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.
fitness tips

Fitness Tips for Beginners

Whatever the time of the year, it’s never too late to embark on a fitness journey. It’s courageous to shift to a more active lifestyle, and it takes determination and commitment to succeed. For starters, it would help to check on fitness tips for beginners and hop in the challenge. 

Time and again, we’ve been told about the importance of regular exercise. Jumping into a routine is a big favor your body will thank you for. Once you’ve set your mind to working out, a bigger challenge is coming your way – keeping up with your workout regimen. 

Fitness isn’t only physical activities though. Another important side of it is a healthy and balanced eating habit. Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. The other one can’t do it alone without the other. As one saying goes, “you can’t out-train a bad diet.” Eating right to support your workout is crucial.

In this blog, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute lists down some fitness tips for beginners to get started! This article is ideal for individuals who haven’t been in a routine at all, or those who have stopped from a hiatus and are slowly crawling back. 

What is fitness?

Fitness is a broad term. It varies from one person to another, but generally, it speaks about the optimal status of your health and well-being. 

Fitness doesn’t only refer to your physical health, it also pertains to your mental state. It covers every aspect of your life, for a whole you. However, the fundamental parts of this journey are a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.  

A balanced diet is when you eat a variety of foods in the right amount to nourish your body. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans explains the number of calories you should be eating daily. 

On average, a person only requires 2,000 calories to keep going. This may differ though depending upon your sex, age, and level of physical activity. Males are most likely to need more than females. However, there’s an exemption for individuals who exercise a lot as their bodies may demand more. 

Basically, the calorie intake a person needs depends upon their group, gender, and age. Healthline created this table: 


Image source: https://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet#calories

On the other hand, the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics’ Complete Food and Nutrition sets a guide that describes what a fit person is. It summarizes the following:

1. Energy boost

Exercising increases energy, even if you have to exert more effort for it. It provides you more fuel to stay motivated throughout the day. This occurs because there are cellular-level changes that take place in the body when you work out. The mitochondria generate fuel from glucose on your food intake which boosts the energy in your system. 

2. Stable stamina

Working out improves stamina both physically and mentally. A study reveals how exercising reduces fatigue among employees. It also indicates how an experimental fitness program decreases their stress level that enhance their sense of well-being. 

When you achieve stable stamina with exercise, you are more focused and energized to perform physical tasks within the day. You’ll also have the resistance to endure the stress or discomfort of everyday life.  You can accomplish activities with more enthusiasm. 

3. Reduced risk

It is no secret that physical activities are beneficial to the improvement of your overall health. If you have a chronic disease including diabetes, back or joint pain, or asthma, exercising is good for you. It doesn’t only reduce your risk of getting severe illnesses but also helps you manage your insulin and blood sugar levels which can be a trigger.

When you are able to manage your insulin and blood sugar level, you cut down your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Overall, you allow yourself to enhance your mental state and mood when you work out, which in turn also lowers your chances of depression.  

4. Improved physical strength

Getting into physical activities will shake various parts of your body such as the abdomen, pelvic, back and other muscles. You can make it fun by incorporating equipment or getting help from a professional coach to guide you through your movements. 

Exercising is both preventive and curative. It makes your lungs fitter and your heart stronger. Stretching your body increases its flexibility, which protects you from injuries. It also enhances your balance, which is why physical activities are recommended to seniors, and people of age

5. Better life quality

Since physical activities are known to increase the levels of your immune system, you are unlikely to get sick when you move a lot. Thus, you wouldn’t have to worry much about the cold weather or the changing of it. It will eventually improve the quality of your life for you will not get sick that often which leads to more enjoyment. 

Fitness Tips: Why should you exercise?

American Heart Association suggests exercising at least 30 minutes daily, and that’s 150 minutes a week, with at least 2.5 hours of heart-pumping physical exercise. It’s beneficial not just for the body, but for the mind as well. If you need to feel better to add more energy, and years to your lifespan, working out is the answer. 

It doesn’t matter what your gender, age or ability is, exercising is for everyone. We all know that physical activities are good for the body, but, what makes them difficult for some people? What even accounts to exercise? 

The Health Letter wrote an issue about this. It mentioned how keeping an active lifestyle has been important news ever since, that even Hippocrates elaborated the dangers of too much food and little activity. He prescribed moderate exercise and reiterated that idleness or even the overconsumption of food and excessive exercise can be a cause of serious illness. 

