For this 3-part blog series of the week, this last article will focus on gut health and diet. By now, you would have known that gut health refers to the overall health and well-being of your digestive system to put it in simple terms. This includes the stomach, intestines, and other organs involved in the digestion and absorption of food nutrients in a human body.
Good gut health means that your digestive system is functioning properly and efficiently, and that you have a proper bacterial balance. To maintain this, it’s important to follow a diet that is higher in fat content and much lower in simple and complex carbohydrates. When adopting this type of diet, it allows you to utilize healthy fat as fuel, and helps to your digestive system to process the most unhealthy properties first, thus utilizing fat as fuel. When you utilize fat as fuel, you don’t store fat, thus leading to a healthier you. This transformation does not take long to achieve.
In addition to a good diet, a lifestyle including regular exercise and enough hours of sleep can help train your body to avoid unnecessary stress and unhealthy habits such as habitual smoking and drinking alcohol. Although this may be commonly known, there is a more thorough explanation.
When your liver if functioning at a high level, it is not being overworked. When it is functioning at suboptimal level, it is being worked too hard. Your digestive process triggers your liver to help process the most toxic things in your diet first. If it spends all of its time and energy processing the most toxic properties of your diet first, it has no choice but to store the more healthy properties. So if it is spending time processing simple sugars, processed foods, and excess alcohol, it will store fat, thus increasing fat, thus increasing your bodies inflammation. If you limit this unhealthy dietary habits, your body will utilize fat as fuel and the result will be healthier feeling you.
The foods you consume can have a significant impact on gut health and function of bodily systems linked to it. In the previous blogs, you’ve also learned about the use of probiotics and prebiotics that can aid in improving gut health and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system.
Your diet can directly impact a healthy gut microbiome which should have a diverse, balanced, and wide range of beneficial bacteria. This complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract play an important role in nutrient absorption, digestion, immune system regulation, and brain function.
Doctors recommend a balanced diet, especially to promote gut health, in order to enjoy these benefits:
Improved mental health and cognitive function
Reduced inflammation throughout the body
Improved digestion and nutrient absorption
Boosted immune system function
Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers
Improved weight management and metabolic health
In conclusion, taking care of your gut health will have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being. It’s crucial that you pay attention to your body before it gets worse so that you can make good choices that support good gut health.
To read further about our philosophy on diet, click below to learn more!
Your gut health serves as the center of your health. Gut health is linked to nearly every autoimmune disease, as well as most neurodegenerative disease. It also impacts mood, focus, sleep, recovery, as well as daily aches and pains of your body.
We are here to educate you on gut health, as well as how to get your gut health under control.
Gut Health Overview
Recent research has sparked a surge of interest in the world of gut health, revealing that our gut microbes play a vital role in our overall well-being. Studies have shown that the gut microbiome does much more than aid digestion; it also influences our metabolism, immune system, and even mental health.
With groundbreaking findings pointing to the importance of gut health, it’s time to take a closer look at how our overall health and wellness is impacted by the tiny organisms that call our gut home. This is our first blog of a 3-part series on gut health.
Our gut described
Our gut – the long tube in our body that starts from the mouth, stomach, and bowel – is home to trillions of tiny microbes called bacteria. Some of those bacteria are good and some of those bacteria are bad. This system is collectively known as the gut microbiome and these bacteria play an important role in keeping us healthy by aiding our bodies in food digestion, water and vitamin absorption, producing vitamins and other essential compounds, and regulating our immune system.
There are two main types of bactiera:
Add continents on the two types of bacteria Firmocytes and bactofphies
Sometimes, the balance of these gut bacteria can be disrupted, leading to a condition called gut dysbiosis, or leaky gut. This means that there are too many harmful bacteria in the gut, which can cause health problems like constipation, diarrhea, or bloating. In more severe cases, gut dysbiosis can lead to irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. But for purposes of our solution, the leaky gut causes chronic inflammation in your body, leading to the early stages of many diseases.
There are a number of ways to help get your gut health under control, and we firmly believe that food is medicine.
