The Real Deal on Keto Diet

If you’re thinking about getting into a new eating plan to lose weight and optimize your health, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the keto diet and the wonders it may do for your body.

The continuous advancement in the medical world did not stop the increasing cases of obesity/ Most chronic illnesses common to men like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease are connected to an excessive amount of body fats, and that’s when eating plans like Keto comes in.

But, what’s the real deal with Keto? This diet is well-known for its low-carb strategy focused on protein instead. When your body goes into ketosis, that’s when you burn fats and shift your primary source of energy. This is the process of this eating scheme. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes quality life through a healthy gut, diet, and lifestyle. In this article, we’ll discuss the real deal about Keto and the implications it may have on your body.

What is a keto diet

In the early 1920s, medical practitioners developed the ketogenic diet for epilepsy therapy. At the time, this was considered as an alternative to fasting to help manage and control epileptic episodes. Later on, Greek and ancient Indian physicians continued studying the role of fasting to cure epilepsy. 

Eventually, the “water diet” became a popular approach to help patients from getting seizures. Avoiding food and drink or following a strict fat-rich diet without sugars and starch helps a patient’s liver produce ketone bodies. This exists because starvation helps dissipate toxins away from the body.  

Hence, over time, experts found that a diet consisting of low carbohydrates, moderate protein, and high, healthy fats can benefit human health. Essentially, this diet will force your body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates.

Ketosis

Whenever you eat fewer carbohydrates, your liver will convert fat into ketone bodies, as mentioned above, and fatty acids. Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy. However, since there are more fats instead, these are used for fuel. This natural metabolic state is called ketosis.

It may not be easy for some people to shift to a keto diet because their bodies will need to rely on fat for energy. At the same rate, it’s not easy to keep your body in ketosis because carbohydrates are usually the primary energy source.

Plus, you have to limit your protein intake in a keto diet. Why? Too much protein can cause your body to convert the excess into carbohydrates (also called gluconeogenesis).

Therefore, some nutritionists may suggest intermittent fasting to go into ketosis successfully. You don’t necessarily have to go on many days without eating anything at all. Instead, you have particular periods when you can eat, with recommended calories, and when you should fast.

However, prolonged states of ketosis may stress your liver and cause total starvation and dehydration, which could be detrimental to your health. Thus, it’s essential to seek help from doctors before jumping into this diet.

Types of ketogenic diets

  • SKD – standard 
  • CKD – cyclical 
  • TKD – targeted
  • HPKD – high protein

There are, in fact, other keto diets such as very low-carb ketogenic diet, well-formulated ketogenic diet, medium chain triglycerides ketogenic diet, etc. However, the four (4) types above are the more commonly used ones we’ll focus on in this article.

Standard ketogenic diet 

Fat-Protein-Carb Ratio: 70 / 20 / 10 or 75 / 20 / 5

Recommended daily portions:

20-50g sugar

40-60g protein No set cutoff for fat

Cyclical ketogenic diet

(also called carb backloading, usually for athletes or those regularly working out to replenish glycogen lost from muscles)

Recommended cycles:

5 ketogenic days (20-30g of carbs or less) then 2 higher carb days (100-500g of carbs) within a week 

Targeted ketogenic diet

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet, or TKD, is not very far from the standard and regular keto diet. The only difference is that you only eat carbs during your workout time. So, whenever you exercise, you’ll consume carbs on any schedule that you prefer.

The TKD is in-between the Cyclical Ketogenic and Standard Ketogenic Diet. It would still allow you to withstand high-intensity exercises even if you’re on a low-carb eating plan. Some studies believe that carbs may give power to strength training. 

SKD keto-ers attest that this kind of keto, when consumed as pre-workout carbs, improves strength and endurance. It makes sense as the muscle needs glucose to fuel anaerobic training.

Macronutrient breakdown:

10% carbs, 60% fat, 30% protein

(a mix between standard and cyclical ketogenic diet but emphasis on carbohydrates to be consumed around times of working out)

Recommended portions:

15-50g of fast-absorbing carbs (before, during, after workout)

High protein ketogenic diet

(also known as modified Atkins diet, a variety of standard ketogenic diet)

Recommended daily portions:

Fat-Protein-Carb Ratio: 60 / 35 / 5

Keto diet advantages

As shown in the examples and types of ketogenic diets above, choosing this diet should get more calories from fat rather than carbohydrates. When you deplete your body from sugars, it will depend more on stored fat for fuel instead.

Here are the advantages and benefits of this diet:

Weight loss

Losing weight is one of the main reasons many people go into a keto diet. Ketosis helps reduce hormones that stimulate hunger, too. Hence, it can support weight loss, reduce your appetite, and boost metabolism.

Risk of cancers

Ketogenic diets naturally reduce blood sugar. Hence, you can enjoy the benefits of not having any health risks involving insulin complications. This diet approach is sometimes used to complete other radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatments.

Skin health

Any diet with highly refined and processed carbohydrates can drastically affect your gut microbiome. That could lead to significant fluctuations in your blood sugar which often causes acne. With reduced carb intake, skin problems may also decrease.

Brain functions

Ketones have neuroprotective benefits, such as protecting the nerve cells and the brain. Hence, the keto diet can help strengthen your brain and its functions. It also aids in preventing brain damage or managing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, for example.

Seizures

As discussed earlier, the keto diet originally started as a treatment for epilepsy management. To this day, this diet approach is effectively used, especially for children, to reduce seizures and epileptic symptoms.

