Get rid of keto flu
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How to get rid of the keto flu

The keto flu can make you feel miserable.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce its flu-like symptoms and help your body get through the transition period more easily.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is necessary for optimal health and can also help reduce symptoms.

A keto diet can cause you to rapidly shed water stores, increasing the risk of dehydration (5).

This is because glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates, binds to water in the body. When dietary carbohydrates are reduced, glycogen levels plummet and water is excreted from the body (6).

Staying hydrated can help with symptoms like fatigue and muscle cramping (7).

Replacing fluids is especially important when you are experiencing keto-flu-associated diarrhea, which can cause additional fluid loss (8).

Avoid strenuous exercise

While exercise is important for staying healthy and keeping body weight in check, strenuous exercise should be avoided when experiencing keto-flu symptoms.

Fatigue, muscle cramps and stomach discomfort are common in the first week of following a ketogenic diet, so it may be a good idea to give your body a rest.

Activities like intense biking, running, weight lifting and strenuous workouts may have to be put on the back burner while your system adapts to new fuel sources.

While these types of exercise should be avoided if you are experiencing the keto flu, light activities like walking, yoga or leisurely biking may improve symptoms.

Replace electrolytes

Replacing dietary electrolytes may help reduce keto-flu symptoms.

When following a ketogenic diet, levels of insulin, an important hormone that helps the body absorb glucose from the bloodstream, decrease.

When insulin levels decrease, the kidneys release excess sodium from the body (9).

What’s more, the keto diet restricts many foods that are high in potassium, including fruits, beans and starchy vegetables.

Getting adequate amounts of these important nutrients is an excellent way to power through the adaptation period of the diet.

Salting food to taste and including potassium-rich, keto-friendly foods like green leafy vegetables and avocados are an excellent way to ensure you are maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes.

These foods are also high in magnesium, which may help reduce muscle cramps, sleep issues and headaches (10).

Get adequate sleep

Fatigue and irritability are common complaints of people who are adapting to a ketogenic diet.

Lack of sleep causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to rise in the body, which can negatively impact mood and make keto-flu symptoms worse (11).

If you are having a difficult time falling or staying asleep, try one of the following tips:

  • Reduce caffeine intakeCaffeine is a stimulant that may negatively impact sleep. If you drink caffeinated beverages, only do so in the morning so your sleep is not affected (13).
  • Cut out ambient light: Shut off cell phones, computers and televisions in the bedroom to create a dark environment and promote restful sleep (14).
  • Take a bath: Adding Epsom salt or lavender essential oil to your bath is a relaxing way to wind down and get ready for sleep (15).
  • Get up early: Waking at the same time every day and avoiding oversleeping may help normalize your sleep patterns and improve sleep quality over time (16).

Make sure you are eating enough fat (and carbs)

Transitioning to a very low-carb diet can cause you to crave foods that are restricted on the ketogenic diet, such as cookies, bread, pasta and bagels.

However, eating enough fat, the primary fuel source on the ketogenic diet, will help reduce cravings and keep you feeling satisfied.

In fact, research shows that low-carb diets help reduce cravings for sweets and high-carb foods (17).

Those having a difficult time adapting to the ketogenic diet may have to eliminate carbohydrates gradually, rather than all at once.

Slowly cutting back on carbs, while increasing fat and protein in your diet, may help make the transition smoother and decrease keto-flu symptoms.

SUMMARY

You can combat the keto flu by staying hydrated, replacing electrolytes, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding strenuous activities, eating enough fat and cutting out carbs slowly over time.

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