One of the key aspects of gut health research is on the study of probiotics – the live microorganisms that can improve gut health Probiotics have a number of beneficial effects on the gut microbiome such as reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
The other area of gut health research is on the study of prebiotics – these are indigestible food ingredients that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotics can help improve gut health by increasing the abundance of beneficial gut microbes, reducing inflammation, and improving overall gut function.
In later discussions, we will go into the different types of prebiotics and probiotics, and it is important to know that not all of them are created equal, and not all of them are equally beneficial specifically for you.
Finally, gut health research highlights the importance of reducing exposure to harmful toxins including antibiotics, pesticides, and preservatives. Moreover, medical professionals suggest avoiding certain foods that can be harmful to the gut, such as processed and refined foods, as well as sugar and gluten. Just like the discussion of probiotics and prebiotics, not all foods that are healthy for you may be healthy for your neighbor or loved one. We believe in a personalized approach to gut health, and we will show you how to access that in later discussions.
In conclusion, gut health research is a rapidly growing area providing new insights into the complex relationship between the gut microbiome our bodies and the inflammatory response that it may have on us. By understanding the impact of gut health and promoting a healthy gut microbiome through dietary and lifestyle changes, it may be possible to improve overall health and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Our next blog post in this three part series will be on Gut health and Inflammation. Stay tuned in a few short days for another great article.
The ketogenic diet is a popular diet focusing on reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with healthy fats. However, as in any diet, there are many myths related to the ketogenic diet. In this article, we’ll debunk the top ten myths and most common fallacies about this diet and provide the facts about what it really is and how it works.
Myth #1: The ketogenic diet is just another fad diet.
Some people may believe that the ketogenic diet is just another fad diet. Why? For some, it seems like a drastic change from the typical American diet while others are intimidated because of the significant reduction in carbohydrate intake and an increase in fat consumption that it requires. Are you one of those who think it’s just a trend that will pass? Did you know that the ketogenic diet is a scientifically-backed dietary strategy and is not just a passing fad?
FACT: The ketogenic diet has been used for over 90 years, primarily as a therapeutic treatment for epilepsy. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a weight loss and health promoting diet.
Just because the ketogenic diet is often associated with high-protein diets such as the Atkins diet doesn’t mean it is all protein. In fact, the ketogenic diet’s main focus is to reduce carbohydrate intake so that they are replaced with healthy fats. Therefore, while the ketogenic diet still includes some protein, the majority of the calories come from fat and not protein.
FACT: A well-formulated ketogenic diet is moderate in protein, and primarily composed of healthy fats and low-carbohydrate foods.
Myth #3: You can’t eat any carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet.
Although the ketogenic diet does limit the intake of carbohydrates to about 5-10% of total caloric intake, some carbs are allowed, such as non-starchy vegetables and nuts. Health professionals, dietitians, and nutritionists typically recognize this myth and advise against this restrictive approach of completely eliminating carbohydrates.
FACT: While a ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, it allows for a small amount of non-starchy, low-carbohydrate vegetables such as leafy greens.
Myth #4: The ketogenic diet is unsafe and causes long-term health problems.
Why do some people think the ketogenic diet is unsafe? Often, they are only misinformed about the risks associated with it and do not understand the importance of properly managing electrolyte levels. Some people tiptoe around this diet thinking it’s too restrictive or difficult to maintain. Others think that the lack of carbohydrates can be harmful to the body; however, the body can actually adjust to burning fat for energy.
FACT: When followed correctly, the ketogenic diet can be a safe and effective way to improve overall health, as long as it is carefully monitored by a healthcare provider.
The reasoning behind this myth comes from thinking that the lack of carbohydrates will not provide enough energy for any physical activity. This is far from the truth. Ketones can actually provide an alternative and efficient source of energy for the body which helps during exercise. Consequently, exercise helps boost energy levels, improves body composition, and promotes overall health.
FACT: Exercise is highly recommended on a ketogenic diet, and can even enhance the benefits of the diet, as long as it is properly fueled with sufficient fat and protein.
Myth #6: The ketogenic diet is too restrictive and hard to stick to.
