The Keto Diet and Heart Health

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The Keto Diet and Heart Health

The Keto Diet and Heart Health
The Keto Diet and Heart Health

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In this time and age, most medical institutions convince people to eat low fat, high carb diets. But how has that worked for your health?

If you are at least in your late 30’s or early 40’s, you probably are already either obese or diabetic or both.

If you’ve been concerned about your heart health lately, you may have already heard about the keto diet. Understanding how the keto diet and heart health will not only help you know what is best for you, it will also help you live a longer life!

Is the Keto Diet Heart Healthy?

The answer is YES, in so many ways. Here are some of the ways the keto diet is good for your heart:

1.       It helps reduce insulin in your body.

You know that reducing insulin is essential to weight loss and your overall health. This hormone is naturally excreted by your pancreas and works in regulating your blood sugar levels.

When your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, that’s when the problem occurs. Why? Because insulin promotes fat storage, increases inflammation, and fuels the growth of cancer cells.

2.       It helps improve your cholesterol!

It’s a common belief that when you are high on fat, you are high on cholesterol. But that’s not totally true.

The keto diet promotes the consumption of healthy fat, that’s why it is called a low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet.

As you adapt to this lifestyle, your total cholesterol to HDL ratio, triglyceride to HDL ratio, lipoprotein size and density, insulin sensitivity and other metabolic measures improve. These are the true predictors of cardiovascular health.

3.       It lowers your risk of heart disease.

The keto diet helps boost your HDL, and observational studies have confirmed time and again that the higher your HDL is, the lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

4.       It makes you feel great!

When you choose which diet to adapt, your goal should be this: It must make you feel great.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Because what kind of health decisions can you make when you are feeling fatigued and cannot concentrate?

When you don’t feel well, chances are you’ll stress-eat, sit on the couch and grab some cookies. The better you feel, the better health and life decisions you make.

And the keto diet gives you just the right amount of energy to feel great!

5.       It helps you with fasting.

If you eat a high carb diet, chances are you always feel the urge to eat a lot. You graze and snack all the time, and you don’t easily get full.

As a result, you get an unwavering supply of insulin in your bloodstream. When you go keto, however, you feel that you do not need to eat as much and as frequently, so you fast.

The result? Your body uses your fat stores as an energy source!

6.       It lets you enjoy eating again.

With keto, you are able to lose weight and you feel better! This way of eating improves your overall health, allowing you to enjoy real healthy food without the urge for processed products or cardboard tasting, unhealthy cakes!

Heartburn on Keto

If you have just transitioned to a keto lifestyle, chances are you are experiencing the initial humps. One of them is heartburn—a burning pain in your lower chest caused by your stomach acids forcing back up into your esophagus.

Getting this sensation can be frustrating, but it’s normal. Your digestive system got used to your old way of eating, so making a sudden shift to keto will certainly have initial downsides.

The good news is that you can alleviate heartburn on keto! You can do this by avoiding acidic food like tomatoes, consuming probiotics, taking antacids, apple cider vinegar, magnesium and zinc supplements, or adding more salt to your diet.

It’s also possible that your dairy consumption may be the culprit, so you may try a few days without it.

Heart Palpitations on Keto

Another common side effect of going keto is increased heart rate. If you have just made the shift, again, that is NORMAL.

A racing heart, more commonly known as heart palpitations, commonly happens during the first few weeks of a keto diet, and it is usually caused by dehydration and low salt intake.

You might also experience this if you drink a lot of coffee during your transition. To alleviate this, make sure that you stay hydrated and that you increase your salt intake.

Keto and Heart Attacks

If you are not well informed about the keto diet, you probably won’t adapt to this lifestyle. A high fat, keto diet provides more copper, vitamin D, magnesium, and selenium because the food it promotes are high in those nutrients.

When you lower your carb intake and increase your saturated fat intake, you improve your heart health and improve the metabolic markers for heart disease risk! So if you are worrying about your risk for heart attacks when you go keto, think again.

Keto and Heart Disease

Despite fat and protein being demonized by the media for causing a heart attack, the low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein approach of the ketogenic lifestyle can actually prevent heart disease!

Smoking and a diet full of wheat, sugar and carbohydrates are the top causes of heart disease.

More and more research is pointing to a high carb diet as one of the main factors in what causes heart disease, and here’s why: eating lots of carbohydrates on a daily basis has the following effects on heart health:

1. Elevates blood glucose levels and in turn, increases circulating insulin levels, contributing to insulin resistance.

High blood glucose is inflammatory and damages body tissues through glycation of the protein structures (think of what pouring maple syrup on a keyboard would do to its performance).

2. Increases your risk of coronary heart disease and mortality through the ravages of high blood sugar.

3. Elevates triglyceride levels.

High levels of triglycerides are strongly associated with heart attack risk. Increases the prevalence of small, dense, glycated LDL cholesterol in the blood (that’s the dangerous kind).

4. Reduces blood levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.

Low levels of HDL are associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis.

5. Increases the risk of the development of Metabolic Syndrome, which is characterized by the presence of elevated fasting glucose, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides and high fasting insulin.

6. Elevates blood levels of lipoprotein(a), a cholesterol derivative of LDL highly associated with heart attack risk.

7. Increases insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes, both of which are highly correlated with heart disease risk increase.

Eating keto naturally provides more copper, vitamin D, magnesium, and selenium because the foods it emphasizes are higher in those nutrients.

Additionally, a ketogenic lifestyle improves the metabolic markers for heart disease risk. It’s that simple.

When the carbohydrate intake is lowered, and saturated fat intake is increased, this is what happens to the body risk markers:

1. Blood glucose levels drop, reducing glycation and the proliferation of advanced glycation tissue damage

2. Triglyceride levels drop

3. Small, dense LDL become the large, fluffy non-dangerous kind

4. HDL cholesterol levels increase

5. Blood glucose and insulin levels are reduced

6. Metabolic syndrome factors are improved

7. Lipoprotein levels are reduced

8. Insulin levels drop, which results in less insulin resistance, and greater insulin sensitivity

More and more research is backing up the fact that a low-fat, high-carb diet full of hydrogenated oils are killing people by way of heart disease.

Still not convinced? This is your opportunity to experiment on yourself! The fact that you feel amazing eating ketogenic foods is a result of much more than the healthy fats improving your brain functions!

Keto and Congestive Heart Failure

The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb diet. Generally speaking, this diet helps reduce the risk factors for heart disease.

If you are an overweight individual with heart failure, you will definitely benefit from the keto diet. It is simply because keto is a low-carb diet, and one of the major triggers of congestive heart failure is high carb intake.

Higher Resting Heart Rate on Keto

If you’ve been on a keto diet for at least a few weeks by restricting your carb intake, you may notice a slight increase in your resting heart rate. You will find it more noticeable if you normally have a lower than average blood pressure.

Why is this so?

The keto diet causes you to frequently pass water in the early stages. This happens as your body burns through all its glucose stores. As soon as your body adjusts and is no longer burning glycogen as a fuel, this often alarming symptom will stop.

You must also note that due to water loss, you may be passing valuable salts. As a result, you will have an overall reduction in the fluid circulating in your blood, causing your heart to pump faster than usual.

If this is the case, you can drink plenty of water and increase your salt intake. Do that regularly and your increased resting heart rate will fade in a couple of weeks!

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