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Measuring Health w/ Smart Scales, Watch & Meters


Intro

So here it is! This post has been hours and hours in the making.

If you have ever wondered what the point of smart scales, a smart watch, or blood meters is, then this post is for you!

At first I was very skeptical, but my friend Tom’s own enthusiasm about measuring health rubbed off, so while teaching 10 weeks at Notts Uni this summer, I bought some smart scales (super scales I call them), and began the process of measuring health. I then moved on to blood meters (also known as monitors), and even bought a smart watch.

This detailed reference guide explains how to measure BMI, Body Water, Body Fat, Belly Fat, Muscle Mass, Bone Mass, LBM, BMR, Metabolic Age, Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, Steps, Sleep, Glucose, Ketones, GKI, Dr. Boz Ratio, Cholesterol, Hemoglobin, healthy diet and exercise.

But more importantly, it also explains the benefits of doing so.

My friend Sophie asked me about intuitive eating rather than measuring health, and I cover this in the conclusion at the bottom too! 🙂

You can jump through the sections by clicking ➡ top which goes back to the contents.

The light bub 💡 signifies a top tip or idea. For diet, start with Cholesterol, and for exercise, see Steps.

I hope this guide motivates you to learn more about health, and continue on a journey to improve wellness. ❤


CONTENTS


Smart Scales
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Water
Body Fat
Belly Fat
Muscle Mass
Bone Mass
Lean Body Mass (LBM)
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Metabolic Age

Smart Watch
Heart Rate
Blood Pressure
Steps
Sleep

Blood Meters / Monitors
Glucose
Ketones
Glucose Ketone Index (GKI)
Glucose Ketone (Dr. Boz) Ratio
Cholesterol
Hemoglobin

Let’s start with the scales:


SMART SCALES


This is what smart scales typically measure:

These are my readings from 15th July, 2019:

Now let’s explore what they mean and why they’re useful:

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Body Mass Index (BMI)


Knowing how much we weigh alone is not very useful. Body Mass Index (BMI) is an estimate of how healthy we are for our height, weight, age, gender, and activity level.

It can also be used to check if a baby is a healthy weight. We can easily check BMI by using an online calculator.

The resulting number gives us a gauge to be able to work from in order to optimise our weight:

• Less than 18.5 = underweight
• 18.5 to 24.9 = normal weight
• 25 to 29.9 = overweight
• 30 or higher = obese

My BMI is 20.6 which is in the middle of the normal range. Yeah!

Right, let’s see what’s next … 🙂

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Body Water


The next one I can track with these high-tec scales is Body Water.

A healthy body water percentage for women is between 45% and 60%, and for men between 50% and 65%.

Water retention is inflammation in the body (and brain) caused when excess fluids build up. This often occurs due to pregnancy, long periods of physical inactivity, a severe medical condition, and/or a diet too high in carbs (as water attaches to carbs).

Refined (processed) inflammation-causing carbs include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, desserts, sweets, sodas, and breakfast cereals (see Cholesterol).

Eating less salt, increasing magnesium, vitamin B6 and potassium-rich foods have all been shown to help, but nothing can beat moving around, and a period without carbs (going ketogenic) for reducing excess fluid retention (edema).

My reading is 62.9% so all good there.

scales5

💡 Note that this reading will change somewhat throughout the day depending on the amount of liquid (ideally water) we drink, and the amount of food we consume. 😎

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Body Fat


Smart scales use a technology called bioelectrical impedance analysis. Sensors under the feet send a small electrical current up the leg to measure impedance (resistance) from different tissue types in the body.

In the case of the body fat percentage, fat is a poor conductor of electricity, so the scales measure how much resistance the electrical current experiences. The higher the resistance, the higher the fat.

Again, we can use this percentage as a gauge to help us improve our lifestyle. If the fat is too high, for example, we should reduce fat consumption (eg. no cheese!).

• Essential fat = Women 10–13% – Men 3–5%
• Athletes = Women 14–20% – Men 6–13%
• Fitness = Women 21–24% – Men 14–17%
• Average = Women 25–31% – Men 18–24%

My Body Fat is 12.8% which is in the athletic range! 😮 😀

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Belly Fat


Subcutaneous fat is the fat you can pinch; it is is normally harmless and may even protect against some diseases.