Image source: https://cheatdaydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/10-Fitness-Tips.jpg

Fitness is a lifestyle

Beginners who have decided to go on this venture should understand that fitness is a lifestyle. Thus, explaining how challenging it is at first. It’s more than just an occasional exercise. It’s like brushing your teeth that you have to observe regularly. It isn’t only seasonal or a quick fix, but a way of life that you have to live with. 

Fitness consists of healthy habits – both in diet and exercise. 

The mainstream goal of a fitness journey has become losing weight or slimming down, but it has more to offer than that. For instance, getting fit is the key to self-improvement. It combats anxiety and eradicates low self-esteem. 

Living healthy is also how you prevent sleepless nights and the signs of aging. All of these contribute to your wellness from the inside, which will manifest on the outside both in your physique and mood. 

Start with discipline, end fit

One of the common stumbling blocks of fitness success is the lack of motivation. Many people want to exercise but don’t really know their “why.” Do you want to lose weight? Or, do you want to address health issues? Getting fit needs to start with discipline. When you are, you’ll keep going whether you are motivated or not. You need to be consistent especially if you’re a fitness newbie. 

Remember that when you develop consistency in doing anything over time, it becomes a habit. Then, habits turn into a lifestyle. Fitness and wellness are not an instant solution to good health. Like brushing your teeth, the more frequently you do it, the better. It’s the same as working a muscle, too. The more you use it, the more functional it becomes.

The key thing is to be able to incorporate these fitness tips into your life. Before you know it, you’re getting leaner, lighter, stronger, and healthier.

The best fitness tips for beginners

Taking charge of your health is challenging, especially when you don’t know where to start. Your fitness journey may be overwhelming at first, but as you reach a balance of social well-being, mental and physical state, you’ll get your groove in no time.

If you’re a newbie, here are some of the fitness tips you should consider:

Set a goal

Like everything else that fills up your plate (pun intended), it’s crucial to set your goals. Starting out can be tricky. Therefore, have an attitude that shouts “begin with the end in mind.” Pick specific days and times in the week you can honestly and realistically commit to. 

Image source: https://radicalstrength.ca/

You will also have that extra motivation to exercise when you understand its valuable benefits to your body. Your reasons for getting fit should be more than just looking good, although that’s not a bad goal, to begin with. Hence, Your goal(s) will inspire you to adhere to this commitment just like you would show up to your scheduled meetings no matter how hard it could be.

Move regularly

fitness tips

Train your body to regularly move, even switching up your workout routine with walking or jogging, if you prefer so. Regular exercise helps you control weight, plus improve your mood and mental health. Incorporate this physical activity into your daily routine so you don’t get lazy and make excuses.


Keep your workout short yet sharp

Image source: https://content.active.com/

It’s better to exercise daily for a few hours than to miss a number of days and do once-a-week higher intensity workouts for longer hours. Surely, your body won’t like that! If you’ve got 10 minutes only to spare for each day, that’s better than nothing. Also, you can further improve your endurance with scattered, shorter workouts rather than fewer, longer ones.

In workouts, less is more. Latet science believes that multiple short sessions of exercise (preferably, 30 minutes) have the same impact with exercises completed in a long period. So, if moving for an hour is difficult to fit in your busy day, worry no more! Quick bursts of workout can be as effectives as the longer ones. Vigorous to moderate physical activities will still do wonders for as long as they are consistent. 

Add resistance to your training

Even if you’re starting slow, that still counts. As long as you’re moving and keeping yourself active, that’s already a good win. But, it doesn’t stop there. Gradually, you can add resistance to your training workout so you are activating muscles you don’t normally use. You’re helping your body slow down muscle loss and maintain strength and agility this way.

Training with resistance is underrated, when it can actually makes your exercise even more effective. It can increase the strength of your muscle as you work your body against a force. If you are a beginner, you should allocate at least two to three times of resistance per week. 

Resistance training includes press-ups or using resistance bands and your own body weight. Ultimately, balance is key. It’s good to have focus areas when working out but it’s great to do resistance training for optimal health.