Heart health

Even if the keto diet is high in fat, it’s important to note that you should choose healthy fats all the time. For instance, you can get healthy fats from avocado and avoid pork rinds. You can minimize bad cholesterol from your body and introduce more “good” cholesterol to avoid cardiovascular diseases.


Is keto diet really effective? 

A study revealed that the ketogenic diet produces changes in the metabolism, most especially on a short-term basis. Besides weight loss, there are also improvements in the health parameters that are often connected with excessive weight, like high cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.

Risks:

Constipation

The body is designed to break down three macronutrients – fats, carbs, and protein. When you suddenly shift to keto, your body would have to transition from digesting many carbs to lots of fats. Your gut needs time getting used to this. 

Liver problems

The ketogenic diet is concentrated in fats and moderate in protein. Going low in carbohydrates would induce weight loss and control glycemic. However, this may elevate liver enzymes and the onset of fatty liver, which can be problematic.

Kidney problems

Some studies reveal that ketosis taxes the kidneys, leading to stones and low blood pressure. They also mentioned how this diet hastens kidney failure or worsens a condition because it is high in protein that could overload the kidneys, which impacts the elimination of waste from the body.  

Nutrient deficiency

The body is expected to consume a wide array of grains, fruits, and vegetables. Since you are limiting your carbs, you’re at risk of missing crucial micronutrients like magnesium, selenium, vitamins B, C, and phosphorus. 

Mood swings

The brain benefits from the sugar it gets from carbohydrates. So, when you cut carbs, you may have some mood swings like irritability and confusion as a consequence. You might feel these, especially during the beginning of the process.

Is keto diet good for weight loss

Due to its low-carb approach, a keto diet is a popular approach for those trying to lose weight. However, as we’ve seen in this article, it’s not as simple as that. There are complex mechanisms involved that may affect your metabolism while in the keto diet. Generally, though, the keto diet can help you feel less hungry while you can also keep your muscle.

However, like any diet approach, it is of utmost importance to consult your doctor before starting your keto diet. For instance, people who have hypoglycemia, heart disease, or diabetes are generally not allowed to consume too much fat. 

Moreover, just because you’re restricting your carbohydrate intake doesn’t mean they are wrong. Carbs have health benefits, too. In a ketogenic diet, you need to maintain your body in ketosis without compromising health safely. But, if you need to transition again to a less restrictive diet, especially if you’re not meeting your goal (e.g., weight loss), seek help from a nutritionist. That way, you’re not adding too much stress to your body with these drastic changes.

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute has developed a comprehensive treatment plan to reduce chronic inflammation to improve quality of life and cognitive function. Message us at [email protected] to know more!

How to do intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a phenomenon worldwide, and it has become one of the trends in health and fitness. This eating plan is a regular schedule that you can follow to implement your diet and manage your weight. 

With the promise of astonishing results on your health as you change the time you eat, CEOs and celebrities champion intermittent fasting for its health and weight loss benefits. Some studies demonstrate how this plan helps in repairing the body. But, how effective is it, and how do you do intermittent fasting, right?

In this blog, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute discusses the different facets of intermittent fasting and how it could help you live a quality life. 

What is intermittent fasting?

intermittent fasting

A diet approach that has formed a significant number of followers, intermittent fasting, or IF focuses on the time you eat rather than what food you eat. 

IF is when you don’t eat for a period every day or week. The schedule depends upon the approach that you can commit to observing regularly. There are several ways to do it suitable to your preference and lifestyle. 

Mark Mattson, PhD, a neuroscientist at John Hopkins, studies intermittent fasting and believes that the body has evolved in its ability to go for several hours or even longer in a day without food. Before they learned how to farm in prehistoric times, humans were natural hunters who could last long without eating. They had no choice at that time. They had to exert energy and time to look for food; otherwise, they’d have to wait.

How does intermittent fasting work for the body? When you don’t eat for several hours a day, your body drains sugar stores that prompts you to burn sugar. Mattson calls this process metabolic switching. This phenomenon happens when fasting signals your system to change its energy source from glucose in the liver to ketones from fat cells. 

How to do intermittent fasting

Fasting has been a thing even in the past, without us knowing. Up to this day, it is an integral part of many religious practices, cultures, and traditions worldwide. 

You can do intermittent fasting in different ways. The method varies based on the fast days and the calorie allowance you need for your body. The idea is to abstain from eating for a set number of hours and only eat on your allotted window. 

Some studies claim that intermittent fasting may help in fat loss, better health, and longer life. Its proponents believe that this approach is more attainable than the traditional, calorie-deficit diets that are difficult to sustain in the long run.

Intermittent fasting schedule and method

These are the different ways to do intermittent fasting:

The 16/8

IF

The 16/8 method is when you fast for 16 hours and only eat in the 8 hours window, called 16:8, or the Leangain diet.

This method may work for individuals who have begun with the 12-hour eating window but did not see any results. Females usually do the 14 hours, and men the 18. People in this fast typically begin their window at noon and end at 8 p.m. Of course, this isn’t the only way to do this. You can adjust it on your schedule. 

A study reveals how mice with a feeding window of 8 hours prevented inflammation, diabetes, liver disease, and obesity. They even ate on a calorie surplus and did not have a problem. 

 Eat-Stop-Eat

IF

The Eat-Stop-Eat diet is when you fast for one or two days a week, which means no food for 24 hours. While on this method, you can still drink tea, water or other calorie-free drinks that won’t break your fast. 

When you are not fasting, you can eat on a usual time pattern. The Eat-Stop-Eat IF only reduces your caloric intake, but it won’t limit you from eating any types of foods or even take into account your macros. 

