6 Things You Should Know About the Keto Diet

The keto diet is very popular, especially since it is January and people are looking to make some changes to their routine. Unless you've been living under a rock, or in Europe, you've heard all about it and have probable read a few thing here and there about it. If you’ve decided to commit to the high-fat, very-low-carb plan after hearing about its touted perks — improved memory, less brain fog, more energy, stabilized blood sugar, or most common, quick weight loss — there are a few things you need to know first. Approaching this fad diet or any fad diet fully informed may better set you up for success:

1: Your Body Goes Into Ketosis

It is ketosis that causes the fat burn in keto. Ketosis a metabolic state where your body uses fat for fuel (as opposed to it preferred source of energy, glucose). During this process, the body breaks down fat and converts it into ketone bodies. This should not be confused with diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes that happens when your body does not get enough insulin and ketone levels are simultaneously high, according to the Mayo Clinic.

2: You Need to Stay on Keto for it to Work

Seesawing on and off keto will just lead you to gain all the weight back. Keto has become such a fad that people don’t really fully understand what they’re getting into and jump into the diet, say nutritionists. Because of that, people often follow the keto diet one day and then eat carbs the next, and won't reap the potential benefits of sustained ketosis this way. You can't really cheat on a keto diet.

3: The Keto Diet Is High in Protein

Eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast and a big cut of steak for dinner sounds like it’s on the keto plan, but protein needs to be eaten in moderation. This is not the Atkins Diet. Excess protein can be converted into glucose, spiking your blood sugar, taking your body out of ketosis. What’s more, the breakdown of amino acids in protein can also lead to increased ketones, which is not ideal for a person with high levels of ketones in their body to start. If you’re unsure about how much you should consume, a registered dietitian can help. You can find one at EatRight.org.

4. Carbs Affect People Differently

How many carbs you should eat really depends on your personal health. When you start a very-low-carb diet like keto, you may not realize how low in carbs it is. Followers typically consume 30 to 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates a day, often beginning on the lower end of that spectrum to help the body enter ketosis. Nonetheless, depending on factors like physical activity, you may be able to go higher. She recommends teaming up with a dietitian who can calculate your nutritional needs. What’s more, sometimes it’s not even necessary to go keto, she says. “Some people have genetic issues with using fat for energy, making the diet even more difficult or ineffective for them,” says Fleck.

5: You Can and Should Eat Vegetables on Keto

You need to eat produce to get fiber to avoid constipation, a keto side effect. Fruits and veggies are sources of carbohydrates. Still, that doesn’t mean you should avoid produce. In fact, these whole, unprocessed foods are important sources of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber — the latter of which is critical for avoiding constipation. Nutritionists recommend nonstarchy veggies, like zucchini, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, and broccoli, plus small amounts of lower-carb fruits, like berries — think strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. There are still some healthy foods that are not allowed on the keto diet, so you’ll want to consult a doctor.

6: The Keto Diet Isn't Necessarily the Best way to Lose Lose Weight

Just because a keto diet worked for someone you know, it doesn't mean it is the diet that’s best for you. Everyoe is different. There are a lot of trendy diets out there, but in reality, success comes from finding an eating plan that you can be consistent with.  Talk to a registered dietitian about all this, but before going keto, This will help you decide what diet is best for you.




Flu Update and Outlook for 2019

The Flu virus is spreading, and the CDC reports 19 states and New York City with high flu activity relative to the average cross the country.  Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Another nine states have moderate activity.

"The season is really starting to pick up," said Lynnette Brammer, the lead of CDC's domestic influenza surveillance team.

The A strains of the flu virus are the most common so far, in particular H1N1. "There's still a lot more flu season to come," Brammer said. "I expect activity to continue for several more weeks."

Last year’s flu season was one of the worst on record, with the highest death toll in over 20 years. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, said an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu in 2018 and its complications and about 900,000 landed in the hospital.

Since 2010, the flu has affected about 9 million to 35 million annually.

What are the latest stats on the flu season?

Brammer said it's too early to tell how severe this season will be or what the mix of viruses will be. The hospitalization rate is still relatively low compared with last year, and deaths are still below epidemic levels, she said.

The CDC says 13 children have died related to flu this season. Most are associated with the A H1N1 strain of the virus. 

How Effective is this Year's Flu Vaccine?

It is impossible to predict how well the updated vaccine will work.There are many strains of the two types of flu viruses, A and B, that infect humans. In order to have flu shots ready for flu season, experts have to decide, many months in advance, which strains to include in the vaccine. Because strains of the virus can rapidly mutate, the vaccine is not always a perfect immunization. Even when the vaccine is a good match, the way it is produced can also affect its efficacy. In addition, most flu shots are grown in eggs, which may change the viruses and affect how effective they are.

