Keto Diet for a Healthy Heart
Ketogenic diets are well-known for helping people to lose weight, when followed correctly. But what about other health benefits? This article takes a look at how ketosis can affect your cardiovascular wellbeing.
A ketogenic diet emphasises the consumption of foods that are high in healthy fats, while at the same time cutting the intake of carbohydrates. This can help with weight loss and has also been found to help people who suffer epileptic seizures but who do not respond well to other natural treatments.
Although ketosis is well-studied, the results have been inconsistent in terms of health benefits. Some tests have shown that the original version of the ketogenic diet can increase the risk of a heart condition, while other trials show that the newer weight-loss version actually reduces the risk of heart disease. However, one unanimously agreed reason for following a keto diet is its limiting of carbohydrates, which nearly everyone can benefit from.
Over-consumption of carbohydrates, such as potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, pastries, cakes, crackers etc, is often a major risk factor for heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. Carbohydrates increase the blood glucose and insulin levels in the body until the body develops a resistance. When this happens, glucose causes inflammation that can be damaging to body tissue.
Carbohydrates may elevate triglyceride levels that increase the risk of a heart attack and the chance of developing metabolic syndrome. This condition is characterised by the formation of small and dense glycated LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Carbohydrates also increase the level of insulin in the body, which can lead to diabetes, and diabetes is a leading factor in an increased risk of heart attack.
So, how exactly can a ketogenic diet help in the risk reduction or prevention of heart disease?
Reduces triglyceride levels.
Causes the small and dense LDL cholesterol to enlarge and transform into a non-dangerous kind.
Decreases levels of lipoprotein, which can cause a heart attack.
Raises the level of HDL cholesterol.
Improves metabolic factors.
Eating balanced meals according to the keto principles may help protect against heart disease. Make sure your food contains enough vitamins and minerals by increasing the amount and variety of vegetables in your diet. For more information on the role these micronutrients play, take a look at some of my vitamin and mineral articles below. You need to consume nutritionally dense foods with anti-oxidants and vitamins to ensure your body is able to fight off free radicals, get rid of toxins and to strengthen your immune system.
Keep in mind that while on a ketogenic diet, you only need to consume a minimal amount of protein. If possible, keep your protein to between four and six ounces of organic meats per day as a diet high in animal protein can be source of inflammation in the body. Making sure you consume sufficient healthy fats is an important component of the keto diet. See my keto recipes which give a breakdown of the amount of carbs, protein and fats in each meal.
Ketogenic diets are quickly gaining in popularity due to their proven effectiveness, but it is essential to follow the guidelines correctly or you will risk causing harm to yourself. If you are thinking of following this eating plan, please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner, who can assess whether this diet is suitable for you and can monitor you for any adverse side-effects.