Fasting for 24-hours may be challenging and extreme, especially for beginners. There are instances when you might experience irritability, headaches, or fatigue. When your body has adjusted, the side effects may eventually lessen. 

If you wish to transition to this eating pattern, you should’ve at least started with the 12 or 16-hour method so that you can adapt to fasting for an extended period already. 

The 5:2

IF

The 5:2 pattern refers to the days when you eat and don’t.

This type of intermittent fasting is when you eat five days a week without thinking of your calorie intake and fast for two days by going on a deficit of a quarter of your requirement. It is 500 calories less for women, while 600 for men. 

If you’re having a hard time tightly committing to an eating pattern, you should consider the 5:2 approach as it is less extreme and will allow your body to cope with the schedule. Studies suggest that people are more likely to stick with this routine than stricter diets. 

12:12

IF

The 12:12 method is when you restrict yourself from eating for 12 hours. This is known as the easiest approach for the fasting stage is short compared to the other IF methods. You’re also sleeping eight hours a day so you’ll only have to wait for four hours for your first meal if you choose this kind of schedule.

The idea is to stop yourself from eating just whenever you want and have a regular meal schedule that you’ll religiously observe. For example, if you had your last meal at 8 p.m, your breakfast the next day should be at 8 a.m. This is the simplest kind of IF, and it’s friendly for beginners who are just diving into fasting.

Warrior Diet

IF

Ori Hofmekler, a health and fitness author, developed the Warrior Diet. This eating pattern extends the fasting, leading to a shorter feasting time. 

Hofmekler created the Warrior Diet in 2001 after observing his colleagues at the Israeli Special Forces. Afterwards, he explained how we could improve how we feel, eat, and perform when reducing our food intake and tapping our survival instincts. 

Anyone who follows this diet would undereat for 20 hours and feast on whatever they want at night. He encourages eating healthy, organic and unprocessed food, though. The author also devised the plan based on his own experience and not strictly on science. 

Meal Skip

When you are in a meal skip plan, you don’t have to stick to an IF pattern like the time you have to eat. As the name implies, you simply skip meals when you are not hungry. 

Spontaneous meal skipping may vary from person to person. Some people quickly hit starvation mode every few hours, while few can handle themselves without eating for an extended period. You should know your body well and what it can manage. 

With meal skip, the idea is simple. Only eat when you’re hungry, and skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner when you are not starving. It’s listening to your cues and differentiating the line between hunger and craving. This method is appropriate for people who are busy cooking their food. 

Is intermittent fasting for weight loss?

intermittent fasting

Research shows that calorie restriction, which happens in intermittent fasting, can increase lifespan. Moreover, it improves the human body’s tolerance to many metabolic stresses. Hence, intermittent fasting aids in enhancing your immune response and changes in your metabolism.

With all this said, the physiological effects are often seen in people who do intermittent fasting, typically losing between 7-11 pounds after close to 3 months. There are other studies, however, that indicates there is no direct correlation between weight loss and intermittent fasting. For example, some individuals suffering from obesity don’t find intermittent fasting effective compared to other diet approaches.

The critical thing about intermittent fasting is when you eat. Weight loss happens when you restrict yourself from meals for a certain period. During this strict time window, your calorie intake naturally decreases, contributing to weight loss.

Additionally, when you restrict eating only during this window, your insulin level drops. This hormone, insulin, is responsible for managing blood sugar in your body. When your insulin level drops, your body burns fat more, which aids in weight loss. 

There are many factors to consider here. Health risk factors may come about when you deprive yourself of particular food at specific amounts of time, for instance. Worse, unhealthy habits may arise, such as overeating when you are in your time window to eat.

Does intermittent fasting work?

A study in the United Kingdom reveals that eating plans such as IF is effective in losing weight, compared to the complicated diets that most people try yet fail. 

The focus of IF is changing your body composition with weight and fat loss. 

When you restrict your eating time, you limit your caloric intake, which causes you to lose weight. IF also increases norepinephrine levels to boost your metabolism. Doing so will pump up your body to burn more calories throughout the day. 

It is typical to see people losing their fat and lean mass in the middle of a weight-loss journey, including their muscles. However, some studies reveal that you are most likely to lose only one to two pounds of lean mass in IF. There are even times when you won’t at all. 

Research suggests how IF is in preserving lean body mass compared to other diets that have nothing to do with fasting. Thus, if you are lifting weights to build muscles, you shouldn’t worry because IF won’t be counterproductive to your exercise.

How safe is intermittent fasting?

The science behind IF is still new. A ton of research is conducted to back up its claims, including its health benefits, dangers, and long-term effects on the body. 

This eating plan is safe for the right people. Health professionals note that IF is not dangerous; however, it isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for anybody pregnant or breastfeeding, under 18, or with certain health conditions like diabetes. Experts don’t recommend it for individuals who have suffered from eating disorders, as fasting may harm their situation. 

Ask your doctor

Like any dietary plan, before getting into it, make sure you check with your doctor first. As mentioned above, fasting intermittently can significantly reduce insulin resistance and lower blood pressure. If you have other health risks, this isn’t something you should immediately jump into, especially without medical advice.

Is intermittent fasting for you?

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is good for your gut because you’re helping your gastrointestinal tract repair itself during the fasting period. When this happens, your body uses your stored fat as fuel. Hence, you’re burning fat rather than just storing it in your body cells, which is good for metabolism. 

IF is good for you if you combine it with regular exercise, and you don’t overeat during your time window. Also, it would help if you had a good variety of foods to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet all the time. If you have a weight goal, you should plan how many calories you need to cut down each day.