Diet healthily

Even as you work out, you need to watch the food you eat. Food and proper nutrition play a huge part in your fitness journey. Thus, however intense your workout routines maybe, if you still binge on pizza late at night, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

fitness tips

Eat a healthy breakfast especially when you’re working out for the day. You need the energy to move and you don’t want to faint from intense workouts. Drinking lots of soda any time of day wouldn’t cut it either. Snacking can be tempting so it’s better to plan your meals to avoid sweets and processed foods, for example. You can never go wrong with whole food

Choose the right carbohydrates, healthier fats, more protein, fruits, and vegetables. Depriving yourself of food isn’t the right way to go. Depending on your goals, calories should be your friend, whether you’re getting more or less of them. When you do exercise, however, you will need more calories. Get in touch with your nutritionist or a medical professional to guide you with your fitness goals.

Control your portion

One of the common misconceptions about getting fit is not eating at all. That’s far from the truth! On the contrary, fitness allows you to eat anything you want, as long as you only eat them in portions. There’s no bad food, only bad portions. 

If you’re used to eating with big plates, you can start investing in smaller dinnerware instead. You can even follow the FODMAP diet as your portion guide. Your hands are also great to be used as a serving guide. You shouldn’t normally eat more than a handful of bread, for example.

When eating out, practice asking for half portions. Another tip: start all your meals with a glass of water. This should help prepare your body for what you eat and will signal you when you’re consuming too much. Lastly, don’t eat straight from any food container. Eat only what you can finish in a few bites.

Sleep and rest well

fitness tips

Enjoy rest as much as you do your other activities. Fitness isn’t just about movement. It’s also about rest, active rest, and the quality of your sleep. Ask any instructor for fitness tips and you’ll hear them say you have to allow your body to recover, especially from strenuous activities.

Schedule rest like you would schedule your workout. Recovery allows your body to repair from the intense exercise!  That way, your muscles and body tissues can do their work and you’re helping your body avoid getting injuries. 

One of the best fitness tips you should keep in mind is getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each day. Diet, exercise, and sleep are all interrelated and play crucial roles in your mental and physical health. 

Have you ever done an all-nighter cramming to review for your exams the following day? The lack of sleep didn’t really do you much good, right? In fact, sleep deprivation can cause distraction, lack of focus and concentration, and increases the risk of other health conditions like heart diseases. 

Lift weights

fitness tips

Many fitness newbies are afraid to lift weights. That’s okay. However, you will eventually have to add this to your routine so you can start with lighter weights if you prefer so. Moreover, you can be creative by using household items in your exercise. Use bottled water as your weights for arm exercises, for example.

Weights are useful for strength training to protect your bone health and muscle mass. Hence, lifting weights can help your body burn calories efficiently to make you stronger and fitter. Seek guidance and assistance from your fitness instructor or a health professional to make sure you are lifting an appropriate amount of weights during exercise.

Get hydrated

fitness tips

One of the tips for a healthy gut is getting enough hydration. Being fit means taking better care of your gut. Thus, make it a habit to drink lots of water every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 11 cups of water for women and 15 cups for men. 

Water has zero calories and, therefore, can help in your body weight management. It’s best to drink water instead of soda and other high-calorie drinks such as alcohol. Surely, drinking water is your best companion to your fitness journey.

Make it a habit

Choosing a healthy lifestyle can make your life better and longer. Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes quality of life with the length of life. Hence, we strongly recommend starting healthy habits that you can stick to and commit.

Develop a routine, a schedule, that you are comfortable with. Whether it involves food or exercise, these habits will spell the difference whether you value your time and body or not. Go easy on yourself, start simple, and be consistent.

Stay motivated

fitness tips

Get inspiration from whatever it is that motivates you. Is it a vision board of your body goal? A whole-year round of good health and no hospital visits for any untoward health conditions? One way to make your workout training more enticing is by creating music playlists that you actually enjoy. You can also find non-fitness-related reasons to go out of the comforts of your usual workout routine. For instance, you can go out and jog somewhere with a more scenic view.

Give yourself the pep talk you would otherwise give another person you’d encourage to exercise. There are many beginners in fitness who are competitive not only to themselves but also to others. This can be done through joining health and wellness communities, online workout programs, or fitness trackers and apps.


What are you waiting for?

The key thing about these fitness tips and tricks is to get started. Just get on it, start slow, and build your stamina. You will see your fitness level go up over time so stick to your program. Maintain a healthy, balanced diet, hydrate, and rest so your body can recuperate. Go for it! And, remember to have fun and enjoy!


