Category: Health

Side Effects of Paleo Diet

paleo diet side effects

An abrupt shift from regular high-carb diet to paleo diet can shock your digestive system and your body as a whole and make you feel some funny side effects at first. People who switched to this kind of ancient, paleolithic man’s diet reported disturbing symptoms like headache, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, diarrhea, bodily aches, nausea, irritability, and hunger. Pay attention to these side effects. However, most of the time they go away as your body learns to reconfigure itself to your new diet. Of course, this diet has it’s benefits for some people, but not everyone has such an easy time with it.

Why are you experiencing these things?

Your body is adapting to your consumption of more fat.

Paleo diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It sounds funny at first. However, once you look into it, you will realize you’re turning your body from a carb-burning furnace to a fat-burning furnace. Your body turns to fat as the major energy source, not carb. This results in your body beginning to burn fat, and this transition causes funny symptoms.

You’re losing a bit more water.

Regular high-carb and sodium-rich diets lead to your body storing more water than necessary. This is why when you transition to paleo diet, you tend to lose that extra water. However, drastic transition means significant loss of water, which leads to dehydration when unchecked. Dehydration causes many symptoms like weakness and dizziness.

You’re missing your carbs without you realizing it.

Switching to a different dietary regimen can be off-putting, but you deal with the negative emotions you feel towards the change by convincing yourself you’re doing the right thing. However, there’s that part of your brain that still misses the high-carb foods. This subconscious conflict causes irritability.

Don’t worry. The side effects of the transition are temporary, lasting for only a week. In addition, you can reduce the intensity of the side effects by doing the following:

Have enough serving of fat.

Paleo diet is grounded on the principle that our paleolithic ancestors didn’t consume grains (carbs) until agriculture was invented. Back in those days, they hunted meat and climbed trees to eat their fruits. Fat was the major source of the paleo man’s energy. Protein in meat was used to build strong muscles, which they needed for running, climbing, and hunting.

However, you cannot just help yourself to any type of fat. Choose good fats–coconut oil, olive oil, or butter. Nuts, olives, coconut, and avocado provide you with healthy fat too. Increase your intake of fat to compensate for your decreased intake of carbohydrates. Make sure you’re still consuming a healthy amount of calories.

Have snacks in between meals.

When you switch to paleo diet, you should adjust by eating at regular intervals. If you have blood sugar issues, you should eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your sugar levels stable. Otherwise, you can eat 3 large meals and have snacks in between. You can snack on nuts. Avoid intermittent fasting until your body adapts to your high-fat paleo diet.

Increase your water intake.

Reduced ingestion of carbs mean you’re losing water. To avoid dehydration, increase your water intake. Drink at least two liters of water every day.

Avoid strenuous exercise during the transition.

This is a good time to deload on or take a break from your workouts. If you’re on fat loss workouts, avoid doing intense cardio or HIIT, especially if you’re feeling a bit weak.

Another good read on this diet is this article from The Week on why this is a terrible diet for many people.

Why Try Oil Pulling for Your Health?

oil pulling benefits

You have probably heard about oil pulling from a friend or come across a post about it on Facebook. They have been doing it in India in what they call Ayurvedic medicine for 3,000 years. It’s an oral therapy that involves swishing one tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is long! But people who have tried it swore to its health benefits. You can use coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil.

This is not some kitchen remedy some housewife invented out of boredom. Research has actually proven its benefits. It’s not some false science. According to research, oil pulling helps treat or prevent gum disease, plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.

How does it work?

Bacteria that inhabit the mouth are single-celled microorganisms. Well, all bacteria are single-celled. Their membranes are composed of lipids. So what’s the big deal? Naturally, the fat molecules on the membrane of bacteria tend to stick to the oil molecules you use. So when you swish oil in your mouth, you take the bacteria out of your teeth, gums, and tongue. You spit them out with the oil. It sounds too simple, but this simple principle has a lot of health benefits.

Many people who have tried it swore it made their teeth whiter. If you’re wondering whether this is true, there’s only one way to find out. Why be scared? Swishing coconut or sesame oil in your mouth is okay. These things don’t cause any illness. In fact, they have lots of nutrients that are good for you.

What is research saying about oil pulling?

There are a few scientific studies conducted in 2008 and 2009. These studies aimed to find out the effects of swishing coconut oil. The findings: coconut oil stops plaque from forming.

Is there enough scientific evidence?

That’s the problem. There are not too many research studies done to update or back up formerly conducted studies. With so many people exaggerating the effects of coconut or sesame oil, it makes sense to do comprehensive research on the true benefits of these oils. Most doctors would encourage people to just stick to conventional means of preventing plaque and tooth decay. That’s brushing at least twice a day and flossing.

