Understanding Ketosis and Its Effects of the Body: Positive and Negative

It is no secret the health and diet industry is a crowded place, and it is often the loudest voice in the market that gets the most attention. Recently, many people are turning to a keto or ketogenic diet to lose weight, and it depends on a metabolic process called ketosis. There is no denying the effectiveness of the diet; many people are using it successfully, but is it healthy?

Understanding Ketosis

Glucose or blood sugar is the standard energy source in the body; it is often referred to as fuel. A ketogenic diet alters the body's preferred fuel source by limiting the available glucose through the drastic reduction of carbohydrate intake. 

When the body does not have excess blood sugar to convert into energy, it focuses on fat, transforming it into ketone bodies through ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process, often occurring during pregnancy and infancy, but it can also be a product of fasting or starvation, which leads to some concern over long-term ketogenic diets.

Ketosis and the Brain

A common concern of prolonged ketosis is how a lack of glucose will affect the brain. When carbohydrates are restricted, as they are in ketogenic diets, the body can lose one of the easiest methods for producing glucose, a substance needed by specific brain cells. Fortunately, carbs are not the only resource for glucose production. 

Gluconeogenesis is a natural process in the body. During this process, your body uses other proteins and molecules to produce essential glucose to the brain. It is important to note, your entire brain does not need glucose, only specific cells; glucose is only a preferred fuel source. Most of the brain can convert to ketones without issue.

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Ketosis and Weight Loss

Ketogenic diets focus on low carb and high fat intake. According to some research, the diet, which promotes ketosis, is more beneficial than those diets focusing on low fat intake and calorie counting. For those who get aggravated counting calories, a ketogenic diet is a good option because research suggests people feel less hungry, leading to fewer reasons for calorie counting due to ketosis.

Commitment is a concern when following such a restrictive diet. While it is easy to think that reducing carb intake is not that bad, consider you only have an allowance of between 20 and 50 grams, depending on age, weight, height, etc. For most people, the ketogenic diet requires the removal of grains, candy, and sugary drinks. It also means significantly cutting back on potatoes, fruit, and legumes. Because of the restrictions, many people find the diet to be unsustainable.

Is Ketosis Healthy, and Is a Ketogenic Diet Right for You?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state. While many researchers and medical professionals disagree on the long-term benefits of ketogenic diets, most research suggests they are safe for most people. It is necessary to highlight the phrase “most people” because a ketogenic diet is not suitable for some. Before committing yourself to such a restrictive diet that reduces an entire food group, consult your primary care physician. They can tell you if the diet is a safe option for you, and they can monitor you during it to determine its overall effectiveness.

Do you have any experience with the ketogenic diet, positive or negative? 

Top 3 Chair Exercise To Start a New Fitness Routine

Many people struggle to maintain adequate exercise routines. Work, family obligations and health can all interfere with even the best intentions. If you are coming back to fitness after some time away, you should consider taking it slow. Focus on easing back into routines. The best and safest way to ease into an exercise routine is by performing chair exercises. You can find many effective whole-body chair workouts, but why not start with only a few exercises?

1. Calf Raises

Calf raises are a common leg exercise that you can perform while seated. While sitting tall, plant your feet firmly on the floor at about a hip distance apart. Look ahead, and engage your core. Lift the heel of your right foot off the floor while maintaining contact with your toes. Raise your calf as high as you can and engage the muscles. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Lower the heel and repeat the movement 10 more times. Repeat the exercise with the left leg when finished with the right leg. Do a minimum of three sets per leg, 10 reps each set.

To make the workout even more challenging, perform two additional sets with both legs simultaneously. Do not rush the exercise; move slowly through each movement and engage the muscles.

2. Hip Marches

Hip marches give people a way to perform modified cardiovascular exercises. They also provide opportunities to improve hip flexibility. According to personal trainers, hip marches are straightforward exercises with minimal risk of injury, making them suitable for aging adults and beneficial for all.

Start in the same position as you did with the calf raises. You need to keep your torso tall and your abdominal muscles engaged. Some people find it helpful to push up slightly on the chair's armrest, keeping a straight back and remaining seated. Imagine marching down the street or across a stadium field. Lift your knee as high as you can. Hold your knee in position briefly before lowering it back to the ground. Do the same march simulation for the opposite leg.

Because this is a cardiovascular exercise, you'll want to repeat the movement at least 20 times. After 20, take a small break before repeating the exercise. You should repeat the exercise two or three times.

3. Sit-and-Stands

Professionals consider sit-and-stands as a precursor to squats. While often included in exercise routines for seniors to help improve and maintain mobility and strength, these faux squats can help anyone improve leg strength, balance and control.

Sitting in a sturdy chair, assume the starting position of the previous two exercises. You want to avoid using your arms and hands as much as possible, engaging the core and using your legs instead. While leaning forward from the hips, push your weight down into your feet. Extending through your legs and engaging your core, straighten your body, ending in a standing position. Then, push your hips backward and allow your knees to bend as you slowly and carefully lower yourself back into the chair. Repeat the sit-and-stands 10 times, and perform two to three sets.

Chair exercises provide an excellent and safe way to ease back into an exercise routine after time away. Talk to your primary care physician first if you want to start a new fitness regimen.

Wine and Health: Settling the Debate

Many people enjoy a glass of wine after a long day's work. While some people may only partake a few times per week, others enjoy one glass of red wine every day.