Visceral fat is located deep in the core abdominal area; healthy amounts surround and even protect the vital organs. Too much visceral fat, however, puts pressure on the vital organs and is associated with numerous serious diseases.

Thus, a healthy level of visceral fat directly reduces the risk of those diseases (eg. heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes).

💡 So while subcutaneous fat loss might be the goal for people who want to lose weight and look good, losing visceral fat is what improves health.

This is important because as we get older, the distribution of fat changes and is more likely to shift to the abdominal (visceral) area, so monitoring belly fat gives us an even more accurate gauge of our current health than body fat alone.

As we saw above, BMI is an easy online calculation to see if we are overweight, so knowing our visceral fat measurement is just an extra reading to help us track the effectiveness of lifestyle changes to improve our fat health.

I have low visceral fat. My reading is 3, and a healthy level of visceral fat is considered between 1 and 12.

scales8

Now to check the muscle situation. 🙂

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Muscle Mass


While teaching in Nottingham, my friend Tom and I both decided to build muscle.

Smart scales are a great way to measure progress, though correct diet (see Cholesterol) and correct exercise (see Steps) is what will make muscle building effective.

Total muscle mass is calculated as total body weight minus total fat and bone mass.

When people talk about gaining muscle though, what they’re really talking about is gaining or building their Skeletal Muscle Mass.

This is because, from the three major muscle types (cardiac, smooth and skeletal), only skeletal muscle mass can actively grow and develop via exercise and nutrition.

I can’t find any ranges online for total muscle mass or skeletal muscle mass but my scales told me my total muscle mass was 64.08kg and my skeletal muscle mass was 56.2%.

If the goal is to build muscle, tracking muscle mass weight and skeletal muscle percentage is a motivating way to gauge progress.

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Bone Mass


Although bones may seem like hard and lifeless structure, bones are living tissue acting as a storehouse for minerals, especially calcium.

When old bone breaks down faster than new bone is made, net bone loss occurs. Bone loss can lead to low bone density (osteopenia), joint problems, bone fractures, and eventually osteoporosis.

My Bone Mass is 3.37kg of my total body weight. The important thing here is to keep track of bone mass – and even try to increase it (see Steps).

Bones respond to exercise and a healthy diet by becoming stronger. Also, bones are made up of collagen fiber and drinking ground (hydrolyzed) collagen powder (like this, this or this) or bone broth daily has a variety of benefits.

Scientific studies show that re-introducing about 10-20 grams of extra collagen daily (for months) reduces wrinkles and dryness of the skin, strengthens the arteries of the heart, relieves joint pain, inhibits bone breakdown, and even stimulates muscle growth after exercise (’cause muscle also contains collagen).

Collagen typically comes from the bones of cows, pigs and chickens, so it is not an option for vegetarians; but there is collagen powder from fish or krill (marine collagen) for those pesky tarians; I mean pescatarians. 😀

💡 Note studies show results only when collagen is administered for several months (up to 12) daily.

Growing up as a child, I played by walking around on my knees holding my feet, and no one thought to tell me that that could lead to dodgy knees 😮 (it does!).

I take collagen daily, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement. 😎

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Lean Body Mass (LBM)


Lean Body Mass (LBM) is calculated as a person’s weight (muscle and bones) minus fat. My super scales call this Fat-free Body Weight, which is a much clearer description.

My LBM is 67.42kg; this reading allows us to see to what extent muscle and bone density is increasing, and this is especially useful when compared with Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

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Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)


Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy (calories) we require each day to keep our body and brain functioning without partaking in any physical activity (ie. from a resting state).

Interestingly, BMR accounts for 60-75% of energy consumption. 10% is used processing food, and the rest (not much!) is used during physical activity.

We can then calculate the amount of energy (how many calories) we need based on our level of exercise, using a calculator like this or this.