However, it really shouldn’t be about counting calories. When you’re eating more fruits and vegetables, for example, you’re naturally getting lower calories. If you have diabetes, on the other hand, it might not be a good idea to fast unless you have the green light and supervision from your doctor.

How smartphones are affecting your health

Research continues to explore the effects of smartphones on human health. 

Even the World Health Organization recognizes the possible health risks associated with too much use of smartphones and gadgets. The overexposure to RF or radiofrequency emitted by the device is a thousand higher than base stations. This is responsible for the harmful effects the overuse of computers, phones, and tablets may have on a person. 

But today, owning a cell phone is a part of life. Can you imagine living in a world without a smartphone? The mass adoption of mobile phones and apps has changed the way we communicate, transact, and entertain ourselves, and its influence has surpassed different age groups that it has become inevitable to not rely on them. 

However, there are continuing studies on the effects of smartphones on human health, and how it isn’t a smart idea to fully depend on them. So in this blog, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute discusses the implications of excessive smartphone exposure, and how it could be influencing your body and brain.  

Effect of smartphones on human health

Ever since the pandemic, people have had more time to spend in front of their gadgets, most especially their cell phones, with quarantines and lockdowns. No wonder, there is already an app that tells you how much time you spent with your screen through a time report. 

A report says even before Covid-19 in 2019, an average American spent around 3 hours of their day using their phone. There was an increase of 20 minutes from the year after which shows the increasing engagement to mobile devices. Over the years, since then, we’ve seen a constantly increasing trend of gadget use.

Image source: Vox.com

In another study, researchers found that participants who used their mobile phones less showed stronger analytical and cognitive skills in solving problems. Despite this, people will still use smartphones as an extension of themselves, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Your habits involving the use of cell phones will determine whether it’s harmful to you or not. Technologies and digital devices will continue to be essential and so ingrained in our lives that it’s difficult to imagine not using them. 

The time you spend on your smartphones could spell the difference between digital addiction and sobriety. Hence, it’s important to strike a balance in using smartphones for productivity, leisure, and social media, among others, for your health’s sake.

Harmful effects of smartphones on human health

Do you ever find yourself snoozing apps on your phone? Or turning notifications off? It’s crazy how you’d still find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your smartphone at times, right? 

The effects of smartphones on human health can manifest physically or psychologically to you. Here are some of them, if you haven’t noticed yet.

Physical health manifestations

Insomnia

Most smartphone users take their mobile devices on the bed. There are people who have the habit of checking their phones before going to sleep because they are waiting until they fall asleep. However, keeping your eyes glued to your smartphone can disrupt your sleep more. 

Smartphones, as well as other digital devices like laptops, tablets, and computers, emit blue light that signals your brain to be alert. Thus, looking at your cell phone while you’re tossing and turning on your bed can harm your sleep.

Insomnia is one of the effects of smartphones on human health. Imagine losing sleep out of these bedtime habits! Sleep is important to allow your body to recharge and recover. That way, your brain, heart, and other organs can function well. With poor sleep, the domino effect of other health risks follow such as mood problems, impaired memory, grogginess, etc.

Poor eyesight and vision issues

Medical professionals always call the attention of people to discuss the effects of blue light on the eyes time and again. These experts continue to link it to different eye problems like eyestrain, blurry vision, dry eye, macular degeneration, and even cataracts for some instances.

When you expose your eyes to high-energy light, such as blue light and ultraviolet rays, you are increasing your risk of getting an eye disease. Experts also believe that 50% of computer users are most likely to get symptoms that may lead to vision problems in the future. 

Blue light may also be the culprit to damage in the retinas known as phototoxicity. As to what extent would depend on the wavelength and amount of your exposure. Some studies reveal evidence of how blue light leads to permanent changes in vision. This happens as the said light may pass straight at the back of the retina causing macular degeneration. 

Obesity

Research reveals that there is an increase in the risk of obesity by 43% with people who use their smartphones for at least five or more hours a day. 

Too much use of mobile phones, especially on young people, has become a trend that they live a sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise and proper diet which may result in weight gain. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a study and also pointed out how teens, who are glued to their tablets or computers for a long time, are more likely obese than those who don’t.

Neck Pain

No one would’ve thought 20 years ago that the world would be stuck in front of their phones and tablets for almost every hour of their day. While there is an effort to change this habit, there is still an increase in the time one allots for work and entertainment through their devices, and this is seen to cause neck pain and other related problems.

But, how does the excessive use of phones cause neck pain? It’s literally on the way you look at your screen. Imagine staring down, dropping your head, or moving it forward – any of these would change the natural curvature of the neck, which may bring pain. 

They referred to the condition as text neck, iPhone neck, or Smartphone neck. While it isn’t an official medical diagnosis, the cases of posture problems that prolonged cell phone use brings continue to rise among adults and children. 

To avoid these posture issues, regular exercise – most especially one that targets the neck – can help. 

Risk of cancer

There’s still controversy surrounding the connection between cancer and cell phones. The primary concern that has strengthened it is how frequently cell phone users develop brain tumors. Studies show a slight increase in the cases of brain tumors since the 1970s. 

While research is still to prove how cell phones increase cancer risk, the International Agency for Research on Cancer implies that the radiation devices emit may be a cancer-triggering substance. Experts are still to conduct further studies to prove the possible connection, although there are other habits that may impact cancer rates as well. 

Psychological and behavioral health manifestations

Stress

Experts warn the public about how too much time spent on the phone causes stress and anxiety. The overwhelming notifications, and the need to participate on social media all the time, may have a huge impact on a person’s mental and emotional being. 