Where Can I Get a Vaccine?

It's offered at doctors' offices, clinics, health departments, college health centers, pharmacies, and at many offices and some schools. Many insurance plans pay for the annual vaccination, and older adults covered under Medicare Part B can get the vaccine free, with no copay or deductible. For more information about where to get a flu vaccination, go to the Vaccine Locator.

How Are Flu Vaccines Produced?

During flu season, experts study samples of the viruses circulating to evaluate how well the vaccine protected against those viruses. They use that information to help make their decision for the next one. This year, the vaccine will protect against two A strains -- H1N1 and H3N2 -- and a B strain. The quadrivalent vaccine will protect against an additional B strain.

Like all other vaccines, the one for flu isn't perfect, but it cuts the risk of illness from 30% to 60% in the general population, the CDC says. In general, vaccines work better against influenza B and influenza A (H1N1) viruses than they do against influenza A (H3N2) viruses, the CDC says.

Who Gets Hit the Hardest?

Seniors always get hit the hardest, but the Flu is also hard on children. Thousands of U.S. children had been hospitalized and 180 children had died of flu-related causes in the past 12 months. Among the children who died, about 80% had not had a flu shot, according to the CDC. Children younger than 2 are especially vulnerable. Those ages 6 months and under are also much more likely to get complications, but they're too young to be vaccinated, so the best idea is to be sure everyone in contact with them is vaccinated. Adults ages 65 years and above are at greater risk than younger, healthy adults due to weakened immune systems. Typically, these older adults account for most flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations. Pregnant women, as well as those who have delivered a baby in the previous 2 weeks, are more likely to have a severe illness than women who aren't pregnant.

Anyone with a chronic medical condition is more likely to have complications. These conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • A compromised immune system due to cancer, HIV, or other conditions

When Does Flu Season End?

Although you can get the flu anytime, flu season generally starts in October and extends into March or April. But ''it usually peaks in the U.S. in February, says William Schaffner, MD, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. 

What Types of Flu shots are Available this year?

For the 2018-2019 season, there are several vaccines:

  • Trivalent vaccines, which protect against three flu strains: two A and one B
  • Quadrivalent vaccines, which protect against two A and two B strains
  • A high-dose vaccine that protects against two A and one B strain, meant for adults 65 and above, who usually have weaker immune systems
  • An adjuvanted vaccine, made using an ingredient that helps trigger a stronger immune response, is also an option for older adults. It protects against two A strains and one B.
  • A nasal spray vaccine for people ages 2 to 49 that protects against four strains: two A and two B. It is not for pregnant women and people with weakened immunity, among other conditions.

Children who have never been vaccinated against influenza will need two doses, spaced at least 4 weeks apart.

Which Vaccines Work Best?

While the quadrivalent vaccine protects against more viruses, the CDC says there is no preference among the recommended and approved vaccines. Ask your doctor which is best for you. Different vaccines are approved for different age groups.

Up to 166 million doses of the flu vaccine are expected to be produced for this flu season, including 119 quadrivalent. However, if it is not available, it is better to get another flu vaccine than to wait for it, the CDC says.

Any flu shot is better than none. Don’t delay getting one if you can't get your first choice.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot and When?

In general, everyone over 6 months of age should get vaccinated, and the earlier the better. Late September or early October are ideal, according to the CDC.The AAP says that all children 6 months and older should get the shot to help cut the risk of severe illness and death as soon as possible, but preferably by the end of October. 

Who Should Not get a Flu Shot?

Anyone who got Guillain-Barre syndrome within 6 weeks of a previous flu vaccination should not get vaccinated, the CDC says. Nor should anyone with a known severe, life-threatening allergy to any ingredients in a vaccine.

Does the Nasal Flu Vaccine Work?

The nasal spray vaccine, FluMist, is once again being recommended by the CDC. Although it didn’t work well against H1N1 viruses, it did against some B viruses and H3N2 viruses. It’s available for children 2 and older who don’t have a compromised immune system.

What are Common Flu symptoms?

They usually come more suddenly than cold symptoms. They include fever, feeling feverish, the chills, having a cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Less common are vomiting and diarrhea. Children are more likely to have vomiting and diarrhea than adults are, the CDC says. Not everyone with the flu has a fever.

What Can I Do I if I Think I Have the Flu?

