How to Reduce Cholesterol on a Ketogenic Diet

How to Reduce Cholesterol on a Ketogenic Diet

Reducing Cholesterol on a Ketogenic Diet

‍Are you eating a ketogenic diet but worried about your cholesterol? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are concerned about their cholesterol when they start a ketogenic diet.

But rest assured; as long as you track your macros and stay within the recommended range, this diet is safe and healthy for most people. Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet can improve your lipid profile by lowering triglycerides and raising HDL (the good) cholesterol.

However, these changes might take time to show up on your lab tests. Meanwhile, in the first few weeks of this diet, you may experience side effects like weakness, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting called keto flu.

These are usually temporary symptoms that resolve as your body adjusts to fat being the primary source of calories instead of carbohydrates. To learn more about how to reduce cholesterol on a ketogenic diet read on!

What’s the Ideal Cholesterol Range?

It’s recommended to have total cholesterol levels under 200mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L). However, the ideal cholesterol range varies based on your health, age, and other risk factors.

People who have diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension typically aim for a cholesterol level below 100mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L). As you know, the body makes cholesterol and uses it to make hormones and build cell membranes.

It’s also used to make bile, which helps with digestion. A small amount of cholesterol is also found in our blood. In fact, the average adult has about 3,500mg of cholesterol in their blood. The body makes more cholesterol when needed and releases it when it’s not needed.

Why Some People Are Concerned About Cholesterol on Keto

There are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL is the bad type that can build up in arteries, clog them, and cause heart disease.

HDL is the good type that can keep LDL from building up. A ketogenic diet can have positive effects on cholesterol. Eating a high-fat diet can lower triglycerides and raise HDL (the good) cholesterol.

It can also decrease LDL cholesterol, but it doesn’t always happen. Some factors like genetics, age, and lifestyle can influence the effect of this diet on cholesterol. People who have high cholesterol levels or are at risk for heart disease may be concerned about how a ketogenic diet will affect their numbers.

In general, eating a high-fat diet can lower triglycerides and raise HDL (the good) cholesterol. It can also decrease LDL cholesterol, but it doesn’t always happen.

How to Reduce Cholesterol on a Ketogenic Diet

If you want to reduce cholesterol on a ketogenic diet, then you should do the following: Make sure you’re eating enough fat. For some people, eating a high-fat diet can lower LDL cholesterol, but for others it may not.

If you’ve been eating keto for a while and your cholesterol levels haven’t changed, then you may need to make a few tweaks to your diet. Eating a varied diet is key to keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range.

Some foods are better for cholesterol than others. Nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and coconut oil are all good choices for people on a ketogenic diet. Be mindful of how much saturated fat you’re eating. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs. The ideal is to get less than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.

Foods That Help Reduce Cholesterol on Keto

There are many foods that can help lower cholesterol on a ketogenic diet. Here are a few of them:

  • Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are great low-carb sources of protein. They’re also high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol.
  • Fish – Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower triglycerides.
  • Avocado – This fruit is high in healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol.
  • Coconut oil – This oil is rich in lauric acid, which can lower cholesterol.
  • Ghee – This is a type of clarified butter that’s high in butyrate and can lower cholesterol.

Final Words

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, then eating a ketogenic diet can help. This diet is high in fat and low in carbs, so you’re more likely to improve your lipid profile. To reduce cholesterol on a ketogenic diet, make sure you’re eating enough fat, avoiding saturated fats, and eating lots of fiber, healthy fats, and other nutritious foods.

 

Optimizing Nutrition for Intestinal Wellness

Optimizing Nutrition for Intestinal Wellness

Optimizing Nutrition for Intestinal Wellness

The prevalence of intestinal issues and digestive complications globally is quite common these days, affecting millions each year. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome affects about 11% of the global population.

Several types of intestinal conditions exist, including celiac disease, diverticulitis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Further, research suggests that those who suffer from a dysfunctional gut microbiome are at greater risk of developing other diseases and health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. This points to the need for a solution for this issue, and thankfully, there is continued, promising research going on in this area.