According to my super scales, an average person with my build needs to burn 1704kcal a day if they do nothing but lounge around and watch Netflix all day. 😀 Yet I burn 1826kcal a day doing nothing. 😮 How?

As my scales show, this is because my BMI is above average, and this is what we call ‘a fast metabolism.’

A fast metabolism is considered ‘lucky’ in the weight loss world because it means I can eat more than most without putting on weight.

But it also means my body’s internal engine is running harder than the average persons, so that means my body could conk out faster. 😮

Interestingly, this also means the ‘unlucky’ people out there who put on weight easily (below average BMR) have a nicely humming internal engine which will break down much later – as long as the body is kept healthy. 💡

This is all super relevant when we consider Lean Body Mass (LBM) above, since the greater our LBM, the greater our BMR will be, but also the stronger our internal engine.

In other words, people who increase muscle and/or bone density (see Steps) will increase their energy expenditure while doing nothing, helping them to keep weight under control.

But, by increasing LBM through a healthy lifestyle, we also strengthen the body; if we take the heart, for example; a healthy lifestyle strengthens the heart, lowering the maximum heart rate and helping it return to its (increasingly lower) resting state more quickly.

Finally, BMR decreases as we get older because bone mass declines but muscle mass also declines by 5-10% each decade after the age of 30. 😮

💡 Thus, LBM is the best way to ensure that BMR reflects a healthy functioning metabolism that promotes longevity.

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Metabolic Age


me with 2 students from last year I bumped into ♡

It is here that we can now use our Metabolic Age as a final indicator (and motivator).

By comparing my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) with the average BMR and looking at my personal body composition of muscle, bones and fat, my super scales calculate my metabolic age at 39.

scales14

If our metabolic age is lower than our actual age (I’m 41), it means our composition of muscle versus fat is good and we are in ‘the healthy zone.’ 🙂

However, as my scales kindly remind me: your “ideal physical body age is 2/3 of the actual age.” That means my goal is an age of 27. 😮

Is that possible? Yes!

By changing our lifestyle choices, such as what we eat (see Cholesterol) and how/how much we exercise (see Steps), we can lower our metabolic age. Check these folks out:

💡 The focus is to lose excess body fat while increasing muscle and bone mass.

Since I’m still going ketogenic, excess body fat is pretty much non existent; it is muscle and bone I need to focus on.

Get ready for Robust Robito! 😎 ⭐

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SMART WATCH


I decided to buy a smart watch too. I don’t use mine connected to a phone for messages and the like (don’t own a smart phone). However, I do have mine connected to a tablet for the health features it offers:

Mine measures Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, Steps and Sleep.

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Heart Rate


Our heart rate is the number of times our heart beats per minute (bpm), and it is very easy to measure with our own hands.

Simply press the first (index) finger and middle finger on the inside of the wrist, or to the side of the neck just under the jaw and beside the windpipe (don’t press with the thumb as it has its own pulse).

Then count the beats in one minute (or beats in 30 seconds x 2). An even more interesting way to measure the pulse is to listen to the heart itself with a stethoscope.

An average healthy heart rate is between 60 and 100 bpm while resting. However, the healthier we are, the lower the resting heart rate is. Athletes, for example, may have a resting heart rate of 40 bpm, or even lower.

I have a very low and healthy average heart rate.

It is important to remember what I mentioned in the Basal Metabolic Rate section; namely, exercise strengthens the heart, lowering the maximum heart rate and helping it return to its (increasingly lower) resting state more quickly.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that the harder we pump the heart, the faster in can conk out.

Our maximum heart rate depends on our age. It’s a simple calculation: 220 minus our age. As I am 41 years old, my maximum recommended heart rate is: 220 – 41 = 179 bpm.

The best way to strengthen the heart without running it on maximum is to do short interval training, which is also one the most effective ways to strengthen bones (see Bone Mass) and muscle mass (see Steps) too.

I do this interval strength training every other day, but in the video, the woman says the purpose is to complete the reps in the shortest time. That keeps the heart rate at maximum (in my case 183 bpm), so I changed the routine.

Instead, I recommend doing the sets of reps, but not rushing onto the next exercise; instead wait for the heart rate to slow before starting again. As we become stronger, we can increase the reps; we can still rest in between.