Some wine enthusiasts claim they only drink it because of the taste, but others claim they drink it for their health. It is no secret that some research suggests specific wines have health benefits. However, the question is whether those benefits outweigh the risks associated with alcohol consumption and whether wine is the best and only way to achieve specified benefits.

Wine Health Benefits: The Long and Short of It

A glass of red wine is not a caloric hit to the diet; it doesn't pack a sugar punch either. However, all wine is not created equal. The wines that pack the most significant health benefits in a glass are those made with the right ingredients, primarily the right grapes.

Pinot Noir, made from Pinot grapes, is among the healthiest wines. The grapes have a thin skin, resulting in low tannins and high levels of resveratrol, the beneficial compound in wine. Still, experts recommend moderation when consuming alcohol of any kind.

Alcohol consumption, specifically overconsumption, can result in higher risks of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. Additionally, drinking too much alcohol can lead to addiction and dependence.

The CDC suggests that moderate drinking equates to fewer than two drinks per day for men and fewer than one drink per day for women. Nutritionists and dieticians also recommend that you do not start drinking in the first place.

Ultimately, while wine might offer some health benefits, it is not the only way to achieve them. A healthy diet and routine exercise are and always will be the best way to maintain health.

Healthy Wine Myths and Their Beginnings

Wine can support heart health and reduce the risks of dementia. However, the benefits of the beverage do not make it healthy. Wine lacks micro and macronutrients, and it maintains a proven track record of adverse biological effects. However, the drink contains bioactive compounds with health benefits.

Primarily, wine contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in grape skin and have cardioprotective benefits, like improving good cholesterol or lowering blood pressure. The association between antioxidants and wine created the rumor of wine being a healthy drink, but that is not exactly true.

Moderation Is Key to Everything

Wine is an alcoholic beverage. Alcohol can lead to addiction and other well-documented health problems. Still, in moderation, wine can provide some health benefits. However, it is necessary to mention any health benefits you can get from drinking wine; you can also get through exercise and adopting healthier dietary habits.

You do not have to justify drinking wine; it tastes good, and you're an adult. However, if you are drinking wine or considering drinking it purely for health benefits, don't. There are healthier and, honestly, less risky ways to obtain antioxidants and any other perceived value from drinking. Focusing on a healthy diet and adopting an exercise routine is vital to sustained health more than drinking wine.

The Wonderous Health Benefits of Baking Soda

There’s nothing exceptional about baking soda, right? After all, it’s just an ingredient you add to your cookies to make them nice and fluffy. But what if I told you that baking soda can actually offer you a whole heap of health benefits? Would you be surprised? I know I was when I first found out that baking soda deserves a place in my medicine cabinet just as much as it deserves a place on my countertop!

If you’re still a little skeptical, I’m about to enlighten you. Here are just a few of the wondrous health benefits of baking soda.

Calm Heartburn and Stomachaches

Practically everyone deals with heartburn and stomachaches occasionally. My go-to remedy used to be over-the-counter acid-reducing medications. But then I learned that baking soda can naturally calm heartburn and stomachaches by reducing acidity. It’s really easy to use, too. Just mix ¼ teaspoon of regular baking soda into about 4 ounces of water. Drink slowly to avoid discomfort as your stomach acid responds to the baking soda.

Loosen Splinters

Splinters are pesky little things that can cause a huge amount of discomfort despite their diminutive size. I used to spend an embarrassing amount of time trying to dig for splinters with a tiny disinfected needle or a pair of tweezers. Often, my efforts would fail the first time around and I’d have to try again later.

Thankfully, I learned that I could loosen splinters for easier removal by soaking the affected area in a cup of water that had 1/3 cup of baking soda added to it. This method works like a charm and softens the entire area so the splinter is much easier to remove. Give it a try and see if it works for you!

Relieve Skin Discomfort From Bug Bites and Rashes

Bug bites, stings and rashes are never fun to deal with and can take hours or even days to go away on their own. There have been times when I’ve been stuck with a painful bug bite and no cortisol cream available. Then I discovered that baking soda helps neutralize the toxins in bug bites and thus take away the unbearable itching and burning sensations that accompany them.

To create a skin-soothing baking soda paste, mix enough baking soda into ¼ cup of water to form a paste that you can spread smoothly over your irritated skin spots. Then, cover the area with a bandage until the baking soda can do its thing. You can make the paste even more soothing by adding just a bit of witch hazel to it.

Freshen Your Mouth

Have you ever noticed how those mouth washes you get at the store tend to sting your mouth while you’re using them? Not to mention the dried-out sensation you feel for hours after use. If you’re not a fan of these sensations but you still want clean, fresh breath, you may want to try my new favorite breath-freshening method. The main ingredient is—you guessed it—baking soda!

To freshen your breath with baking soda, just mix a teaspoon into a half-cup of lukewarm water. Then take small sips of it into your mouth at a time and swish it around in your mouth for up to 30 seconds each time. You may even wish to gargle with it to remove the bad taste that tends to cling to the back of your tongue and throat. I use this method of freshening my breath every day with great results.

So there you have it—four great ways baking soda can improve your health and wellness. Try one or all of these at-home remedies today and see for yourself how valuable baking soda can be to keep around the house and in your medicine cabinet!