Blog by Uma - entrepreneur, award winning television personality, philanthropist and an eternal optimist dedicated to helping you live your dreams by bringing daily insights, fitness inspiration, clean eating and beauty and wellness resources. Join me in this space and lets start this beautiful journey together.
I Have been having back and shoulder pain since a few years now, and never paid attention till it became quite bad a few weeks back and so I went to a chiropractor and I felt so much better in just two sessions and I thought I must have him on the show.
So Meet Dr. Gerry Nastasia
Fellow, Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists
Certified Primary Spine Practitioner
You can reach him at Emirates European Medical Center
Turmeric may be called the “miracle spice,” but the curcumin is really the star of the show. It has so many health benefits, including being antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Hello! My Tribe,
Turmeric is touted as a superfood and miracle spice. It’s delicious, and one of its “active ingredients” curcumin has been studied like crazy. It has antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and many other great health benefits.
In this week’s video I go over:
● The difference between turmeric and curcumin.
● Turmeric’s amazing health benefits.
● How to get the most out of your turmeric.
● Things to consider before running out to buy yourself curcumin supplements.
Turmeric is a rhizome that grows under the ground like ginger. It has a rich, bright orange color and is used in many foods. Originally used in Southeast Asia, it’s a vital component for traditional curries. You can find dried powdered turmeric in the spice aisle of just about any grocery store. Sometimes they carry the fresh rhizome too (it looks like ginger root, but smaller).
Turmeric contains an amazing anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant compound called “curcumin.” The amount of this bioactive compound is around 3-7% by weight of turmeric. Curcumin has been studied like crazy for its health benefits. Many of these studies test curcumin at up to 100x more than that of a traditional diet that includes turmeric.
Health benefits of curcumin
There are dozens of clinical studies using curcumin extract (which is way more concentrated than ground turmeric).
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory compound. It fights inflammation at the molecular level. Some studies even show it can work as well as certain anti-inflammatory medications (but without the side effects).
Curcumin is an antioxidant compound. It can neutralize free radicals before they wreak havoc on our biomolecules. Curcumin also boosts our natural antioxidant enzymes.
These two functions of reducing inflammation and oxidation have amazing health benefits. Chronic inflammation plays a major role in so many conditions. Including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, dementia, mood disorders, arthritis pain, etc.
Curcumin has other amazing functions too:
● Boosts our levels of “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor” (like a natural growth hormone for your brain) which is great for brain health.
● Improves “endothelial” function” (the inner lining of our blood vessels) which is great for heart health.
● Reduces growth of cancer cells by reducing angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis ( the spread of cancer), and even contributes to the death of cancer cells.
Do you think these make turmeric deserve the “miracle spice” title?
How to get the most out of your turmeric
Curcumin is not easily absorbed by your gut. For one thing, it’s fat soluble. So, as with fat-soluble nutrients (like vitamins A, D, E, and K), you can increase absorption by eating it with a fat-containing meal.
The second trick to get the most out of your turmeric is eating it with pepper. Interestingly, a compound in black pepper (piperine) enhances absorption of curcumin, by a whopping 2,000%!
If you want the health benefits of curcumin, you need to get a larger dose of than just eating some turmeric; this is where supplements come in.
Before you take a curcumin supplement, take caution if you:
● Are pregnant
● Are taking anti-platelet medications or blood thinners
● Have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction
● Have stomach ulcers or excess stomach acid
Always read the label before taking a new supplement.
Turmeric is a delicious spice, and it’s “active ingredient” curcumin is a great health-booster.
Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are great to bust chronic inflammation. It also has other amazing health benefits, like brain- and heart-boosting properties, and even cancer-fighting properties.
Curcumin supplements can be great for your health, but they’re not for everyone. Check the label or speak with your practitioner(me?) before taking it.
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There are mood-boosting foods and mood-busting foods. You may not be surprised with the boosters, but there are some busters that mimic boosters. Some mood-busting junk foods are engineered to trick your body into feeling “good” when in fact, this feeling becomes fleeting and soon disappears.
Want to know what’s on my “mood-boosting” and “mood-busting” lists?