In what follows, we’ll summarize some intestinal conditions and their characteristics. Further, we’ll define optimal intestinal wellness and the nutritional suggestions to reach such status. More specifically, we’ll discuss the optimal foods and diets for the gut microbiome and some healthy dietary habits that should be implemented.

Intestinal Wellness

Intestinal conditions are ailments that result in digestive complications that can affect the entire digestive system, including the stomach and intestines.

Some of the potential known causes of GI conditions are lifestyle factors, overuse of medications, intestinal injury, intestinal vascular issues, and genetics. Yet, many of the causes are idiopathic.

Intestinal wellness is defined by the normal transit of food through the gut with no issues of constipation, malabsorption, or other digestive issues.

Though there is not yet a cure for many of the prevalent GI conditions noted earlier, steps can be taken to help prevent or manage their associated symptoms. Since the gut microbiome is dictated by the foods we consume and how we consume them, steps toward optimal intestinal wellness involve a centered focus on diet and nutrition.

Healthy Habits for Intestinal Wellness

For those already suffering from certain gastrointestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease, additional interventions will likely be required, such as certain medications and, in severe cases, surgical treatment.

Yet, in many cases, some simpler lifestyle interventions can help significantly in optimizing intestinal wellness. Moreover, these interventions are appropriate for both the prevention and management of such symptoms.

Thoroughly Chew Food

While the notion of chewing food thoroughly is one that is often taught at a young age, it is easily forgotten, and many individuals get into the habit of eating fast even if they aren’t very hungry. However, adequately chewing food aids tremendously in both the digestion of food itself and the absorption of its nutrients.

Though the number of chews it takes to optimize its digestion and absorption differs based on texture, tenderness, and size of the food, the average expert recommendation is 32-40 chews.

Supplement with Probiotics

Probiotics have bacterial organisms that are very beneficial to the health of the brain, the gut, and beyond.

Probiotic use has shown the benefits of improved mood, better digestion, and improved overall gut health. It’s also been suggested through research that regular probiotic supplementation can aid in the prevention of chronic illness and act as a treatment for several intestinal symptoms.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

It’s no secret that hydration is key to optimizing health and wellness. However, it’s easily overlooked by individuals who have developed the habit of not paying attention to drinking hydrating liquids.

Ensuring optimal hydration also provides the smooth transit of food through the digestive system, thus leading to optimal intestinal wellness. According to the National Academy of Medicine, adequate daily amounts of hydrating fluid intake are 9-13 cups depending on an individual’s sex, size, and activity level.

The Best Diet for a Healthy Gut Biome

While you might have heard the adage “the best diet is the one you’re going to stick to,” when discussing the gut microbiome, greater specificity is required. Since everyone has a unique gut microbiome makeup, the requirements for individual gut optimization can differ from person to person.

There are, however, certain precursors to healthy microbiota that everyone should consider implementing into their regular dietary regimen. The following are several foods to include in a gut-healthy diet.

High Fiber Foods

Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and beans are all excellent sources of fiber and other dietary nutrients that optimize the gut microbiome. Some examples include berries, bananas, spinach, broccoli, lentils, and black beans.

Fermented Foods

Foods that have undergone fermentation are also optimal for the gut microbiome since they have lactobacilli, a good bacteria that can replace bad bacteria, such as Enterobacteriaceae. Some examples include kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut.

Polyphenol-rich Foods

Polyphenols offer several health benefits, such as reducing oxidative stress, gut stress, and inflammation. Some examples include grapes, dark chocolate, and green tea.

The primary takeaway to curating a gut-healthy diet is diversity. Eating a wide range of foods increase the likelihood of having a diverse microbiome abundant in all nutrients and bacteria, thus optimizing intestinal wellness.

Final Thoughts

Diet and nutrition play a major role in the health of the gut microbiome and intestinal wellness. Therefore, learning about the best dietary components of a healthy gut will be extremely helpful in improving wellness.

The Nutritional Value of Protein Smoothies

The Nutritional Value of Protein Smoothies

Nutritional Value of Protein Smoothies

More and more research is being released on the benefits of protein consumption. While it’s long been known that protein is essential for muscle growth and repair, only in recent years has it become popularized for its abundance of other health benefits.