💡 This strengthens the heart and builds muscle, but allows us to focus on form and effectiveness without the unnecessary pressure on ourselves and our heart that can cause potential mistakes and harm.

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Blood Pressure


Every time our heart beats, it pumps blood to the rest of our body through our arteries. Some pressure is required to keep blood moving, but if the pressure is consistently too high, it puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels.

The brain and kidneys are also affected by high blood pressure. As a result, high blood pressure (hypertension) causes heart disease, strokes and kidney disease over time.

Systolic blood pressure is when the heart muscle contracts and pumps blood out through the arteries. Diastolic blood pressure is when the heart relaxes between beats and fills with blood.

A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic). High blood pressure is generally considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.

Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60 and 120/80 mmHg. Above or below this, and blood pressure is getting high or low.

My watch gives me a blood pressure reading of anything from 112/56 to 120/61, BUT my smart watch cannot give me an accurate reading until I complete a blood pressure calibration, and for that I need a blood pressure cuff (or a visit to a doctor).

We do not need to track blood pressure often, but it is nice to be able to check in, and over time we want to see the reading improve.

Since high cholesterol can increase blood pressure, and a healthy diet reduces cholesterol, diet is once again shown to be vital when lowering blood pressure (see Cholesterol).

Reducing excess fat, and strengthening our internal engine with exercise (see Heart Rate and Steps) are the other essential lifestyle choices.

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Steps


With the explosion in popularity of smart watches, it has become almost common knowledge that we should walk 10,000 steps a day.

The concept originated from a Japanese pedometer company in the 1960s based on the fact that a pound (0.45 kg) of fat contains around 3,500 calories.

Therefore, the idea is that individuals could lose a pound of fat a week by taking 10,000 steps a day because of the potential to burn 3,500 calories from walking.

There is no doubt that regular cardio activity, such as walking, offers a number of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Unfortunately, that 10,000/day = 3,500 calories/week calculation does not take factors into consideration such as each individual’s body type, weight, walking speed, or diet.

The latest research on 10,000 steps and sarcopenia, which is the age-related muscle wasting that begins to occur around the age of 30, shows that drastically reducing step count does cause muscle waste, but also steps alone are not enough:

In fact, the research shows that those who do aerobic (cardio) exercise alone (walking, swimming, etc) may even become predisposed to muscle wasting as they age.

It is essential then to also maintain muscle mass, and the most effective way to do that is resistance or strength training (see Heart Rate).

Dr. Brendan Egan recommends bodyweight exercise, which he found not only increases muscle mass by 3% after 3 workouts a week of only 30 mins a day for only 6-12 weeks, but also ensures we are strengthening the muscles required for activities of daily living.

As I explained in the Heart Rate section, I currently follow this video.

💡 It was in Notts that I began doing the bodyweight workout every other day, making sure that on the days I’m letting the muscles recover (rest days), I still go on that long walk.

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Sleep


As we sleep, we cycle from light sleep into deep sleep, and then back to a light dream sleep (REM), before returning back into deep sleep again.

A cycle typically lasts about 90 mins, increasing to an average of about 120 mins; the reading above shows how we cycle in and out of deep sleep; both REM (dream sleep) and non-REM (NREM) deep sleep is extremely important.

Studies suggest REM is the type of sleep most associated with the mental processing of learning, memory and emotion; NREM is where the most biological healing takes place.

If you don’t watch any other video in this post, I highly suggest you watch this extremely fascinating presentation:

During deep sleep, powerful brainwaves burst with electrical activity called sleep spindles, causing restorative genes to turn on that rebuild and repair.

The brain’s cells actually shrink, and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that fills the space around the brain makes its way into the brain to clean out the spaces between the brain’s cells:

Science is beginning to empirically show what people have been saying for thousands of years about sleep; namely it is a vital natural process that restores our body, cleans out our brain, and refreshes our mind.