Hello! My Tribe,
While we know bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; it’s also true that bad eating habits can lead to bad moods.
Food can impact our moods because of two factors. First, the nutrients are the building blocks for everything in our body, including mood-regulating “neurotransmitters.” Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar levels, which also impact our moods.
There is a list of common healthy foods that have positive impacts on our mood. But some junky ones make us feel better sometimes too. Once we see this is as temporary (industry engineers processed food is designed to hit those “pleasure centers”), we can ditch those.
No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?
Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods. While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.
First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate. They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.
Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.
Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. People who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.
Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry.
Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.
Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.
Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.
FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3 fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behavior by 50%!
Make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.
You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.
“But it makes me feel good!”
Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.
A few other things to avoid are:
● Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
● Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
● Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).
Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
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You’ve heard so many people recommend meditation and mindfulness; but, do they work? Can they help? If so, how is this even possible? Find out here.
Mindfulness and meditation are health buzzwords nowadays. Everyone, even those who aren’t health practitioners, tout the amazing effects of being mindful and practicing meditation.
But, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean you should do it…or does it?
As a practitioner, I recommend it. This video gives you the lowdown on why it may be something you should start (or do more of).
Well…yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.
Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”
“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.
Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. I’m going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “mindfulness” for the rest of the post.
The link between mindfulness and health = stress reduction
Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors’ visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent!
So, if you ask me, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too.
Mindfulness reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improves sleep. All of these can have massive effects on your physical and mental health.
I’ll briefly go over the research in three main areas: mood, weight, and gut health. But know that the research on the health benefits of mindfulness is branching into many other exciting new areas too.
Mindfulness for mood
The most immediate health benefit of mindfulness is improved mood.
In one study, people who took an 8-week mindfulness program had greater improvement in symptoms according to the “Hamilton Anxiety Scale.” They were compared with people who took a stress management program that did not include mindfulness. It seems that the mindfulness training was key to lowering symptoms.
Other studies show that mindfulness has similar effects as antidepressant medications for some people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression.
While mindfulness isn’t a full-fledged cure, it can certainly help to improve moods.
Mindfulness for weight
Studies show that people who use mind-body practices, including mindfulness, have lower BMIs (Body Mass Indices).
How can this be?
One way mindfulness is linked with lower weight is due to stress-reduction. Mindfulness can reduce stress-related and emotional overeating. It can also help reduce cravings and binge eating.
Another way it can work for weight is due to “mindful eating.” Mindful eating is a “non-judgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.” It’s the practice of being more aware of food and the eating process. It’s listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are. It’s not allowing yourself to be distracted with other things while you’re eating, like what’s on TV or your smartphone.
People with higher mindfulness scores also reported smaller serving sizes of energy-dense foods. So it seems that more mindful eating = less junk.
Mindfulness about food and eating can have some great benefits for your weight.
Mindfulness for gut health
Recent studies show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in gut microbes (your friendly bacteria and other critters that help your digestion).In theory, mindfulness-based stress reduction could be a way to help prevent negative changes in the gut’s microbes.
Also, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seems to be linked with both stress and problems with gut microbes. In one study, people with IBS who received mindfulness training showed greater reductions in IBS symptoms than the group who received standard medical care.
The research here is just starting to show us the important link between stress, gut health, and how mindfulness can help.
Science is confirming some amazing health benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation. For moods, weight, gut health, and more.
Do you regularly include it in your life? If so, have you seen benefits? If not, would you consider trying it?
It’s probably not shocking that the most commonly consumed oil is a health-buster. It’s inexpensive and in just about every processed foods.
Ever heard conflicting information on the healthfulness of different fats? Olive oil; coconut oil; soybean oil; etc.?
Well, I have some clarifying information in my newest video.
In this video, I list out my favorite cooking fats. I also give you my full permission to ditch a few of the popular but oh-so unhealthy fats.
All fat is NOT created equal!
Fat is one of the three critical macronutrients; along with protein and carbohydrates. Some fats are super-health-boosting; and, others are super-health-busting.
Health-building fats support your brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods. Health-busting fats pretty much bust all of these (brain, hormones, immune system, heart health, and moods). So, this is why the information I’m sharing today is so important.