Yet, some controversy exists over the idea of protein supplementation and its function in helping achieve adequate amounts of protein. While some view protein supplementation as an inferior and all-but-ineffective sales gimmick, other experts view protein supplementation as an effective alternative for consumption.

In what follows, we’ll be discussing protein as a macronutrient, its primary functions, and its many potential health benefits. Further, we’ll discuss protein supplementation and detail the advantages of protein powder and its many variations. Lastly, we’ll explore how dietary protein smoothies and shakes can aid as a healthy alternative in many dietary regimens.

Protein 101

Protein is one of three macronutrients essential to the function and survival of the human body, and more specifically, the bones, muscles, skin, and blood. This key macronutrient is often referred to as being the building block of life.

Protein is composed of chemical compounds known as amino acids, and it is broken down and absorbed efficiently during the normal digestive process. The end result of this digestive process boosts the immune system, improves cellular health, builds lean muscle tissue, improves athletic performance, and provides energy.

Studies of protein have identified that when consumed in optimal amounts, it may aid in reducing risk factors for osteoporosis, heart disease, and other major health complications.

While protein can and should be consumed primarily through whole foods, sometimes supplementation may be necessary, especially for athletes or extremely active individuals whose protein requirements are greater than that of less active individuals.

Potential Health Benefits of Protein Powder

When the body isn’t provided with adequate amounts of protein on a daily basis, optimal functioning of the human body diminishes. Thus, for all individuals, striving for optimal protein consumption is essential. For those who have difficulty consuming sufficient amounts of whole foods, protein supplementation is necessary to reach adequate levels.

The following are some of the most commonly reported and researched health benefits of protein and protein powder supplementation.

Weight Loss

While protein is often thought of as an alternative fuel source to carbohydrates and fats, it also acts as an effective appetite suppressant, increasing satiety and reducing food cravings for longer periods of time. Thus, protein aids in weight loss by influencing the number of calories consumed throughout each day, and it also boosts metabolism.

Muscle Growth

Combined with consistent resistance training, protein powder supplementation also aids primarily in lean muscle growth via a process known as muscle protein synthesis. Through muscular repair and recovery, protein also allows for maximal effort and athletic performance, reducing the risk of injury, and allowing for consistent and intense efforts during the resistance training regimen.

Energy Production

As suggested in a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, protein supplementation resulted in less fatigue during exercise compared to those who didn’t supplement with protein. Thus, those who consumed protein shakes experienced greater energy and output.

Immunity

Research also suggests that consuming adequate amounts of protein, whether through whole food or powdered supplementation, boosts immunity and provides a means of both illness prevention and management.

Skin Care

Finally, protein powder supplementation acts as a natural moisturizer for dry skin and an alternative solution for acne-prone skin and other skin imperfections.

Common Types of Protein Powder

According to the FDA, dietary supplements are those products that provide nutrients external to a whole foods diet, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, probiotics, prebiotics, and other beneficial enzymes.

By definition, protein powder is a dietary supplement that provides the body with essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, allowing optimal recovery, repair, and function of the body.

The most commonly consumed protein powders are those derived from animal-based sources. These sources include whey protein, casein, and collagen, found in dairy products such as milk and cheese and animal tissue. Other animal-based protein powders include beef protein powder, egg-white protein powder, and other grass-fed powders.

In addition to the more popular animal-based powders, protein powder can also be derived from plants. Some common types of plant-based protein powders include soy protein and pea protein. These plant-based proteins tend to be less expensive and contain less protein, overall calories, and fats than that of animal-based protein powders.

Pea protein powder, unlike other plant-based protein powders, is a complete protein source that contains all nine essential amino acids. Both digestible and good tasting, pea protein is the superior option for those looking for an alternative to animal-based products. In addition, it produces similar recovery and repair benefits to whey protein and has been highlighted in research to help prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Final Thoughts

Whether the goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or improving overall health, high protein diets have proven integral to achieving this goal. Though a whole foods diet is the optimal path, protein powder shakes are an effective and convenient alternative source of protein.