Meanwhile, lack of sleep reduces testosterone, affecting male and female reproductive health, and when sleep is deliberately reduced to 4 hours, there is a 70% reduction in immune cell production. In fact, as Dr. Matt Walker explains in the talk above, “short sleep predicts all-cause mortality.”

So when should we go to sleep?

Amazingly, the pineal gland (yes, that third eye) is naturally “turned on” around 9pm (in adults) every evening, releasing the hormone melatonin, preparing us to go to sleep.

However, this timing is still very individual. In teenagers, for example, melatonin is not released until 11pm; interestingly, this means waking a teenager at 6am to get ready for school is like waking an adult at 4am. 😮

Thus, the latest science suggests that behaviour associated with being a teenager – moodiness, irritability, laziness and depression – is likely a direct result of chronic sleep deprivation.

The largest sleep study ever conducted analysed sleep patterns of 1.1 million people over 6 years and found people who sleep 6.5 hours a night live longer than those who sleep for 8 hours, or less that 5.

How is this possible if ‘the longer and deeper we sleep, the longer and healthier our life’?

Studies show when people follow their internal body clock without artificial light (which disrupts the sleep-wake cycle), we naturally sleep in two bursts of about 4 hours each, with a couple of hours of wakeful meditative awareness in between.

What these data show is that we require quality before quantity in terms of sleep, just as we do in terms of exercise.

In fact, we should think of sleep in the same way that we think of exercise; since, just as is true with effective workouts, sleep cycles need to be routine, regular, effective, short, repeated bursts, which strengthen us, as we strengthen them, by listening to our own body. 💡

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BLOOD METERS / MONITORS


Blood meters like the eBketone meter in the video above allow us to do diagnostic healthcare and monitor our own health at home.

The eBketone test strips are more expensive and several in the pack didn’t work. Then I found the On Call GK Dual and the EasyLife meters as a package on special offer, which is why I ended up with two reliable meters and a whole load of different test strips:

The On Call GK Dual tests Glucose and Ketones; together these readings can be used to calculate the Glucose Ketone Index (GKI) and Glucose Ketone (Dr. Boz) Ratio; the EasyLife tests Glucose, Cholesterol and Hemoglobin.

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Glucose


Glucose, or blood sugar, is essential fuel for powering our internal engine. It is the carbs in our veg and the sugar in our fruit that turns into glucose for fuel.

The problem is many of us consume too many carbs (think potatoes, rice, bread and pasta) and too much sugar (processed foods, cakes etc), and when there is way more glucose in the body than we can burn off, it stores in the body as fat. Water also attaches to carbs, so excess carbs in the body create excess water weight, or inflammation (see Body Water).

Finally, too much glucose messes with the hormone called insulin. A healthy body is insulin sensitive; when we eat carbs, insulin is released into the bloodstream telling cells to use up sugar for fuel.

However, cells stop responding to insulin (insulin resistance) when there are consistently too many carbs in the body; in response, the pancreas produces more insulin to lower these dangerous blood sugar levels; the result is too much insulin (hyperinsulinemia) and too much glucose (hyperglycemia) in the blood, which is the main cause of diabetes.

In the UK, a normal glucose count is considered between 4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L before meals (fasting) and up to 7.8 mmol/L for the next 2 hours after eating (multiply mmol/L by 18 for mg/dL).

Anything above this is considered pre-diabetic or diabetic, meaning the priority should be reducing glucose levels.

Reducing glucose levels is difficult because mainstream media is constantly bombarding us with the message to eat food which is bad for us. Even doctors tell diabetics to eat wholegrain bread and lots of fruit, but this makes no sense.

To reduce glucose levels, we just need to stop eating refined sugar foods and high carb foods (and fat too if overweight).

This means avoiding high-carb foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread, staying away from fruit (high in sugar), processed snacks like cake and biscuits, sugary drinks, and fat like cheese and butter.

Once our glucose levels are safe again, we can eat fruit, and once our weight is under control again, we can eat more fats. In other words, a healthy diet means eating meals consisting mainly of lots and lots and lots of vegetables (a plant-based diet); oh, and drinking water not soda (see Cholesterol).