As a general rule, the fats from whole foods that are the least processed will be the healthiest for you. But, you already knew that, right?
So let me give you a definitive list of the fats to use, and the fats to ditch.
Health-boosting fats are from:
● Nuts and seeds (hemp, flax, and chia)
● Pasture-raised/grass-fed animals/eggs
I love “virgin” oils, and here’s why. Getting the oil out of a whole food involves some processing. Sometimes it’s by squeezing, or heating. Other times it’s by using chemical solvents. The word “virgin” is used to show minimal processing (and no solvents!).
According to the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius:
“Virgin fats and oils are edible vegetable fats, and oils obtained, without altering the nature of the oil, by mechanical procedures, e.g., expelling or pressing, and the application of heat only. They may be purified by washing with water, settling, filtering and centrifuging only.”
For example, Extra virgin olive oil must:
● Be cold pressed
● Not contain any refined olive oil
● Possess superior quality based on chemical composition and sensory characteristics.
Don’t you think these standards ensure higher quality? I sure do!
Plus, the minimal processing helps to maintain some of the quality of delicate fat molecules, as well as their antioxidants. Win-win!
Health-busting fats are from:
● Seed and vegetable oils like safflower, soybean, and corn oils
● Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Hydrogenated oils are particularly bad; this is because they contain small amounts of “trans” fats. Studies show that trans fats lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, belly fat. They also drastically raise the risk of heart disease. Lose-lose!
Don’t forget, we’re not just talking about buying bottles of these fats for home cooking. We’re also looking at the processed foods that contain them.
How to get more health-building fats
First, you have my permission to ditch any foods in your cupboards that contain safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, or any hydrogenated oil. Soybean oil alone accounts for over 75% of oils consumed by Americans, so it’s pretty popular in the “non-health food” department.
Second, try substituting one of the health-building oils whenever you have a recipe that calls for the other stuff. Try flax oil in your salad dressing, avocado and/or olive oil in your cooking, and coconut oil in your baking.
Third, make healthier versions of your go-to processed foods. I’ll help you out now with my super-simple mayonnaise recipe below. It’s way better for you than the unrefrigerated stuff you find at your grocery store.
Now tell me: What’s your favorite fat and why? Let me know in the comments below.
If you always feel hungry, did you know that it’s not always a physical need for nutrition? It can be psychological or emotional. Sometimes we feel hungry because we’re bored, sad, or stressed. I help you get to the bottom of that hunger feeling in this video.
If you often feel hungry, you are not alone!
There are many reasons to feel hungry. Of course, the most obvious one is that you are actually physically hungry. Perhaps your stomach is empty, your blood sugar has dropped, and your hunger hormones are having a party.
But other times, the hunger may not be physical hunger. It may be a craving or an emotional trigger. These are common reasons why some people eat too much. It could be brought on by a certain type of diet, stress, or other things going on in life.
It’s easy to mistake “psychological” hunger for “physical” hunger.
I’m going to talk about the difference between both of these types of hunger, and give you some tips how to figure out which is which.
And, of course, I will give you a very filling recipe too!
Physical hunger vs. psychological hunger
Your “physical” hunger is regulated by the body through your hunger hormones. And of course, it should be. You don’t want to be completely drained of fuel and nutrients for a long time. So, you’re programmed to seek food when your body physically needs it. Some of those physical needs are that your stomach is empty or your blood sugar has dropped.
“Psychological” or “emotional” hunger is eating to overcome boredom, sadness, stress, etc. It’s based on a thought or feeling. It’s what happens when you see a great food commercial or smell a bakery. It’s not from your empty stomach or low blood sugar.
So, here’s how to tell which is which.
Eight steps to figure out if you’re physically hungry or not
1 – The first thing you need to do is stop to evaluate. Scarfing down that protein bar at the first sign of hunger isn’t necessarily going to help you.
2 – Now that you’ve stopped. Pay attention to where this hunger is coming from. Can you actually feel or hear your stomach growling? Did you skip a meal, and haven’t eaten in hours? Or are you seeing and smelling something divinely delicious? Perhaps you’re bored, sad, or stressed? Take a peek into all these areas and really pay attention.