Nowadays, there are many delicious and healthy recipes that can make it easier for you to stay on track if you’re on a ketogenic diet. Believing this diet is restrictive limits you to the endless possibilities of its health benefits. Go ahead and see for yourself how possible and sustainable it is to create and enjoy keto-friendly meals with enough planning and preparation.
FACT: The ketogenic diet can be very satisfying and filling, and there are many delicious food options to choose from.
Myth #7: A ketogenic diet is only for weight loss.
Just like in myth # 5, if you think that a ketogenic diet is only for weight loss, it’s because you probably think it is only a low-carb diet. Again, ketones (not just carbohydrates) provide an alternative and efficient source of energy for the body. Thus, a ketogenic diet can help improve overall health, not just promote weight loss.
FACT: While weight loss is a common benefit of the ketogenic diet, it can also improve other health markers such as blood sugar control, cardiovascular health, and brain function.
Myth #8: The ketogenic diet is bad for your cholesterol levels.
This myth may stem from the fact that some ketogenic diets contain high levels of saturated fat, often linked to high cholesterol levels. However, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case. Many studies have proven that a ketogenic diet can actually improve cholesterol levels especially when done correctly. Moreover, a ketogenic diet can lead to improved health markers, such as lower triglycerides and improved insulin sensitivity.
FACT: While some people may experience temporary changes in their cholesterol levels on the ketogenic diet, it has been shown to improve cholesterol markers in the long-term, as long as it is combined with a healthy, whole food-based diet.
Myth #9: You can eat as much fat as you want on a ketogenic diet.
Many people assume that a ketogenic diet is very high in fat which leads them to believe they can eat as much fat as they want. However, this is not true, because, as in any diet, the ketogenic diet should be balanced and well-formulated so you’ll be properly nourished. That way, you can have the right amounts of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your body, too. Did you know that eating too much fat can lead to weight gain? Therefore, it defeats the whole purpose of a ketogenic diet if that is the case.
FACT: While a ketogenic diet is high in fat, it’s important to choose healthy fats from sources such as avocados, coconut oil, and nuts, and to limit unhealthy fats from sources such as processed and fast foods.
For some, the ketogenic diet is intimidating and extreme so it must only be for men who have the body type and can stick to its strict requirements. However, this is not true, as the ketogenic diet can be beneficial for any gender – men and women alike. Additionally, you can tailor a ketogenic diet to meet your individual needs so that it can be a viable choice for everyone.
FACT: The ketogenic diet can be beneficial for both men and women, although women may need to adjust their macronutrient ratios slightly to accommodate their unique hormonal needs.
In conclusion, no matter what diet you get into, it’s important to always consult with a healthcare provider. It’s important that you get professional medical advice before starting a new health regimen, including the ketogenic diet.
One of the hardest working organs in your body that you may not even realize is your heart.
Throughout the day, the heart pumps blood and oxygen that your body needs to function well. It needs to be at 100% at all times. Thus, even the slightest change in blood pressure or your cholesterol levels could potentially be linked to your heart. When that happens, you might need to make some changes in your lifestyle and nutrition.
Before you even have to fully overhaul your diet and habits, it’s good to take care of this important muscle as early as now. With only a few, small adjustments in what you eat and the way you manage stress, it could drastically improve your overall health.
In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute suggests ways on how you can take better care of your heart. Give these tips serious consideration especially if you’re already feeling symptoms of a weak heart.
How to keep your heart healthy
Whenever your doctors tell you to re-think your unhealthy choices in life, take that to heart (literally!). The food and drinks you tend to choose can be the culprit in causing artery buildup in your heart. In the long run, these tips can be beneficial to decrease the risks of heart failure.
1. Give up vices, especially smoking
Smoking is bad for your heart and lungs. According to the CDC, smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. As a result, more than 800,000 people a year died due to cardiovascular diseases. Also, in the US alone, almost 8 million had a heart attack (2014 data, report) 7 million had a stroke.
When you’re exposed to tobacco smoke, plaque builds up in the narrow vessels in your blood. Hence, less blood can flow. Your heart loses oxygen when a clot forms in these narrow vessels around the artery of your heart. Therefore, this can cause a heart attack.