Also, there seems little or no evidence that support oil pulling will reduce chances of diabetes or heart disease. However, we know there’s a connection between gum disease, which can be prevented by oil pulling, and heart disease.

CNN recently did an article on this to see if it worked or not.

Should you try it?

If you’re curious, know that there are a lot of people who have tried it and they have seen benefits from doing it. In addition, coconut or sesame oil are not only safe but also filled with beneficial nutrients and minerals. There are no reported adverse effects from oil pulling. This practice would not have lasted for thousands of years if it caused mouth sores.

You don’t have to do it for 20 minutes. You can start at 5 minutes. See if it’s something you can do. Don’t swallow the oil. Spit it out.

Do not use oil pulling as an alternative to brushing and flossing. You still need to do these things.

Health Benefits of Sesame Oil

sesame oil benefitsSesame oil, like coconut oil, is one of the most nutrient dense foods that also has numerous therapeutic properties that make it one of nature’s awesome inventions. It has been around for more than five millennia, and researchers continue to explore the health benefits of one of nature’s wonders. Sesame oil is rich in nutrients like protein, calcium, zinc, thiamine, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium. But its benefits don’t end there.

It’s good for the skin.

Sesame oil contains zinc, which is important in the production of collagen, a main structural protein found in the skin. Not only is zinc essential for production of collagen for good-looking, healthy skin. It’s also important in the body’s healing processes.

It’s good for your teeth.

Did you know sesame oil has antibacterial properties? Yes, it can be used like a mouthwash in a procedure better known as oil pulling, wherein you swish oil in your mouth. This eliminates bacteria in the mouth and teeth responsible for decay and bad breath. Doing this also whitens the teeth.

It helps regulate blood pressure.

Magnesium has been known to lower blood pressure, and sesame oil has magnesium. Thus, including it in your diet or food preparation has blood pressure regulating benefits.

It protects your heart.

Another great thing about sesame oil is that it has sesamol. Researchers know this compound is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It helps prevent buildup of free radicals in the body and helps fight inflammation. Studies have shown sesamol can prevent atherosclerosis.

It lowers your risk of diabetes.

Another good thing about magnesium is that it also helps regulate glucose in the blood. Patients with diabetes may find this beneficial. According to a study published on the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sesame oil improved the effectiveness of glibenclamide, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes.

It lowers your risk of cancer.

Another effect of sesamol is to protect you from damage due to radiation. We get much of it from sun exposure. Sunlight has lots of DNA-damaging UV radiation, which in the long run raises your risk of skin cancer. However, sesamol in the body helps retard the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

There’s one thing more. Magnesium does another thing, and that is to reduce your chances of getting colorectal cancer. There’s another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that tackles the anti-cancer properties of magnesium. According to the data, 100 mg of magnesium lowers an individual’s risk of colorectal cancer by 12%.

It curbs bone loss.

Sesame oil both has calcium and zinc. Your bones need both of these minerals to stay strong and to fend off the bad effects of aging on your bones. People who are consuming sesame oil are less likely to develop osteoporosis.

It has fiber.

We all need fiber in our diet. Fiber delays digestion and keeps sudden spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. Fiber also adds volume into what we are eating without adding calories. More importantly, it helps keep the colon healthy, helping prevent and treat constipation and prevent colon cancer.

Good Sources of B12 for Your Diet

sources of b12

Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is involved in many physiological processes. The body uses it to produce red blood cells, neurotransmitters, and energy. This is why when you run low of this vitamin for a long time, you tend to suffer from anemia, fatigue, neuropathy, and even brain damage. A balanced diet should provide you with enough Vitamin B12, but some people (especially vegans) tend to miss this micronutrient.

The type of your diet plays a major role in whether you are getting enough B12. People who include fish and meat in their diet most likely do not have any problem getting enough of this vitamin. In fact, if you’re not a vegan, you have nothing to worry about because you’re likely getting enough B12.

But what if you’re not getting enough of it? Here are some foods to check out.

Shellfish

Cooked clams, oysters, and mussels have lots of this micronutrient. For instance, 100 grams of cooked clams has 98.9 mcg of B12. That’s 16 times the daily recommended intake. That makes clams the best source of this vitamin in terms of density. No other food source yields the same amount of cobalamin per serving. The same amount of oysters yields about 28.8 mcg of this vitamin; mussels, about 24 mcg.