3 – Have a big glass of water. Now observe your hunger feeling for at least a minute. Really dig into the source of the feeling. It can be easy to jump to a conclusion, but that may or may not be the right one. So listen to your body and mind very deeply.4 – If you do find that your feelings may be the source, then face them. Acknowledge and observe them. They may just be needing comfort and recognition, even if they sound like they need food. Try deep breathing, having a stretch, or going for a quick walk to release some of these emotions; this also gives your mind a chance to focus on something other than the feeling of hunger.
5 – If you’re pretty sure that your body physically needs nutrition, just wait a few more minutes to make sure.
6 – Now you can be fairly sure whether your hunger was from emotions, boredom, thirst, or actual physical hunger.
7 – If it’s physical hunger, feel free to eat healthy and nutritious food. To fill you up the food you eat should be high in protein, fibre, and water. Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew well and savour every bite of it.
8 – Rinse and repeat at the next sign of hunger.
The feeling of hunger can manifest for many reasons. Of course, if you’re physically hungry and need the food and nutrients, then this is what it’s for!
But often, there is an underlying psychological or emotional reason you might feel hungry.
Now you know my eight steps to figure out if your physical body is hungry, or if you’re bored, sad, or stressed.
Use this process over and over again to feed your body what it actually physically needs (and not overdo it).
Hope this video helped you understand your hunger batter.
Last month ( May 2019) , I had the opportunity to travel to Masai Mara, Kenya with the team of Lifecare to volunteer at a medical camp organized by lifecare international. And what a life changing experience it was.
Watch the video and get in touch with Lifecare in case you want to contribute to this cause in any way.
Visit their website
I am in Uganda and had an experience of a lifetime that I wanted to share with you. When I got invited to visit Uganda by my dear friend Shamira Mitha who owns Verve, a boutique PR and marketing agency based in Dubai, I took no time to say yes. I had no idea what to expect but always excited to visit a new country I got on to a flight and landed in Entebbe.
I stayed a few days in Kampala (more about Kampala will be in my blog soon that I will share with you) and then drove down to Bwindi for an indescribable experience of my life.
Almost an 11 hours drive from Kampala, took me to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Checked into Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge. Woke up early morning to start the Gorilla trek. The Trek is conducted under the supervision of park rangers.
Treks set out daily. Rangers keep park HQ informed by radio of the gorilla’s whereabouts, so sightings are virtually guaranteed. After an obligatory briefing, I was assigned to a group of eight trekkers, plus guides and porters. Each group is allocated to a particular gorilla troop. Mine was Christmas troop, headed by a silver back Gorilla who was born on a Christmas day. The trek, including an hour with the gorillas, may take anything from three to nine hours, depending on the location of the troop. The trek is definitely not for the faint hearted and it demands a certain level of fitness to take this on. This is what I wore during our hike:
• Waterproof Hiking Boots
• Thin, Water Resistant Pants
• Sweat Proof / Water Resistant Long-Sleeve Shirt
• A Waterproof Wind/Rain Jacket
Overall, I wanted my skin to be covered for protection from bugs and thorns and the elements.
We walked for almost 4.5 hours through beautiful terrain in dense undergrowth at altitude and steep, slippery and muddy trails for an encounter of a lifetime…an encounter with the last of the wild mountain Gorillas.
Nothing prepares you for the intensity of the encounter. Our guide explained the rules. We had to keep quiet, be still and preserve a distance of seven meters – although there’s nothing to stop the apes from approaching you. Generally, nothing much happens. We were there there for an hour. The privilege of observing an extraordinary animal close-up is indescribable. One hour is not enough, but it is an hour that I will remember for the rest of my life.
These severely endangered animals are being pushed into extinction by humans.
About 800+ of these great apes remain in the wild, according to the most recent census. The biggest threats come from political instability, human encroachment, and forest degradation.
The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park.
Adult male gorillas weigh up to 440 pounds and can reach a height of six feet when standing on two legs. Mature male gorillas are known as “silverbacks” for the white hair that develops on their back at about 14 years of age.
Gorillas move around in family groups that can range from a couple of individuals to more than 40 members. A dominant male leads and holds the position for years.
