that is actually good for us and our health?

Controversy, different opinions, and several studies are part of the answer. Let’s start with the scientific part of the answer.

Different studies have shown a relation between diet soda and heart problems, weight gain, diabetes, and more recently stroke and dementia risk. However, and according to experts, there is no need for you to get alarmed…at least not just yet. Researchers say that only 5% of the people in the study were diagnosed with dementia, while 3% had a stroke. They say, they might be a link, but not necessarily a cause-effect situation

Now, one of the main concerns among doctors and specialists is that those who drink diet sodas tend to consume more calories through other foods thinking that the ones saved from their drinks can be compensated with other things, and that’s when the weight gain and the diabetes risk play a big part on the game.

At the end of the day, balance is the keyword. Be aware of the risks, talk to your doctor, and find out if you may make some changes in your diet habits.

 

Hair loss shouldn’t be taken lightly

Losing hair is something that affects much more than the physical appearance.  Who begins to see the changes due to this condition, begins to perceive other effects that can range from anxiety to depression.

For most women, for example, hair is more than just the fibers that cover their skin. Hair could be a very important part of their personality, a way to express their own self, and that’s one of the reasons why hair loss can’t be taken lightly.

Even though hair loss has been linked mainly to guys, women also suffer from it, and it can be as devastating or more as it is for a man. But in both cases, for males or females, the first step before pursuing any hair loss treatment, is to start looking for a possible cause, and according to experts, those causes might vary from men to women. However, there are a few common causes detected that can affect both, male and female patients:

  • Heredity (Family History)
  • Stress
  • Medical Conditions or Infections
  • Some Medicines
  • Poor diet
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Certain Hairstyles

 

For some of those causes, specialists have certain recommendations that could help you to stop or avoid the hair loss process:

  • Avoid tight hairstyles if you have thin and fine hair
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Before using some beauty treatments, read carefully the labels
  • Avoid extreme temperatures on your hair
  • Take good care of your hair by brushing, cleaning and conditioning when needed

There is no reason to feel desperate. If you believe that the cause of your hair loss goes further, consult your doctor. Sudden hair loss or hairless patches could be a sign of a medical condition that has to be diagnosed by a physician.

 

The benefits of gratitude

Specialists from different disciplines have said this for a long time: there are scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that will inspire you to express it not only during these days around Thanksgiving but every single day of your life.

According to many researchers, gratitude is a powerful practice, so powerful that it could radically change your life and your environment, but for that to happen, you have to practice it conscientiously.

Experts say that once gratitude is part of your daily life, you can see positive changes and effects in your personality, your health, your career, your emotional status, and your social development. Why? Simple, because the world around you will see a person who cares, a person that enjoys life, a person who wants to give back, and that kind of attitudes can only produce positive outcomes.

There are several studies made in the world in order to measure the effects of gratitude in the life of a person. The results are extraordinary!

A grateful person will avoid toxic emotions, reducing also pain, stress, and frustration. We are talking about a person that will have more energy, a better awareness of wellbeing and health, and therefore more initiatives to exercise and to practice better life habits.

But that’s not all. When you feel grateful for your life and everything that happens around you, you tend to be more sensitive to other people, and about situations that otherwise would bother you. Why is that important? Because it allows you to face problems with an optimistic attitude. In terms of career, that’s a huge pro! It will translate into mentoring opportunities, better chances to be recognized and a better performance.

Now, if you have sleep issues, and although it may sound strange, gratitude could be a good answer to your problem, or at least a good beginning. A study published in 2011 in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, says that writing in a gratitude journal before bed could help you to sleep better.

In short, being grateful can bring to your life more happiness, harmony, balance, and success, so, why to reserve it only for one day a year? Let’s practice gratitude every day!

 

Your skin talks about you…take care of what it says

It’s the largest organ of the human body, our protection against the environment, the case that guards every single inch of that whole composed of bones, muscles and more organs…our skin is our armor.

Yes, the skin is an organ, the largest one, as we said before, but sometimes we tend to forget how important it is to keep it not only clean but healthy. Even with clothes on, the skin is always exposed to everything, and although it’s not easy to detect always its deficiencies, we should know that a lot of internal problems in our body could be avoided if we take good care of that special body lining we have.

You should know that protecting the skin goes beyond using sunscreen and moisturizers, which by the way, are two very important practices that you should introduce into your skincare routine.

What we consume affects the skin, and what we drink affects it too. It means that a healthy and balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and a lot of water, is determinant to have the skin you wish. Here are some quick and simple tips that could help you to take care of the story that your skin will tell:

  • Determine your skin type to know what kind of products are better for you.
  • Daily gentle cleansing: Limit your shower time, use warm and not hot water, and avoid strong soaps.
  • Don’t smoke: Wrinkles, stains, and change of color are some of the consequences that smoking will have on your skin.
  • Remove the makeup always with gentle products. Remember that your lips and the area around the eyes are very sensitive, and they need extra care and attention.
  • An exfoliation routine at least once a week is essential to purify and clean your skin
  • Remember that your whole body is covered by skin, and every part of it requires the same dedication from you.

Build a daily skincare routine. Once you start doing it, you will see the results. A brighter, healthier and softer skin will be your best reward.

Becoming a vegetarian? Organization and information could be the secret

We all have thought about that, either by curiosity, by interest, or by a legitimate decision to make changes. How is it to be a vegetarian? Reality is that every day thousands of people around the globe make the decision to start more than a new diet regime, a new lifestyle, as vegetarians.

The reason? Well, there are several. First, we can find those who refuse to consume animal protein in an attempt to preserve those lives and to set a precedent against what they can see as animal cruelty. Others have done their research to realize that they can get their protein intake just from plants and grains, and decide to go that way to avoid the cholesterol, antibiotics and other things that you could have while consuming animal protein. Finally, there is a whole group of people that follow the idea that all the animal proteins are not only bad but also a trigger for a good number of health conditions that kill thousands of people every year. We are talking about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, just to mention a few ones.

Is all that true? It depends on who you talk to. It is true that well-known experts from around the world have studies and research that show a certain connection between the consumption of animal proteins and the risk of developing diseases like breast cancer and diabetes. It is true that there are documented cases of patients which have greatly improved their health by changing to a vegetarian lifestyle. It is true that most of the meat and chicken that we find at any supermarket in the country is plagued with antibiotics and other substances. It is true that animal cruelty has been a common practice in several farms where chickens, pork, and cows are hosted for production of meat, eggs, and milk. We all have seen the images, articles, and investigations around those topics. But the only truth that you should consider is your own one.

Every person is a unique universe. Only you can determine what is good or not for you. Only you can make the decision to try different things or to stay with what you already know. What’s important here, is to research, to read about the topic, to talk to different kind of people, to evaluate the pros and cons, to consult your doctor and to finally make a decision having in mind that you are who best know yourself.

In case you decide to become a vegetarian, start by reading about the benefits and the possible effects in your body. The internet is full of websites and pages where recipes, tips, and even coupons are available for those who have decided to start leaving behind the animal proteins.

Organize your menus, make a budget, look for easy recipes and plan ahead your meals, and take baby steps. Once you know what you are going to eat every day, it’s easy to continue. The struggle is to look for new dishes, but again, your cyber friends could be the key.

We always say that changes are good. If this is your case, enjoy it! You will discover a whole new world ahead of you. Just remember that balance is a good word to define whatever you do in life.