Liver

Beef liver also tops the list for having the most B12 per mass. Cook a hundred grams of beef liver, and it will give you 83.1 mcg of this B vitamin. That’s more than 13 times the amount you need for a day. But don’t worry. Your body tends to store the rest in case you run low of it in the coming days.

Fish

Fish is a good source of so many macro and micronutrients. If you’re concerned about its B12 content, worry not. Mackerel, for instance, has 19 mcg per 100-gram serving. The same amount of smoked salmon has 18 mcg; tuna, 10.9 mcg; herring, 13.1 mcg; and trout, 7.5 mcg. Even canned sardines is rich is B12. A 100-gram serving has 8.9 mcg.

Don’t even ignore caviar (fish eggs). A hundred grams gives you 20 mcg. That’s nearly twice the amount of B12 you get from the same amount of tuna!

Lean Meat

Lean beef and lamb are good sources of B12 too. A 100-gram serving of lean beef has 8.2 mcg of B12, while lean lamb has 3.7 mcg.

Crab

It seems that the best sources for Vitamin B12 come from the sea. Crustaceans also top of the list of the best sources of this vitamin. A hundred grams of crab meat gives you 11.5 mcg of cobalamin. That’s almost twice the amount you find in 100-gram serving of red meat. Other crustaceans are shrimp (1.7 mcg per 100 grams) and lobster (1.4 mcg per 100 grams), but as you see they have significantly lower amounts of cobalamin per serving.

Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient-dense food. One reason you may want to include them in your diet is because of their B12 content. A 100-gram serving gives you 2 mcg of B12.

For even more food ideas, check out this list of sources of B12.

Tips To Help You Avoid The Flu This Season

tips to avoid the flu

Colds and flu are notorious illnesses that strike anytime. Viruses that cause these contagious diseases are everywhere, in the air, on the train grab bars, on door knobs, or public toilet faucets. Apparently, you have different ways to keep yourself from getting infected.

Keep your hands clean.

The thing about your hands is that they’re the first part of your body that comes in contact with anything. You shake hands, touch the doorknob, and then rub your nose. Your hands are the reason why you get sick most of the time.

The good thing is it’s easy to sanitize your hands. Hand sanitizers work excellently. They’re handy if you want to keep your hands clean whether you’re in the office or on the bus. Washing your hands with soap and water is still the best way to get rid of flu-causing viruses and keep yourself from spreading pathogens to other people.

Stop touching your lips or nose.

In fact, do not put any object, which might have flu viruses on them, into your nostrils or anywhere on your face. Sounds like paranoia, but you’re better off a paranoid than a bedridden person who can’t go to work because of flu. Your hands are probably the dirtiest part of your body, because as mentioned, they come in contact with anything first. Unless you just washed your hands, don’t put them anywhere near your mouth or nose.

Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise has a long list of health benefits. One is that it builds a strong immune system. Couch potatoes get sick more often than active people. You don’t have to hit the treadmill for 2 hours. Even 30 minutes of walking every day is good enough. Just do not overdo your workout to the point of extreme exhaustion, because that is counterproductive and harmful. Make fitness a habit and you will keep the flu at bay each year.

Eat more vegetables and fruits.

Many veggies and fruits, particularly the dark green, red, and yellow ones, have lots of phytochemicals and Vitamin C, which boost your immune system. In fact, there are a lot of micronutrients in fruits and vegetables that bolster your immunity. These nutrients do not necessarily make you less prone to flu, but they may make your body more capable of fighting disease-causing agents, including flu viruses. Check out these foods that fight the flu.

Throw away your cigarettes.

How many times have experts warned about the dangers of tobacco smoke? It’s notoriously bad. Cigarette smoke has a direct effect on your nasal passages. It dries up your mucus membrane and immobilizes the cilia (tiny hairs that line your nasal passages). These two effects in turn sabotage the natural defenses of your nasal passages against pathogens and foreign bodies. This is why heavy smokers become sufferers of frequent upper respiratory tract infections.

Nix the drinks.

Another thing that you should cut back on or eliminate completely is alcohol. One of the effects of alcohol upon ingestion is dehydration. Fluid loss is bad for your whole body, including your immune system.

Get a flu vaccine.

This is probably the most important preventive measure for boosting your immunity against common flu viruses. Ask your doctor about flu vaccination if you are interested. Of course, for this year the CDC has said the vaccine is not as effective, so check that out too.

Control stress.

Stress does a lot of things in the body. It causes obesity. It causes cardiovascular problems. It also causes a decline in the function of your immune system. This is why when you’re often stressed out, when you lack proper sleep, and when you’re always fatigued, you tend to suffer easily from colds and flu. Relax! Get enough sleep. If possible, take a break from work.