The ketogenic diet, or keto as it is commonly referred to, is a diet high in healthy fats, moderate in proteins, and very low in carbohydrate content from a macronutrient standpoint. What this type of diet does is cause the body to burn fats for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This also includes stored fats in the body, which has been show to be beneficial for fat loss. If there is little to no glucose being ingested or stored glycogen in the body, the liver is forced to convert fatty acids into usable fuel called ketones.
Below, I want to outline some of the science-based and research-supported pros associated with a ketogenic diet, and how this type of nutrition program could assist you in achieving your wellness goals. As with any nutritional program, prior to implementing it is important to speak with your trusted healthcare provider to see if it is a good fit for you. Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits that make keto my go-to dietary approach:
(1) Reduces Visceral Fat: One big issue with visceral fat is that it can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with serious health conditions including stroke and cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance which increases the risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
(2)Reduces Appetite: By decreasing appetite while dieting, it has been shown to improve mood in those using the keto approach while dieting for fat loss. Cravings and hunger are the leading barrier to people being successful in losing weight long-term.
(3) Can Help to Enhance Memory: Studies have shown that ketones can act as antioxidants and protect brain cells. It has also been shown to help improve short term memory as well.
(4) Can Improve Oral Health: Bacteria on the teeth and gums live on sugars produced from the breakdown of carbohydrates. This sugar is converted to harmful acids by the bacteria and can eat away tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. By eliminating the consumption of excess carbohydrates, we reduce the food source for these harmful bacteria in the mouth.
(5) Has an Anti-Inflammatory Effect on the Body: Increased inflammation can lead to pain, especially musculoskeletal pain in the joints, muscles and other soft tissue. It can also weaken the immune system. Other symptoms associated with inflammation include increased hunger and thirst, increases allergic reactions, weight gain, it can lead to ulcers in the stomach and digestive system, and increase the risk of diabetes and pancreatitis.
(6) Decreased Triglyceride Levels in the Blood: Triglycerides and fat molecules that circulate in the blood. Increased triglyceride levels are linked to increased risk of heart disease.
(7) Increased Levels of Good Cholesterol: The keto diet is linked to an increase in HDL levels which is commonly referred to as the good cholesterol. Increased HDL levels are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
(8) Helps to Stabilize Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels: The ketogenic diet is great for diabetics in that studies show that it lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels. One research study demonstrated that 95% of test subjects with Type II Diabetes were able to reduce or eliminate glucose-lowering medications within 6 months of flowing a ketogenic diet.
(9) It Has a Positive Effect on Several Brain Disorders: In medicine, the ketogenic diet is used to treat epilepsy in children who do not respond to drug therapy. A large portion of the brain can utilize and burn ketones as a fuel source, while the liver can convert proteins into glucose to fuel the small portion of the brain that requires glucose specifically for fuel. There is also encouraging research supporting the use of the keto diet in improving brain function in those suffering from brain disease such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
(10) Keto Helps with Weight Loss: Without a doubt, this is the number one reason why people try the keto diet, and for good reason. It works! When consuming carbohydrates, the excess sugar is removed from the bloodstream by insulin and once muscle and liver glycogen stores are full, the remainder of this glucose is stored in fat cells. By drastically reducing the consumption of carbohydrates, you eliminate the root source of glucose that has the potential of being stored as fat.
As you can see from the above list, the ketogenic diet is more than just another fad diet. There are multiple science-backed health benefits associated with it and it is utilized by the medical community to treat certain disorders. If this is something that appeals to you and you want to give it a shot, talk with your doctor to see if this is a good fit for you and your lifestyle. We will discuss some of the cons associated with the ketogenic diet in another blog post! Until then…
In Wellness and Love,
If you’re like most people, given the surge in popularity as of recent, you have more-than-likely heard of CBD or cannabidiol. Here locally, I know of at least 10 CBD dispensaries that have opened within the last year. But here's the thing, there is solid justification behind its recent rise to the top of the natural healthcare scene.
One of the first questions people often have regarding CBD is, is this marijuana? The simple answer is no, so let me explain this in a little more detail. There are over 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, but the 2 most widely talked about are CBD and THC. Think of the hemp plant and marijuana plant as cousins. Both are in the cannabis family, but the main difference is the level of THC present. The marijuana plant is high in THC, which account for the psychoactive component that makes a person feel “high.” The help plant on the other hand has a high CBD component and typically trace amount of THC. Therefore, users get the health benefit of the cannabis plants and cannabinoids, without the psychoactive side effects.
There are roughly 250 documented health benefits associated with cannabis and CBD. Even the World Health Organization lists several major diseases that CBD can potentially treat including epilepsy, Parkinson’s, neuropathy, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, pain, nausea, psychosis, IBD, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and complications associated with diabetes. Can you say WOW?!?!?
So that being said, here’s a list of PRANA Top 5 Reasons why you SHOULD be taking CBD as a part of your steps for living a healthier life:
(1) It is great for stress- relief and fighting anxiety: Studies show that CBD can activate serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is important in mood stabilization and regulation.
(2) It can help boost the immune system: The high level of Omega Fatty Acids found in CBD oil help protect us from illness-causing microbes. In addition, the Endocannabinoid System is a regulatory system in the body that helps improve the function of all other systems, including the immune system.
(3) CBD is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory product: CBD can help control the activation and mobilization of white blood cells which play a vital role in the inflammatory response. CBD is an all-natural alternative to NSAIDS such as ibuprofen.
(4) It can help with pain: Studies show that CBD helps to reduce our perception of pain much in the same way that acetaminophen-based products work. CBD has been shown to modulate both sensorial and affective (pain signals that travel from the body to the brain) dimensions of pain.
(5) CBD helps to regulate cardiovascular function: The leading cause of death in the United States remains cardiovascular disease, so it is super encouraging to see that CBD has a positive impact on heart health. By increasing adenosine receptor response in the brain, CBD helps regulate cardiovascular activity. Studies have also demonstrated CBD’s effectiveness in helping to protect the cardiovascular system after heart attacks and stroke.
If you have not tried CBD, now is the perfect time to do so! As we continue to battle the flu and cold season, taking natural steps to improving health just makes sense. To learn more about the amazing benefits of CBD, stop by PRANA and check out all the CBD based products that we have in stock. We have a wide-range including CBD tinctures, teas, coffee, pre-rolls, bath bombs, and more! We’d love to answer any questions that you have.
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.