Stay home, rest, and avoid contact with others except to get medical care if needed, experts say. Avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides to avoid spreading the flu. Be on the lookout for emergency warning signs that you may be getting serious flu-related complications, the CDC says.

In children, these include:

  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Severe irritability
  • Fever plus a rash
  • Lack of interaction
  • Not drinking fluids
  • Symptoms that improve then return with fever and a worse cough

In adults, they include:

  • Breathing trouble
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

Symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and worsening cough.

What are Flu Treatments?

The FDA in October approved the first new flu treatment in nearly 20 years: baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza). The new treatment joins the other three approved antivirals for flu, including oseltamivir (generic or Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab), and zanamivir (Relenza). Antiviral drugs can lessen your symptoms and shorten sick time by 1 or 2 days, according to the CDC. These are prescription medicines in various forms, such as pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an IV solution. Ask your doctor if they are right for you. They may also have side effects. Tamiflu may cause nausea and vomiting, and it may make headaches and psychiatric effects more likely. And in a recent study, it didn’t lessen complications. It's important to start the drugs early, as studies show they work best when started within 2 days of getting sick. But your doctor may decide they can still be helpful if started later than that.

What Are Alternative Flu Treatments?

Elderberry has received a lot of buzz, but health experts say the jury is out. This natural remedy may help treat flu and cold symptoms by cutting congestion and perhaps by making you sweat more, experts at the University of Maryland say. In one study, an elderberry extract called Sambucol helped shorten how long the flu lasts by about 3 days. But the product also has other herbs, plus vitamin C, so it's unclear whether the elderberry alone helped. In another study, a lozenge with elderberry extract helped ease flu symptoms if taken within a day of when the symptoms started. And in the lab, some researchers found elderberry could kill the H1N1 flu virus -- but that was in test tubes, not people. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Although some preliminary research indicates that elderberry may relieve flu symptoms, the evidence is not strong enough to support its use for this purpose."

Aside from getting a Flu shot,  what more can I do help lower the chance of getting the of Flu?

Wash your hands, wash your hands and wash you hands some more. Everyday preventive actions are important. Avoid people who are ill, practice good hygiene, cover your cough with your arm, and clean off your mobile device. Stay at home if you are sick, and wash your hands again.








Does CBD Oil Have Real Benefits?

By most of you have heard or read about the benefits of CBD Oil. You drip a couple of drops from a dropper under your tongue every morning and you should begin to feel less soreness and inflammation. While many are still unconvinced about the accuracy of the some of the claims about the benefits of CBD Oil, the thought about the potential is quite compelling. After all, cannabis hasn't disappointed thus far. Imagine if CBD Oil could help treat and even cure some life's most debilitating and common ailments like cancer, inflammation, arthritis, pain, anxiety, allergies and seizures? Obviously more research needs to be done, but now that states like California, Colorado and Oregon have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana and cannabis, that should be coming soon.

Research has already begun on using CBD Oil to treat serious neurological diseases and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis and Stroke, which could lead to significant improvement of quality of life for million of people around the world. The idea is that receptors in the brain could benefit from the molecular make-up of CBD, and help slow or even reverse the effects of these terrible diseases. And research on the effect of CBD on cancer, the mother of all diseases, is being conducted by the National Cancer Institute, so this is no joke.

If you are one of those people who is willing to try it out, then you need to know the best ways to ingest the oil. Some drop it under their tongue from a dropper, and some (like me) put into their coffee. But depending on where you live, it might be hard to find. Because CBD Oil is not an intoxicant, it might be available at your local natural pharmacy. Or, if you live in California, Colorado or Oregon, you can buy it at your local dispensary. Either way, CBD Oil, like many other natural remedies, seems to be here to stay. Some of the reported side-effects of CBD Oil are dizziness and nausea.

For more information about the use and benefits of CBD, visit the FDA website.




Strange Health Facts -- Explained

Why are yawns contagious?
Human beings mirror the behaviors of people they care about, and yawning falls into this category, speculate researchers. In a recent University of Pisa study, researchers observed more than 100 men and women yawning in front of strangers, acquaintances, friends and family. The infectious influence of yawning was twice as likely among friends, and three times as likely for family members as it was for strangers and acquaintances.

Why do teeth shift as we age?
Teeth are held in an arch form between the tongue, and lips and cheeks. “Your tongue pushes outward on your teeth, causing spacing, while your lips and cheeks push inward, causing crowding,” says Dr. Andrew Trosien, a private-practice orthodontist in Tracy, Calif. Over time, these pressures can change, shifting the equilibrium, and your teeth can start to feel excessive pressure from either the tongue or lips.