With everything that’s going on in the world, including misinformation, a smartphone may be a trigger to stress brought by upsetting news on the web. Adopting practices that would avoid one from spending so much time on their phones would be a way to prevent this bad health effect.

Cyberbullying 

In relation to stress, as mentioned above, cyberbullying is another harmful effect of the unwise use of smartphones. This could be detrimental to your mental health, especially if you are not aware of what triggers you or another online user. 

Many people online hide behind their usernames and personas they created on various social media platforms, for instance. Because smartphones are generally easy to use and readily available, cyberbullying can happen anytime to anyone at any age. 

If you’re a teenager getting flak online over something you posted on Instagram, you can easily get verbal abuse from other users you barely know. If you’re an elderly sharing an opinion on Twitter, you may get in conflict with another user and feel attacked. 

Sometimes, it may help to stay away from your phone for a while to lessen your exposure to violence and bullying happening online. 

Psychological problems

Some of the effects of smartphones on human health may be related to your psychological well-being. In this article, researchers presented evidence that excessive smartphone usage is associated with psychiatric and psychological issues. 

Psychological distress happens when the level of stress increases due to changes in depressive moods and the like. Some people develop or increase the likelihood of having obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD, for example. 

Many other negative emotions such as loneliness and anxiety are closely associated with the problematic use of smartphones, too. 

Concentration problems

You are limiting your brain’s capacity to concentrate with excessive phone usage. This is under the same umbrella of stress and mental health effects of smartphones on your health. You are at the risk of impairing your cognitive function and abilities when you’re stuck at your phone all day!

For example, if you are texting and calling while driving, your brain is doing too many things simultaneously. Hence, you’re losing focus while on the road. If you’re crossing the street, it’s not wise to have your earphones on while your eyes are still on your phone even if you’re in the pedestrian lane. 

When you’re studying for your exams, you can concentrate more if you stop scrolling your phone for new notifications and checking your social media feed for updates. When in a conference meeting, sometimes it helps to retain more information when you’re jotting down notes on paper. It helps your brain process important details better when you write what you hear or see.

Other worries and health concerns

Infertility

Some studies indicate a correlation between male infertility and the use of mobile phones. Researchers were able to collect evidence demonstrating adverse effects on the sperm count of men, as well as their viability and morphology. This is largely due to the RF electromagnetic waves that mobile phones emit which are hazardous to human health. 


However, scientists need more research to support this. Still, this is one of the effects of smartphones on human health that some may find worrisome. You can find published literature about this here.

Cell phone radiation effects on human body

WHO recognizes that cellular phones transmit radio waves that may pose health risks. FDA, on the other hand, reminds the public on the safe use of mobile phones. This is despite lack of sufficient evidence linking radiation exposure to health problems. 

Nevertheless, experts continue to study the effects of electronic interference from smartphones. Both WHO and FDA provide general guidelines on limited use of mobile phones as precaution.

Germs and infections

Another health concern for some people is hygiene. Smartphones can collect and, therefore, are prone to germs. Truth be told, your smartphone can carry bacteria more times than another dirty item that you can think of. A little gross, right?

Because you are carrying your phone anywhere you go, it is exposed to dirt, sweat, sediments, and bacteria. These germs travel from your hand to your phone and vice versa which can cause skin breakouts and viral infections, for instance.

Hence, if you’re not practicing proper hygiene, you can get sick. Worse, you may be the reason for the people around you to feel sick, too. 

What can you do to minimize smartphone usage?

Smartphones help us communicate with our loved ones, interact with friends online, and aid in providing access to information. But, we can do “smartphone detox” every once in a while when we need to.

Here are some tips and alternatives that you can consider to lessen the time you spend on your phones:

  • Sleep better. Avoid your smartphone 2-3 hours before bedtime. Keep it out of your reach and as far from you as possible to avoid the temptation of picking it up.
  • Look up. When walking on the pedestrian road, pause from your phone time and look ahead to avoid accidents. When socializing with friends and family, put your phone down and be present at the moment. You are not only giving your eye a break from technology, you are also giving your spine a favor in improving your posture.
  • Use your pen and paper. Despite the convenience of digital devices, taking notes – the analog way – still sounds cooler! 
  • Wash your hands. Every time you think your phone might be dirty, it probably is. So, leave your phone on a clean surface, wash your hands, and sanitize your phone (then wash your hands again!). Proper hygiene is good for your health. Do this regularly and you’ve just minimized phone time effectively. (wink)
  • Read a book or a newspaper. Despite almost everything easily accessible online and mobile, you’re helping yourself minimize screen time with books and daily papers. The good ol’ way doesn’t lose its beauty. Plus, you can slow down and not easily get distracted than if you were using your phone.
men's health

Things you may not know about men’s health

It may be a stereotype, but we don’t discuss men’s health aloud. They even perceive it as a joke that the term man-flu exists.

Research reveals that men seldom talk about their health. They brush off whatever they feel until it goes away. In Australia, the average male of poorer health than women. In 1994, Men’s Health Week originated in the United States, and it aims to spread awareness on preventable men’s health problems.

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute commits to helping people lead a more productive, longer, and happier life. So, let us share with you some things that you may not know about men’s health and how it impacts their lives. 

Men’s health facts

Men should pay attention to their health the same way women do. An average adult man has a life expectancy of 76 years, a height of 5’6, and a weight of around 165 to 178 pounds. Hence, the common knowledge of a man’s genetics and nature leads to fascinating men’s health facts. These are some worth noting:

1. Cardiovascular health is crucial

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2019 that 1 in every 4 American men died of heart disease, which makes it a number one health issue for males. It occurs even to those without symptoms at all. 