References:
https://www.sharecare.com/health/fitness-exercise/what-is-fitness#:~:text=Fitness%20includes%20five%20essential%20components,(ADLs)%20without%20excessive%20fatigue.
https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/wellness/seven-fitness-tips-for-improved-physical-health/
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/12/how-to-stay-fit-for-ever-25-tips-keep-exercising-expert-advice
https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-we-should-exercise-and-why-we-dont


healthy snacks

Is Snacking Healthy

Healthy snacks are underrated. But, snacking healthy is slowly getting more attention due to its many benefits.

Gone were the days when snacking was put under a bad light. The misconceptions about it are mostly caused by unhealthy food choices that could’ve been avoided. Today, it can be a way to squeeze in some extra nutrients that could optimize your diet.

You don’t always have to munch a box of doughnuts, or a pack of chips, for a snack. With smart snacking, you can use the chance to manage your hunger and lower your binge-eating tendencies. These are beneficial if your goal is to lose fats.

In this blog, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute adds more information about healthy snacks as was previously mentioned in this article. If you’ve started noticing unhealthy habits in snacking, especially when holidays are approaching, here’s an opportunity to change that.

Benefits of healthy snacks

Eating in between meals is enjoyable, but for those who can’t control their portion, this may mean trouble. Regardless, snacking can be a part of a healthy diet pattern if you only consume the right kinds of food. You can take it as one of the ways to obtain nutrients that your body needs to be even more functional and productive. 

According to Blanchard Valley, an average American grabs a snack at least twice a day, and that makes up one-quarter of their total calories. Thus, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact snacking may have on your body. When you are careful with what you eat, it can work to your advantage. However, if you focus on junk food, you’ll most likely gain weight and worse – other health issues that may lead to problems. 

There are many benefits to healthy snacking. You can use it to combat weight gain, curb cravings, boost mental ability, regulate mood and increase energy so that you have enthusiasm for the whole day. What can you get when you snack the right way?

Weight control

In weight loss, extreme hunger may be a reason for you to binge eat. This may be a window for you to grab a doughnut box and other similar treats. Hence, be mindful of your snacks! Looking at the ingredients is a way to do this. 

Go for foods that are whole and raw. Mono or polyunsaturated fats are your friends. You should consume at least 21 to 15 grams of fiber, and your snacks should allow you to get your needed dose of this for weight control and loss.  

Craving suppressant

Food cravings will sabotage your diet, most especially when they are intense and irresistible. When you desire a certain food, you are most likely to indulge in extra sugars and carbohydrates that would only make it difficult to control eating.

Snacking can tap away your cravings. When you plan your snacks and plot them on a schedule, you’ll prevent yourself from eating unnecessarily. You will also manage to plan your food which will keep you away from bad choices. 

Energy, mood and brain booster

There have been studies that strengthen the link between mood and food. Scientific evidence supports the impact of what you eat on your mental state. Thus, if you want to improve your mood and energy, being conscious of your food choices would be a good start. 

Munching on dried fruits and snacks in between your meals is a healthy alternative to enhance your overall mood and energy. Including them in your diet can help you stay focused and productive which is surely ideal if you are in a work environment. 

If your goal for snacking is to boost your brainpower, go for focus-boosting options such as blueberries, avocados, and dark chocolate. Consume any of these in the right portion and you’ll harness yourself some mental lift. 

Is snacking bad for digestion

Snacking becomes worrisome when you’re frequently eating at random hours and in big portions. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, excess snacking may cause you to skip meals entirely which is bad for your health. Although snacking can help satiate your hunger, you may lose out on important ingredients if it is done at the expense of your actual full meals.

That said, on whether snacking is bad for digestion or not, it all boils down to your snacking behavior. What do you snack on? Why do you snack? How often do you snack? And, how do snacks fit into your eating plan and diet overall?

healthy snacks
Image source: https://draftab.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/bad-digestion-a-worldwide-health-problem/

If you’re not careful, you could be snacking on whatever is easily available. Most children, for instance, only grab mostly calorie-rich foods but are poor in essential nutrients. Hence, this could lead to unhealthy eating behaviors from a young age and develop into health problems later on. This behavior could also result in gaining weight or, worse, obesity.