Interestingly, even though I fuel my body on fat not sugar, I always have a glucose reading of between 4.7 and 5.2 mmol/L; this is because the body still needs some sugar to fuel specific functions in the body, and it takes this from the vegetables I eat.

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Ketones


Testing ketone levels is only important if going ketogenic (fasting or on a ketogenic diet). The most accurate method to test ketones is to use a ketone meter. Many monitors are dual glucose and ketone meters like this one.

I cannot emphasise how useful testing ketones is when beginning a ketogenic diet; it helps us relate how we are feeling with how much in ketosis we are.

Once we are in ketosis, we can also test our own glucose tolerance levels, as we add more carbs to our meals to see how much veg we can eat while still remaining in ketosis.

Using my ketone meter, and listening to my body, I can now eat loads of veg (more than the max 50g of carbs a day), strength train, and stay in a high keto range of just under 4.0 mmol/L, which is pretty amazing.

Keto ranges are:

• Light Ketosis = 0.5 – 1.0 mmol/L
• Moderate Ketosis = 1.0 – 2.0 mmol/L
• Optimal Ketone Zone = 1.0 – 3.0 mmol/L
• Optimal Therapeutic Zone = 3.0 – 5.0 mmol/L

💡 Note that ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis, which is when diabetics produce dangerously high levels of ketones (above 5.0) and is primarily a complication of type 1 diabetes.

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Glucose Ketone Index (GKI)


Whether on a fast or keto diet, the Glucose Ketone Index (GKI) gives an even more accurate gauge to measure ketosis by taking glucose into account, since higher levels of glucose reduce the beneficial effect of being in ketosis.

The GKI calculation is very easy. Simply take the glucose reading in mmol/L (divide an mg/dL reading by 18) and then divide by the ketone reading (always in mmol/L) to get the GKI number.

The GKI ranges are:

• >9 = not in ketosis
• 6-9 = for weight loss, focus, positive mood, energy
• 3-6 = for type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance
• 1-3 = for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

There are many more benefits of being in ketosis.

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Glucose Ketone (Dr. Boz) Ratio


The Glucose Ketone Ratio, also known as the Dr. Boz Ratio, is a version of the GKI that Dr. Annette Bosworth uses with her patients in the USA.

In the USA, glucose meter readings are in mg/dL (multiply mmol/L by 18 for mg/dL), so Dr. Bosworth’s ratio simplifies the GKI equation slightly for U.S. patients, since they only need to divide the glucose reading by the ketone reading.

The numbers are also stricter than the GKI.

For example, a glucose reading of 86 mg/dL (4.77 mmol/L) divided by a ketone reading of 2.0 (always in mmol/L) would give a GKI of 2.38 (high state of ketosis) but a Dr. Boz Ratio of 43 (moderate ketosis).

This ratio also focuses on achieving autophagy.

Autophagy, which literally means ‘to eat thyself,’ is when the body’s healthy cells eat the old, unhealthy and unwanted parts of themselves to repair and grow back new and strong.

By fueling our bodies from fat, we starve and kill cancer cells (since they feed on glucose), but by being in a state of autophagy, they will also be eaten by healthy cells. A double whammy for cancer!

Also, the process of cell cannibalisation breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells; this triggers stem-cell based regeneration; in other words, we can effectively regenerate our entire immune system. Learn more.

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Cholesterol


Harvard Uni Healthy Eating Plate

Cholesterol is a type of blood fat, and an essential component of every cell in our body, playing an essential role in the production of hormones, vitamin D and bile for digesting fats, and giving cell membranes strength and flexibility.

Our liver produces all the cholesterol that our body needs to function, but cholesterol can also be introduced through the consumption of animal products like meat, eggs, dairy and shellfish.

It has long been believed that high cholesterol is directly linked to coronary heart disease, and that saturated fat in particular raises cholesterol levels, clogging the arteries and increasing the risk of heart attacks.

However, studies find no link between saturated fat and risk of heart disease; instead, they are discovering that eating saturated fat seems to change the LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ particles from small to large, reducing risk of heart disease.

💡 Note that HDL and LDL, the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterols, are not actually cholesterol; they are proteins that carry the cholesterol (lipoproteins).