This report shows the importance of regular screenings for cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Men smoke and drink more and go for unhealthy lifestyle choices compared to women. This is why they should put their way of life in check. Weight management with regular exercise is an effective aid. 

2. Cancer – another cause of death

The CDC noted cancer as the second leading cause of death among men. Lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer are the usual types in males.

Preventive health screenings would help avoid cancer. If you are smoking, this is your sign of stopping. Prevent second-hand smoking and any kinds of tobacco products. Maintain a healthy diet that is made of fruits and vegetables. Avoid vices too!

3. Shorter life expectancy

The average life expectancy of men is 76.4 while women are 81.2 years, and the difference is linked to destructive lifestyles such as excessive alcohol drinking, smoking, and drinking. These vices often result in high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.

4. Health screening according to age

Men ages 20 to 30 should undergo a physical checkup at least every two to three years. It should include cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid function, and diabetes tests. When you reach 30, you can screen for heart abnormalities with an electrocardiogram or EKG.

Furthermore, men ages 40 to 49 should have a complete physical checkup for every one to two years and an EKG. It should also include screening on cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. Men ages 50+ should be stricter in checkups. Besides the usual screening and EKG, colonoscopy should be included to ensure there aren’t polyps that could turn into cancer.  

5. Weight

How does the weight of a man differ from a woman?

Women tend to gain weight faster than men, and it’s because the human brain is wired that way uniquely. This fact about men’s health has changed how obesity is discussed, as noted by experts at the University of Aberdeen. 

Men have a higher resting metabolism too. Their metabolism is meant for speed, size, and strength. This fact is understandable because the male body has a leaner muscle mass, making it easier to burn visceral fats. 

 6. Bone density

It may sound unlikely, but men are also at risk of getting osteoporosis. Some statistics suggest that when a man reaches 50, there is a higher risk of a weaker bone density, leading to osteoporosis. Two million men in America have been affected by this.

Besides the numbers on osteoporosis, men also have a higher chance of breaking their bones. Eighty thousand men break their hips yearly. The same may also happen with the spine.   

7. Stress Responses

Some studies support the role gender plays in stress reaction. Men have the fight or flight attitude when it comes to it, and hormones have something to do with it. 

Hormones, as one factor, explain why men produce cortisol and adrenaline when responding to stress. They manifest physical changes like increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and anxiety. It is the physiological reaction of men when something physically or mentally terrifying happens. This reaction occurs when the body releases a hormone to either deal with stress or run away from it. 

8. Work vs. Doctor Check-up

Historically, more men serve as the financial providers being heads of their families. Hence, they spend more time for work and often cannot (or choose not to) afford time for medical check-ups compared to women. This, sometimes, leads to delayed detection of health conditions that would otherwise have been prevented if seen earlier.

Some men argue that instead of taking time away from work to see a doctor, they would rather use this time for extra work. Other times, they would choose to go to the gym and strengthen their bodies this way. The Cleveland Clinic surveyed American men (from age 18-70) and found that 40% of the respondents do not go to their physical examinations annually. In fact, many of them only seek medical help when their health conditions worsen.

Whether men think they are men of steel or not, they should be more proactive in seeking healthcare from any age. Based on this study, some men even admit they are afraid to find out that their health condition is severe. However, it’s time to encourage more men to face their fears and take their health more seriously. That doctor’s appointment could save their life.

9. Patriarchy and societal factors

This is closely related to the men’s health fact #8 above. To this day, some men still hide behind masculinity and society’s expectations of them to be “strong.” Therefore, showing any signs of weakness and vulnerability goes against men’s ego and manliness. Often, men are just really uncomfortable being “naked” in front of a doctor and seek consultation about their bodies. 

On the contrary, going to a physician indicates wisdom and strength. Men who aren’t ashamed to get advice from medical professionals will better understand their bodies to continue taking care of their loved ones. A healthy man, not just physically but also emotionally and psychologically, is a stronger man indeed.

10. Accidents and injuries

Due to the nature of men’s work in the labor force, typically involving heavy machineries, driving, construction, etc., unintentional injuries often happen. Men are often involved in motor vehicle accidents, fireworks-related and fatal occupational hazards, too. CDC also notes that 12% of males (under age 65) don’t have health insurance, making healthcare more problematic for them, especially in these cases.



Men are not invincible

Young boys today need to know that men’s health starts from making intelligent choices and awareness at an early age. This does not only cover nutrition, diet, and physical activities but also education and the psychology around men being invincible. 

We can’t dismiss the fact that there are gender stereotypes affecting men’s health. There are also special health concerns for various groups of men, for example. Sometimes, discrimination against gay and bisexual men comes into play. Sadly, even certain African-American and Latino men experience limited support in healthcare. 

Thankfully, we can now see some progress as a society in understanding men’s health. But, there are still areas that we can improve on and learn from. Overall, making smarter work and personal lifestyle choices can help reduce health risks for men. Remember that regular wellness and health management can lessen hospitalization and other health problems. Lastly, men’s health is not limited to men as it also impacts other people’s lives.

waking up early

Top 10 Benefits of Waking up Early

Waking up early in the morning is not the easiest thing to do.

If you’re one of those night owls who can’t get up in the morning without setting the alarm clock to snooze a couple of times, there’s a serious habit formation to do in order to change your lifestyle, and it’s possible.

Lots of successful people, from doctors to athletes, credit their productivity to waking up early. It isn’t a surprise. When you’re up, you allow your body to reach its maximum wakefulness without depending on a shot of caffeine. 