Needless to say, this means you should avoid secondhand smoke, too, as much as you possibly can. Even if you’ve been a long-time smoker, as soon as you quit smoking, you can see significant changes in your health. You can even lower the risk of further damage in your lungs and heart, as well as other bodily functions.
Limit your alcohol intake, too. If at all possible, only do so occasionally. Lastly, say no to drugs. A combination of these vices can really take its toll on your body. Taking prohibited drugs can lead to substance disorders, thereby causing adverse effects in your circulatory and cardiovascular systems.
2. Eat more fiber
The benefits of a high-fiber diet are related to lower cholesterol levels. You can eat soluble fiber that helps lower the low-density lipoprotein which is responsible for “bad” cholesterol. Some good sources of fiber are oats, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products.
Avoid processed and refined foods because they are typically low in fiber. For men, the daily recommended fiber intake is 38g (age <50) and 30g (age >51). On the other hand, it is 25g (age <50) and 21g (age>51) for women.
3. Eat healthy fats. Cut down on saturated / trans fat
Good fats can be found in safflower, canola, and olive oils. “Bad” fats, however, can be found in saturated fats and trans fats. Cut down on butter, cheese, fatty meats, and partially hydrogenated oils in your meals.
4. Keep moving. Sit less.
When offices were forced to shut down due to covid-19 safety protocols, you’re probably one of those who had to work from home. At this point, you should have invested in a workspace or a dedicated area in your place. But, this setup may have kept you glued into the computer all day.
With that said, it’s easy to just take everything close to you and not stand at all. That’s a recipe for an extremely sedentary lifestyle. Hence, to counter that, even if you’re working from home, try not to sit for too long at extended periods of time. Get active, stretch, and get up every once in a while.
5. Cut down on salt / sodium
Choose unprocessed and whole foods more than salty and sodium-rich alternatives. What really happens when you cut down on salt and sodium, you ask? It lowers your blood pressure because the amount of fluid in your blood decreases. Note that too much salt or sodium causes your body to hold extra water so that it can “wash” that salt away. That extra work inside your body puts a lot of stress on your heart.
According to the World Health Organization, the recommended salt intake for adults should only be less than 5 g or under 1 teaspoon of salt per day. Imagine the amount of salt you put in your food when you cook, right? Not to mention the salty snack foods, ready meals, instant noodles, and processed meats you consume.
6. Practice good dental hygiene
Are you hypertensive? Did you know that gum disease can interfere with hypertension medications? Hence, it’s more difficult to monitor and control blood pressure which is crucial for your heart health.
Both cardiologists and dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day to improve oral health and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It’s a basic hygienic practice that could prevent heart valve infections linked to poor dental health.
7. Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly
Speaking of hypertension, high blood pressure is closely associated with high cholesterol. It is harder for the heart to pump blood when your arteries harden due to cholesterol plaque. Often, calcium also builds up in these arteries which results in abnormally high blood pressure levels.
In this study, researchers found a positive association between heart rate, blood pressures, triglycerides, blood glucose and blood cholesterol.
8. Manage your weight
Now, does weight affect your heart? Yes. Obesity elevates the risk of circulatory and heart diseases because fatty materials build up in your arteries. If you are overweight, you are at serious risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure, certain cancers, and heart problems.
Although for some, other factors come in that contribute to either adding or gaining weight. These are family history and genetics, environment, habits, and metabolism. Regardless, a good indicator to measure whether you have healthy weight is your body mass index. You can reach out to your doctor if you have further questions.
9. Get enough sleep
Sleep, especially these days, is now becoming more of a luxury. But, it’s something that you shouldn’t be taking for granted. Sleep is an essential part of life because your body repairs itself as you rest. Having a good night’s sleep increases your energy levels during the day so you can function normally and at your best.
CDC’s recommended hours for sleep is at least 7 hours for adults. Anything less (or more) than that can be detrimental to your health, including your heart. If you have sleep apnea, for instance, this could be an indication of heart failure because the airway is blocked during sleep. This condition affects how much oxygen your body gets, thereby, can potentially lead to stroke and heart attack.