So what about me (eating high fat low carbs all day)?

The NHS (UK) recommends 5 mmol/L or less for healthy adults, and 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk of heart and circulatory diseases. The desirable (not high) range in the USA is less than 200 mg/dL.

My cholesterol is healthy and low at 3.4 mmol/L = 131.47718 mg/dL 😀

However, if we do discover that our cholesterol count is too high, then we need to request a medical test that measures the amounts of HDL and LDL in the blood (not total cholesterol alone).

High levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) is good, and low levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) is also good.

The problem comes if results show LDL is high; since standard tests only deduct HDL from total cholesterol, they do not show if the LDL in the blood consists of the dangerous small protein particles or healthy large protein particles.

Nevertheless, in order to reduce cholesterol, the science on what we should and should not be eating is clear.

Harvard Uni Healthy Eating Pyramid

It is in fact sucrose consumption (refined sugar), refined carbohydrates and adiposity (obesity), and the quality of the foods we consume, that is much more significant than saturated fat alone.

For example, healthy foods like oily fish, coconut oil, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil all contain saturated fat, but so do unhealthy foods like cakes, biscuits and pies.

Refined (processed) cholesterol increasing carbs, with no nutritional value by the way, include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, desserts, sweets, sodas, and breakfast cereals (see Body Water).

It is simple: we need daily exercise, healthy sleep, and nutrient rich non-processed ‘single ingredient’ foods like vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. We have simply been duped by mainstream marketing once again.

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Hemoglobin


Red blood cells contain a complex protein called hemoglobin (UK spelling: haemoglobin) which carries oxygen to the organs and tissues in the body, as well as transporting carbon dioxide from the organs and tissues to the lungs.

Therefore, a healthy amount of hemoglobin in the blood means oxygen is being delivered throughout the body and carbon dioxide is being removed.

Hemoglobin is measured as part of a complete blood count (CBC), aka red blood cell count (RBC), to diagnose a range of conditions; this is because hemoglobin (Hb) levels that are too low or too high can have serious consequences for one’s health.

There is no exact range of healthy Hb levels because it depends on gender, age, height, weight, etc, but a normal range of Hb in the blood for adults is considered as follows:

• For men, between 13.5 to 17.5 g/dL
• For women, between 12.0 to 15.5 g/dL

The reading may be slightly lower (at or above 11 g/dL) in younger persons and during pregnancy, and studies suggest a slightly lower than normal Hb level might be beneficial for non-pregnant adults too.

A low hemoglobin count means the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity is too low, and is diagnosed as anemia (UK spelling: anaemia); the most common causes for this are a shortage of iron or vitamins, such as vitamin B12, folate, or vitamin C, but anemia can be caused by chronic illnesses such as kidney or sickle cell disease.

A high hemoglobin count means the body requires an increased oxygen-carrying capacity; this is typically caused by smoking, dehydration, living at high altitudes, or a much more serious condition, such as congenital heart disease or severe lung issues.

Despite all my other readings showing superb results, my hemoglobin count came out high (17.5 g/dL), so I immediately tested it again (21 g/dL), and again (14.7 g/dL): each time getting very different results. 😮

And this is really the perfect place in which to sum up the whole process of measuring health and well-being (wellness). See the conclusion below. ⭐

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CONCLUSION


These self-diagnostic healthcare tools are excellent for tracking our health, and as motivators as we see the progress we are making over time, but they are not perfect, and only a guide.

If we have serious concerns about our health, we should always seek out expert medical advice and get ourselves properly checked out.

Finally, there is a reason that I used to throw up when I ate pasta or spaghetti as a child; just as there is a reason that the first beer or cigarette we ever try tastes vile.

We feel sick when we stuff ourselves with cake, we feel mentally rubbish when we don’t get enough sleep, we get back ache from sitting in a chair all day, and we feel amazing after exercise.

We should never underestimate the power of our own body and mind to let us know how healthy we are being. This is the real art of conscious, healthy living. 💡 ❤

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Teaching at Nottingham University, Summer 2019

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