The ketogenic diet has gotten extremely popular in recent years. Because it’s an extremely low-carb, but high-fat diet, it can be a be restrictive if you’re following the strict version of the keto diet. Most fruits, all root vegetables, gain products (rice, bread, pasta etc.), and legumes are prohibited because they can knock you out of ketosis.
Some versions of the keto diet require that you eat no more than 20 grams of net carbs a day. Which means that your body uses its fat stores and the dietary fibre you give it as energy. You may be questioning this; all our lives we’re taught that fat is bad for us. But there’s junk food and take out, and then there’s healthy fats. Healthy fats are full of amino acids, among other good things, that can seriously protect your body against diseases.
But what does all of this mean for your heart?
Understanding heart disease
The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease. This disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become hardened and narrowed because plaque has built up inside their walls. When plaque builds up in the arteries, less blood can flow through them. As a result, the heart cannot get the blood or the oxygen in that blood that it needs.
If left untreated, this can lead to a heart attack.
Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot (a build-up of blood that has changed from a liquid to a semi-solid state that is gel-like) suddenly cuts off the heart’s blood supply. These clots usually form around ruptured arterial plaque.
Diet and lifestyle play a huge role in preventing plaque build-up and heart disease.
How keto can help
The keto diet has a number of beneficial side effects that can assist with the reduction of the risk of heart disease. Below, we’ll go through each risk factor that can be a cause of heart disease, and how the keto diet can reduce that risk.
High blood pressure – The keto diet can decrease diastolic and systolic blood pressure because of its low-carb initiative.
Diabetes – The keto diet reduces blood sugar, as well as HbA1c (your average blood sugar levels), and even insulin levels.
Obesity – The keto diet has proven effective against weight gain and following the diet will quickly lead to weight loss that can be quite substantial.
Poor diet – The keto diet decreases the intake of processed foods and food that are high in carbs. It also reduces the amount of alcohol a person is likely to drink and increases their intake of leafy green vegetables. Blood lipids – Blood lipids are fat-like substances found in your body. They aren’t all bad, but abnormal blood lipids are another cause of heart disease. On a keto diet, you can increase your good cholesterol, while lowering the levels of the triglyceride in your body. You’ll have more stable cholesterol levels, overall.