Insomnia is another sleep condition where you’re either having difficulty staying or falling asleep. This lack of sleep and irregularity in your rest schedule can hurt your heart, block your blood vessels, and make you restless during the day.
In order to get better sleep, you have to train your body to stick to a regular schedule. Start by setting an alarm for when you’re supposed to be in bed in the evening and when you should wake up. It should be the same every single morning for the entire week.
During the day, try going out to get natural light or go for a walk under the sun. Lessen your screen time especially when you’re already lying down. Avoid eating or drinking before bed time and set up your room conducive for sleep. For example, use low, warm lights and keep it cool and quiet.
10. Hydrate more
Stay hydrated. Your heart can pump blood better when you are well-hydrated. In fact, those with heart problems are advised to have proper hydration to decrease strain in the heart. Drink 8 glasses of water each day and add some more especially when it’s a hotter, more humid day. Also, try to replace sugary and carbonated drinks you would normally drink with water.Not only is proper hydration good for your heart but also for your brain and overall health and wellness.
Dos and don’ts
To sum up, here are the do’s and don’ts to a healthy heart so you can easily remember:
Eat a healthy, balanced diet (good for the heart)
Maintain a healthy weight
Manage stress well
Have regular health checks
Eat too much sodium, salt
Sit for hours, all day
Drink alcohol excessively
Skip meals and stay up late all night
How to take care of your heart naturally
As you take your fitness journey more seriously, you are inevitably adding extra care for your heart, too. Know that heart diseases are mostly preventable. By eating a heart-healthy diet, you are naturally making your heart strong and well. If you’re gaining some pounds especially when holidays are approaching, add physical activities in your life so you can lose those extra calories.
If, however, you are on medication, don’t skip it. Get immediate care from health professionals who can help reverse heart diseases through cardiac rehabilitation, if possible. Make your heart a priority! A healthy heart is a happy heart!
When you plan to get in shape or continue to work out, your determination is essential.
You can’t exercise today and expect to lose some of your unwanted fats tomorrow.
It’s a grind that requires perseverance to bear results, and when you’re finally decided to commit to a program, sticking to it, whether you see outcomes or not, would be the test of it all.
But let’s face it – it’s easier said than done, most especially that everybody can’t go to the gym anymore like they used to. However, there’s no excuse to skip an exercise this time because there’s an alternative to working out – using the internet.
Good thing, there are exercise gurus on the web who can help you reach your goal.
All you need is access to YouTube, and you’re good to go!
Fitness trainers to reach your body goals
It was in the 1980s when exercise gurus became popular. Celebrities started the trend of shooting straight-to-video workout programs that you could watch and mimic at home. The famous names to ever do this were Kathy Smith and Jane Fonda.
In modern times, influencers have taken the spot of traditional celebrities as exercise gurus. Just go to YouTube alone, and you’ll see a long list of fitness enthusiasts who have a massive following.
The name Joe Wicks is inevitable when it comes to lifestyle and fitness online. His four million followers are a testament to this. Known as the “The Body Coach,” this guru generously provides a 15-minute meal and workout plan to guide his followers toward a slimmer and healthier lifestyle.
Wicks published the book Lean in 15, and with it, he received a significant number of praises and acclaims for his innovative approach to healthy fitness routines and recipes. He has become a personal trainer for many years, so the vast following he has created online shouldn’t be surprising.
Talk about one of the most well-known fitness experts in the world, and you’d see Kayla Itsines on the list. She has over thirteen million Instagram followers that made her an instant online celebrity in fitness. If you’re looking for motivation, check her Instagram feed, and you’d find inspiring stories to get you moving.
This Australian-based personal trainer has empowered millions of women to improve their bodies and fitness. She used her knowledge and passion in crafting myriads of fitness ebooks, including tilted Bikini Body Guides, workout applications, and meal plans.
Forbes voted for this next man in this list as one of the world’s top ten influencers, and his body and physique would make you understand why. He has helped hundreds and thousands of men and women all over the globe who want to stay fit and healthy.
Simeon has also created best-selling training ebooks to help his followers get into shape. This fitness addict started blogging in 2013, which allowed him to gain millions of followers on social media.