Everyone struggles to wake up at an early alarm. Getting out of the bed may seem like a drag, especially when it is for work or school.. However, when you’re decided to make a new sleeping and waking routine, it is achievable. It’s going to contribute to your overall energy levels and mental health, and there are studies that support these claims.

In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute talks about the benefits of waking up early. If you’re looking for reasons to start your day earlier than usual, this one’s for you! 

Facts about waking up early

Early risers are commonly the problem-solvers of most organizations, businesses, and groups. 

What does a morning person look like? Is it true that you are more productive when you wake up early? Night owls would say otherwise, but there’s science that backs up the benefits of waking up early, specifically in a person’s mental health. 

Every person has a sleep chronotype which is a personality breakdown of when one goes to bed and wakes up as regulated by their genetics. The circadian system controls the timing and duration of one’s sleep, and it has a normal distribution in the entire population. Chronotypes are responsible for the variation of sleep timing and duration and genetics dictate them.

What you must understand about your chronotype is that it isn’t merely the time you go and get up from bed. It also refers to the time when you function at your optimal best – and most people would say they do during the earlier part of the day. 

A quick look at circadian rhythms

Every living thing’s internal clock adapts to the 24 hours rotational schedule of the Earth. It is the internal circadian rhythmicity that gives the body the ability to predict what’s happening in the environment, including the sun rise and set. It can also anticipate the most appropriate time to eat, sleep, wake, and move.

waking up early
Image source: https://www.news-medical.net/health/Circadian-Rhythm.aspx

The cue for circadian rhythms to work is light. Did you know that your eyes signal your brain to produce more melatonin whenever the sun goes down? This hormone (melatonin) makes your eyes droop when you’re feeling sleepy. This is when your body is essentially shutting down as the daylight fades while you stay awake when the sun rises again.

With all these said, waking up early is good for you because your melatonin levels are normal when you follow the usual sleep-wake cycle. You’ll feel more productive by day and get restful sleep at night.

However, there are non-traditional jobs these days where some people work at night. Typically, this happens in order to follow another region’s time zone. In these cases, some offices may recreate daylight inside. But, graveyard shifts may still generally lead to sleep disorders and insomnia for some. Hence, most doctors still recommend having a usual 9 to 5 as much as possible as this is generally much better for optimal health.

Benefits of waking up early

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Benjamin Franklin

Early mornings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, if you’re already feeling restless at night, it might be a good time to consider being more active during the day. One of the best ways to do this is by waking up early. Here are the benefits and advantages of being an early riser:

1. More time

Imagine waking up one hour earlier than your usual schedule. This may translate to around an extra 15 days that you can use for many activities in a year. 

You can decide to dedicate the extra hours for work, family or me time. If you live with others, it may serve as the off your soul needs to recharge. It can also be an opportunity to chill and relax, especially when you are always loaded with work and other commitments.

2. Easy commute

Commuting from one place to another may be time-consuming when you have to do it regularly. Good thing, waking up early allows you to beat the constant traffic that may affect your productivity. It will spare you from dealing with people who are trying to beat the rush hour.

Avoiding traffic saves you energy, time, and money. It will also protect your overall well-being as studies imply that sitting in traffic on a regular basis leads to depression, stress, rage, aggression and even respiratory issues.

3. Quiet hour / morning quiet time
waking up early

There are people who get anxious when the surroundings are loud and busy. If you are one of them, wake up early and indulge in peace and quiet. Majority of individuals are surely asleep. You have time to jump in deep thoughts without your phone buzzing, notifications ringing, colleagues working, and so on. 

4. More optimistic

Waking up early gives you the power to take charge of your life and make things happen.

Different studies claim that morning people are more optimistic, agreeable, satisfied and conscientious. Christopher Randler facilitated a study on 367 university students and discovered that early risers are more energetic and proactive. They are in the mind-set to achieve long-term and short-term goals. 

5. More time for morning workout to boost mood and fitness

Setting a consistent waking time will also boost your mood and fitness. 

When you’re up early, you can use the extra hours to exercise regularly. It’s the adrenaline boost that you can utilize to your advantage, most especially when you want to overcome that inevitable sleepy feeling. You surely won’t miss another leg or upper body day. 

Exercise, in return, will improve the quality and amount of your sleep. It will allow you to go on a deep sleep which boosts the immune system, strengthens cardiac health, and reduces stress and anxiety.

6. Better sleep quality – restorative sleep is crucial for physical health

Sleeping and waking up early would be easy in an ideal world, but in reality, it’s challenging.

However, when you consciously exert an effort waking up early everyday, you subject yourself to quality sleep that puts your body to enough rest. 

Early risers tend to get quality sleep because you exhaust your body in the morning, which allows you to doze off the moment you lie on your bed. This is when you get used to your natural circadian rhythm which allows you to sleep and get up early effortlessly.

7. Better planning, productivity, and organization

If you always find yourself wishing there are more hours in the day so you can get some tasks done, waking up early is easily the answer. Waking up early can improve your cognitive function, thereby allowing you to be in a much better position to be successful and achieve more.

You can start by setting your alarm clock two hours earlier than your usual time. There’s a large amount of research suggesting that people are biologically more alert in the morning. This may vary but if you feel like you have a better cognitive response in the day, listen to your body.

8. More Energy
waking up early

Since early birds are most likely to achieve quality sleep, they tend to rest well, which results in more energy throughout the day. Night owls may feel otherwise because they are not able to complete the needed sleep stages for them to recharge.