Adding too many calories can be detrimental to your body. As your body gets used to processed foods and hyper-palatable snacks, you are also increasing your preferences for nutrient-poor treats. As it happens, you are compromising the quality of your diet because, in turn, you are losing your appetite for healthier choices. 

Another effect could later be seen in your metabolism which could potentially slow down due to spikes in certain macronutrients than others. Healthy snacks do the opposite. As for your digestive system, your digestion becomes irregular, hence, your body needs to exert more effort to break down food and convert it into energy. 

Lastly, your gut may have difficulty doing its job because of harmful toxins introduced to your system. This could potentially lead to bloating, indigestion, and, worse, gut inflammation. 

How to snack smart

Now that we’ve established how snacking can be smart, it’s time to use it to your advantage. You don’t even have to go into deep knowing to eat wise. Knowing the basics will get you a long way to maintain your energy so you can focus on your tasks for the day. 

But, how do you snack smart? Planning is the key. You can start by having a schedule and eating only at the same time each day. Stick to the routine that you have established so that you can stop yourself from overloading.

It would also help to remember these when snacking:

  • Eat when you are really hungry, not when you’re craving.
  • Squeeze in small snacks when there’s a delay in your major meals.
  • Nibble quick bites when you’re burning off extra calories and energy.

The kinds of food to snack

Your snacks should have a balance of important nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fats. For example, string cheese or low-fat yogurt is ideal for your gut, the same as the fiber in whole popcorn and grain pretzels. You can also indulge in healthy fats such as almonds or peanut butter.

What you must avoid are snacks that are packed with saturated fats, salt, and sugar. Your aim is to go for options that are nutritious, energizing, and satisfying. Prepare a selection that sets you up for success, not one that sabotages your fitness aims.

As much as possible, stick to the no-heat, no-utensils, kinds of food like vegetable sticks, granola bars, or wheat crackers. In the end, your snacks should be:

  • Well-balanced and nutritious
  • Simple, easy and convenient
  • Creative and expert-recommended

When these are not present in the food that you snack in, it’s time to change your priorities. 

Healthy snacks

healthy snacks

Snacking can be healthy. More so, it helps curb your appetite and provide the energy you need for the day. You can slowly change your snacking habits and behaviors so your body can get used to healthier alternatives.

To know more about healthy snacks you can’t go wrong with, read more in this previous article here. 

Positive and negative impacts of snacking

Does it hurt when you snack a lot? Or does it do more good than harm in your body? It’s inevitable for many people to do this habitual activity especially when killing time. In most cases, snacking is part of socializing and sharing moments with friends, families, and colleagues, too. So, is it really good to snack or not? And, is it healthy to do so?

Let’s take a look at the positive and negative impacts of snacking then.

  • Positives (healthy snacking):
    • Satisfy your appetite to the full throughout the day.
    • Control and sustain your energy levels and blood sugar
    • Consume only lighter meals
  • Negatives (unhealthy snacking):
    • Exceed your calorie intake for the day
    • Poor food choices
    • Constant grazing during meals
    • Overconsumption
    • Elevate inflammatory markers

More balanced meals can be more enriching and satisfying in the long run. Sometimes, eliminating snacking can spell the difference in improving your metabolism. Other times, it can be the very thing you need to lose weight and promote a healthier lifestyle overall. Healthy snacks should be part of your diet.

Importance of snacks

Snacking effects may vary from one person to another. It really needs an honest evaluation of yourself whether you are overeating or managing well. If in-between meals causes chain reactions of binge-eating for you, you need to stop unhealthy habits. Don’t let your behavior towards food lead to serious health conditions. Worse, unhealthy snacking could potentially require medical treatment. Still, prevention is better than cure. 

Remember that there are smart ways to snack. If you’re craving for a particular food, eat only a small amount. For example, if you want chocolate, go for it. Eat a small square and enjoy it. Sometimes, depriving yourself of your craving leads to poorer food choices. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes quality of life with length of life. Healthy snacks can help you achieve that. Add nutrition to your day even with snacking and you can’t go wrong with that.


Resources:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/snacking-good-or-bad
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/snacking/
https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/3-common-misconceptions-about-snacking-how-do-it-right-way-ncna820631
https://www.bvhealthsystem.org/expert-health-articles/the-benefits-to-healthy-snacks
https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/meal-planning/healthy-snacking-benefits.aspx


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