Generally speaking, a little bit of crowding or spacing is not a concern. Sometimes though, tooth movement can be a sign of gum disease or other problems. In addition, if the teeth shift into a bad alignment, they can wear down, chip or cause other functional issues. Make sure to ask your dentist if you’re concerned, and most orthodontists will offer a free consultation.

Can achy joints really give the weather forecast?
“Yes. This is something I hear from my patients on a regular basis,” says Dr. David Borenstein, who’s treated arthritis patients for more than 35 years in Washington, D.C. When bad weather is coming, the barometric pressure drops in the atmosphere, and it causes a fluid shift in all human bodies. It’s slight, and most of us don’t notice a change, says Borenstein, but in patients with joint injuries, damage or arthritis, the fluid can’t move through these joints as effortlessly, resulting in feelings of stiffness and pain.

Why do women have colder feet and hands than men? 
“Women conserve more heat around their core organs than men do, which means less heat makes it to a woman’s extremities,” says Borenstein. Since women are biologically geared to carry babies, it’s vital that their bodies keep their vital organs warm. So blood flow in women is designed to support the central part of the body, compared to the arms and legs.

Slim-Down Summer Foods

Summer is a great time to diet, because when the mercury rises, your appetite tends to crash. (And of course, seeing yourself in a swimsuit can be all the motivation you need!) Still, at this time of year ice cream cones call your name and BBQs beckon; overdo it with either of these -- or other seasonal treats -- and you’ll enter fall a little, um, fuller-figured. The good news? Plenty of the foods that are prevalent this time of year tantalize your taste buds, offer important nutrients, and help you shed pounds. Here, seven to keep you slim and satisfied.

Slim-down summer food: Watermelon. “Not only is watermelon sweet and refreshing, but it's also low in calories at only 45 per cup of diced melon,” says nutritionist Elizabeth Fassberg, president and founder of EAT FOOD, a food and nutrition consultancy. Because it's mostly water, this juicy summer treat is also very filling. An added bonus? It's a good source of vitamins C and A, lycopene, and the water it contains is hydrating -- something that’s important on sweltering days.

Slim-down summer food: Gazpacho. This tomato-based, vegetable soup is served cold so it’s very refreshing. “Because it’s chock full of vegetables, gazpacho is filling but not high in calories,” says Fassberg. “It’s also full of flavor -- especially when the tomatoes are local and tasting sweet as sugar.” On top of this, it’s packed with different vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Slim-down summer food: Summer lettuce. “When it’s fresh from the farmer's market it has so much flavor that you'll want to make salads instead of rich, heavy foods,” says Fassberg. “Also, lettuce has almost no calories because of its high water content and depending on the type you choose, can contain vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and fiber to help fill you up!” Just watch the dressings since that's where the majority of calories come from. Steer clear of those that are cream-based.

Slim-down summer food: Whole grains like bulgur, barley, quinoa or millet used in cold salads. “Whole grains have more fiber and more nutrients than plain grains like pasta and white rice,” says Fassberg. “Because they're rich in fiber, you'll only need a small portion to feel satisfied.” They also have a lot more flavor than their less healthy counterparts. Enjoy them mixed with roasted beets and a bit of goat cheese or on top of your favorite green salad.

Slim-down summer food: Homemade herbal iced tea. “Our bodies give us the same cue for hunger that they do for thirst,” explains Fassberg. In other words, often when you think you’re hungry, you may just be dehydrated and need a good, long drink. Having a jug of iced tea all chilled in the fridge and ready to grab can help stave off the urge to devour the calorie-heavy snacks in the pantry. Simply steep your favorite flavor herbal tea bags in hot water, let this cool at room temperature, and then pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge.

Slim-down summer food: Fish on the grill. Summertime is synonymous with grilling time. And it’s a good thing because this form of outdoor cooking can be a low-calorie way of making delicious meals. “There’s lots of flavor without needing to add too much fat which means the foods you grill typically have fewer calories,” says Fassberg. Fish is an ideal BBQ choice because it’s lean protein, doesn’t have a ton of calories and is very satisfying.

Slim-down summer food: Corn on the cob. This sweet, seasonal staple is ideal when you get it local from the farmer’s market. “It’s also very filling, because of the fiber, fun to eat and takes some time to eat,” says Fassberg. “Often, we eat so fast we don’t realize we are actually full before we stop eating. If we slow down, our bodies and brains have a chance to work together and we stop eating before we are overly full.”  Fresh corn on the cob also contains antioxidants, manganese, vitamin C, B3 and B5.