Charismatic and intelligent animals, gorillas share 98.3% of their DNA with humans. They are our closest cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos.
How can YOU help Gorillas from going extinct?
By visiting the mountain gorillas in the wild through organized gorilla treks, tourists contribute to their continued survival within the forests. Though the governments of the host countries and conservation organizations have tried to protect the mountain gorillas, a lot is still needed to ensure sustainability and the full protection of these great apes. After your trek, there are a lot of things that you can do to help promote gorilla conservation.
Over the past 20 years, tourism has been the most successful tool for protecting gorillas. Local people have now widely embraced gorilla tourism as a form of additional income. Tourism has also created jobs for the locals as well as generating direct revenue from the sale of goods or provision of services such as guiding, transportation, and more.
Anything adventurous like this doesn’t come easy to me, I am more a luxury kinda girl than hiking and camping. But I am so glad that I swapped my Louboutin for my hiking shoes and went on this adventure of a lifetime.
I so highly recommend this, with your family, children and friends. I promise you, this is an experience that will stay with you forever, after all life is made of moments and experiences like these, that introduces you to a new world outside and inside of you.
Multivitamins DO have health benefits…but they may not be what you’ve been led to believe.
Want to know the actual health benefits of taking multivitamins?
Are you one of the many people who feels that multivitamins are an “insurance policy” for your health? Do you take the very popular “Jack of all trades” of the supplement world?
Or, have you been told that they’re not worth anything, and just make “expensive pee?”
I’m spilling the truth in today’s video.
The truth is, there is too much hype out there about multivitamins. Hype about their health benefits, and hype about their risks.
Multivitamins are exactly what they sound like: multiple vitamins. They’re supplements that contain several different vitamins in each one. They can also contain several minerals and other ingredients like amino acids or fatty acids. And because there are multiple ingredients, there are low doses of each ingredient.
In fact, they are the most commonly used supplements in the world!
There are 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals that are essential to health. You need certain amounts of all of these nutrients for optimal health. In fact, nutrient deficiencies can impact reproduction, growth, and regulation of bodily processes.
Lots of people say that if you follow a “balanced diet,” you’ll get enough vitamins and minerals. I personally would love to believe it … but it’s just not true. Many people are eating way too much-processed food that is devoid of nutrition. There’s a lot of research that shows many people don’t get enough vitamins and minerals. Period.
How do you know which vitamins and minerals are in your multivitamin? Read the label, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! If there are at least three different vitamins and minerals listed, it’s a multivitamin.
Do multivitamins work?
Multivitamins have been studied a lot.
The quality of the multivitamins studied has not been consistent. Some studies consider any supplements with at least three vitamins to be a “multivitamin.” Most of the time, the multivitamins studied are ones that are very popular and are available everywhere.
So, what exactly do we know about the health benefits of multivitamins?
Here’s a quick summary of the science:
● Multivitamin use is linked with improved moods. Interestingly, if someone has nutrient deficiencies, they may have mood imbalances. So, if the multivitamin addresses an underlying deficiency, this makes sense.
● In terms of memory and cognitive performance (ability to think), there seems to be an improvement in people who regularly take multivitamins.
● In terms of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, there seems to be a slight improvement.
● In terms of heart disease, the results are mixed. There may be an increase, or a decrease, or no effect on risk of heart attacks.
● In terms of cancer, there is a slightly reduced risk of certain cancers in men.
● In terms of mortality (death), there doesn’t seem to be a clear increase or decrease in mortality rates for people who take multivitamins.
All in all, multivitamins aren’t magical “health pills.” They’re not guaranteed to improve your mental or physical health, or help you live longer; but, they do have some health benefits.
Are multivitamins safe?
Just about every study that looked to see if multivitamins were health-promoting, also looked at side effects. They have consistently shown that multivitamins are very safe.
Now, I’m not talking about high-dose supplements. High doses of many nutrients can be harmful. But specifically for multivitamins where there are several nutrients included, all of which are in low doses. Those are safe.
Unless you have a knowledgeable practitioner advise otherwise, you want to stick to the dose on the label. That dose should be safe for most people.