Luke’s mantra is “move better, think better, eat better, feel better.” He’s an all-around nutritionist, sports massage therapist, and personal trainer.
He turned actors into athletes for notable film and TV productions like Star Wars and Killing Eve. He is also the head trainer of the ITV series “Harry’s Heroes” and has trained World Champions from 5 different sports.
Luke is one of London’s best trainers according to the Evening Standard and a highly qualified sports scientist. He believes that understanding bio- and neuromechanics, psychology and emotional wellbeing is critical in optimizing our physical potential and capabilities.
London-based Tally is a fitness instructor, personal trainer and author of the book, “Train Happy “ She specializes in intuitive movement and non-diet exercise plans for people to nurture positive relationships with their bodies.
She’s a content creator with a growing following in YouTube, Spotify and Apple podcasts, Facebook, and Instagram @tallyrye. She emphasizes having healthy habits, ditching the diet culture, a positive lifestyle, and enjoying all things in moderation.
Tally also shares recipes on her website and happy workout routines that you can try wherever you are.
Rich Froning, the “fittest man in history,” is an 8-time CrossFit Games Champion. He has a tattoo with the Bible verse, Galatians 6:14, on his left side (from armpit to his hip).
True to his Twitter bio @richfroning, Rich believes that we are all created for a purpose greater than ourselves, which led to the creation of the site Mayhem Mission. Here, he gives, reaches out, and impacts the world with his advocacies of promoting good health and fitness all around.
He also has virtual CrossFit games, workouts and various media resources (videos, articles, etc.) available online. Rich does not stick to any diet plan or count his calories but makes sure he works out multiple times a day.
New York-based Jen Selter is a global fitness instructor and influencer with over 12 million followers on Instagram (@jenselter). She inspires and motivates her followers strictly with a “no-negativity” policy.
She popularized her signature “Seltering” poses that fitness enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes can follow. Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Vanity Fair, among others also had Jen as their featured guest a number of times.
Jen’s pinned tweetis a constant reminder to everyone: “You’re always going to be ‘to something to someone. Just be yourself.” If you want to learn exercise and recipes you can relate to, Jen may be a good fit for you.
Natalie’s mission is to help midlife women kill “false assumed truths” a.k.a F.A.T. In all of her social media, you can find the ongoing motto that “you’re not too old, and it’s not too late!” Indeed, she embodies this truth as a fit and successful woman in her forties!
Natalie is the model for “ageing in reverse,” who helps people worldwide understand functional fitness. Interestingly, when asked about her vocation, she says she “kills F.A.T. for a living.” We couldn’t agree more!
Dubbed as “the most influential man in health and fitness,” Tony started his career working out of his garage. He trained a 20th Century Fox executive in the 90s, charging only $20 per lesson at the time.
Tony’s clientele list grew from there, which included Annie Lennox, Usher, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, etc. He then created P90x, a best-selling commercial home exercise regimen now wildly popular around the globe.
A world-class motivational speaker and author, Tony guested in many TV programs talking about healthy living, nutrition, and exercise. He is a fitness and lifestyle expert, and he also ventured into business with Ultimate Salon Professionals.
Rebecca, a NASM-certified workout trainer, is the founder of the BTES Fitness app. She wrote the best-selling book “It Takes Grit” and hosts the podcast inspired by the book.
Rebecca’s guests are the likes of Olympic champion Katie Hoff and entrepreneurs Chris and Lori Harder in the podcast. Here, she helps her 250,000 listeners to overcome excuses in fitness and accomplish long-term changes in nutrition.
Rebecca is an exercise guru and influencer who has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entrepreneur, and Vogue. She is also the face of Le Coq Sportif and ambassador for Nike, Disney, GoPro, among others.
Famous fitness icons who inspire
Do you need inspiration for a healthier lifestyle? These widely-known fitness and exercise gurus have various ideas and tips you can learn from for sure.
These names have shown astonishing campaigns promoting wellness, proper nutrition and overall wellbeing in their respective networks and communities.
Check these exercise influencers out! Who knows? This could be the start of a brand new healthier you!
Did you find your favourite exercise gurus from the list, or do you know others from whom you’re currently getting inspiration?