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.
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:
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)
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.
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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?
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.