However, there are many times when supplements (not just multivitamins) have been tested and found to contain different ingredients than what’s on the label; this may be different quantities of vitamins or minerals. Sometimes they contain ingredients that are not supposed to be in them at all (like toxins or prescription medicines).
This is why choosing supplements that are licensed, if applicable (like in Canada), and from reputable companies is so important.
Since they contain low doses of many different nutrients, they’re also safe (as long as you have a quality product).Of course, taking a multivitamin is not a way to improve a poor diet. I always recommend eating a balanced diet of whole foods. There is plenty of evidence that eating a diet of whole, unprocessed food prevents many diseases.
What’s up with the ketogenic diet? Is it healthy? Will it help me lose weight? What should I consider before “going keto.”
I have answers to your keto questions right here.
The ketogenic diet is a very low carb, very high-fat diet.
It has recently gained a lot of popularity in the wellness sphere because of some of its health benefits.
A ketogenic diet has been shown to help some people lose weight (yes, even with high fat). It can also help improve certain health conditions, like epilepsy in children.
Read on for some of the lowdown on how it reprograms your metabolism (for “ketosis”), and whether or not it’s something for you to consider.
What is “ketosis?”
Carbs (sugars & starches) are the preferred fuel for your brain and muscles. They use carbs first, whenever they’re available.
This is why maintaining stable blood sugar can affect your attention, mood, and energy level.
However, when very low amounts of carbs are available for fuel, your body starts making compounds known as “ketones.” These are your body’s “backup fuel.” And your body makes them from fat.
Ketogenic literally means “the generation of ketones.”
After a while being on a diet very low in carbs, your blood level of ketones increases. This is the metabolic state known as “ketosis.” It’s the same process that your body goes through if you’ve fasted for 72 hours and depleted your supply of carbs as fuel. That’s the trigger for turning fat into ketones.
Pro Tip: “Ketosis” from a ketogenic diet is not the same thing as the dangerous condition known as “ketoacidosis.”
Ketogenic diet for weight loss
With a high fat intake, it may be surprising to know that studies show that a ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss.
But it’s true!
It can also have better results than low-fat diets. At least one study showed that people lost 2.2 times more weight on a ketogenic diet than those on low-fat or calorie-controlled diets.
How is this possible?
Eating all that fat and protein is filling! It helps release satiety hormones that tell us that we’re full and satisfied, and we don’t need to eat anymore. Many people don’t need to count calories or track food intake, as they do with low-fat or calorie-controlled diets.
So, by eating enough fat and protein to go into “ketosis,” you can actually feel fuller and eat less food overall. Of course, this can help with weight loss.Ketogenic diet for improved health
Some studies show other health benefits of the ketogenic diet.
As you can imagine, having very low levels of carbs can help reduce blood sugar and insulin issues.
One study showed improved blood triglycerides (fat) and cholesterol numbers. Others show lower blood sugar levels, and even up to 75% improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Several studies show reduced seizures in children who follow a ketogenic diet.
Changing your metabolism has widespread health effects. And this can be beneficial for some people.
How to do the ketogenic diet
Not everyone should go on a ketogenic diet. Make sure you speak with a trained healthcare practitioner before you try it. It can have side effects, including the infamous “keto flu.”
The ketogenic diet involves getting 60-75% of your calories from fat, 20-35% from protein, and just 5% from carbs. Many people find it quite restrictive and are unable to stay on it for a long time.
The foods to focus on for a ketogenic diet are meat, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb vegetables (cucumber, celery, peppers, zucchini, leafy greens, etc.).
The main thing to avoid are foods that are high in carbs. These include sugary foods and desserts, grains, fruit, legumes, starchy vegetables, alcohol and “diet foods.”
And because of the limits on fruit and starchy vegetables, many people on the ketogenic diet need to take supplements. This is because, in addition to their sugar and starch, fruits and starchy veggies are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. So, if you’re cutting those foods out, you still need to give your body those nutrients. And often, it means needing supplements.
The ketogenic diet is very popular these days. It can be helpful for weight loss, and other health conditions.
It’s not for everyone, so make sure you check with a knowledgeable practitioner before you begin.