The theory that sleep gives and restores more energy has led to the research of two chemicals – adenosine and glycogen. Adenosine accumulates when you are awake to promote sleepiness, while glycogen stores energy in the brain which decreases as you stay awake.

The looping of chemicals which are said to be involved in the process are responsible for the whole sleep-wake cycle which is also called sleep homeostasis. 

9. More proactive

Biologist from Harvard Christoph Randler discovered in a study that early risers are naturally more proactive. Take it from the leading entrepreneurs all over the world! These are the people who can handle problems optimistically with efficiency which always lead them to success, especially in business. 

When you have a proactive mindset, you are more productive. You initiate in overcoming challenges, and you just don’t wait on the sidelines asking someone for instructions. You anticipate needs, you’re curious, and you are confident that you can solve whatever comes your way. These are the perks of waking up early.

10. Anticipate and minimize problems

Since early risers have the energy, it’s understood how they can be problem solvers. It’s easier for them to have a positive outlook in life, as they are more organized and methodical. Whenever a problem arises, they don’t worry. Instead, they face complications with a clear head.

No wonder, early risers are the usual problem-solvers who are in-charge of organizations, groups, work, or even nations. Winning in the morning is winning the whole day for them. 

Advantages of waking up early

  • Uninterrupted time to work. As an early riser, you’ll have more time to focus on your work while others haven’t started their day just yet. There’s little to no distraction, which will also double your productivity. 

    Even Aristotle said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” When you go to work early, you wouldn’t have to deal with others and not be able to start right away. Get your job done with an unbelievable rate and speed and take advantage of your peak performance by waking up early. 

  • Reduce stress. Waking up early, even before your day begins, gives you extra hours for yourself to unwind and unload. You can use it to meditate, prepare, read the news, drink your coffee, and feel things. Including any of these in your routine reduces your stress so you are fully-charged for the day.

    Preparation is the underrated antidote of stress. After all, everyday stress is usually related to being late, and rushing on an errand. So, get up early and allow yourself to have enough time for peace and quiet. Enjoy more time to accomplish the tasks necessary without pressure. This will in turn give you satisfaction and make you feel happy and content. 

Successful people who are early risers

  1. Tim Cook, Apple
    (photo credit: Business Insider)
  2. Michelle Obama, FLOTUS
    (photo credit: HarpersBazaar.com)
  3. Richard Branson, Virgin Group
    (photo credit: Medium.com)
  4. Tim Gunn, Project Runway
    (photo credit: Forbes.com)
  5. Bob Iger, Disney
    (photo credit: CNBC.com)

Tips for getting up early

Forming a new habit requires 18 to 254 days to happen based on a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009. The research also reveals that you’ll need 66 days to make a new behavior automatic. This means you have to start now if you are determined to be an early riser, and stick to it for the days to come. 

waking up early

Place your alarm clock far from your bed

Don’t torture yourself. Avoid using an alarm that gives you anxiety, and don’t place it above your head as well. If you put it away from you, there’s a bigger chance that you’ll wake up when it rings, which makes it easier to shift your body clock. Don’t snooze, and stick to your schedule too!

Sleep early

Sleeping early means turning your lights off and minimizing your exposure so that you can doze off as fast as you can at night. You should follow a schedule when you wake up and sleep to train your body. If you can achieve seven to nine hours every night, that’s going to be helpful for your system. 

Gamify and reward yourself for waking up early

The author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, highlighted in an interview that rewards are crucial when adopting a new habit, such as sleeping early. The same is also advised even in exercising. When you train your brain to link an activity that requires discipline to a reward, it’s motivating to achieve it. 

Jumpstart your day

Jumpstart your day with a positive note and energy. You can have a morning dance party to get your blood pumping. Set a playlist featuring your favorite hits to release enough dopamine that lessens stress and makes you happy. 

Exercise

Regular exercise isn’t only good for your physique and diet, it will also knock you off to a good night’s sleep. Thus, shift your gym session in the morning. Experts recommend that you don’t workout before bedtime, as that might be counterproductive to your goal of being an early riser. 

Look up the sky and greet the sun rise

As mentioned above, for circadian rhythm to work, your body needs light. And the best source of light is the sun. Light exposure signals your brain to turn down production of melatonin. Hence, your melatonin levels help regulate and stabilize your sleeping and waking time. Plus, looking up at the sky is such a good habit to have in the morning, right? What a way to welcome a new day with a beautiful sunrise!

Why it’s better to wake up early

It may sound cliche at this point but indeed, there’s a reasonable explanation for the quote the early bird catches the worm. When you maximize the advantages of it, you are able to set the tone for a stress-free day. You won’t only be productive, but you’ll also reap the health benefits that your body will thank you for. 

Two of the core values of Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute are movement and science. Being an early riser has solid science in it while it also promotes physical activity or movement. Hence, waking up early is consistent with site’s values wherein this can help improve your quality of life and cognition function. 

If you work at night and sleep during the day, that’s okay. But if you’re like most people who’s more active in the morning, it would do you more good than bad to rise early. Ultimately, it depends on your lifestyle. If your current sleep and waking schedule works for you, that should be fine. Otherwise, it might be a good time to enjoy the benefits of seeing the sun rise!


Resources:
https://zenhabits.net/10-benefits-of-rising-early-and-how-to-do-it/
https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/benefits-of-waking-up-early https://www.neurotrackerx.com/post/8-health-benefits-to-being-an-early-riser
https://amerisleep.com/blog/how-to-wake-up-early-benefits-to-getting-up-early/ https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/benefits-of-waking-up-early#benefits

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