Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Love Your Kidneys!

Keep Calm & Love Your Kidneys during National Kidney Month! <3

 

It is National Kidney Month, which means
that it is time for you to understand the
importance of managing kidney disease and
how to achieve optimal kidney health so
that you can appreciate these wonderful
organs and keep them healthy.
Diet & Kidney Disease
Managing kidney disease—especially at the
beginning—is essential. You want to ensure
proper nutrition while minimizing stress
and maximizing kidney function. There is
no one special diet for everyone, though.
Your diet depends on your medical history,
lifestyle habits, and current kidney function.
Your diet may change over time, depending
on your kidney health. There are some
nutrients that you need to watch out for,
including protein, energy foods, sodium,
potassium, phosphorus, and fluids.
Protein
Foods such as meat, fish, poultry, soy, beans,
and lentils, for example, are rich protein
sources. When protein is broken down,
it creates the waste product urea. Your
body needs to eliminate urea, which must
be filtered through your kidneys. If you
consume high amounts of protein, you
can increase stress on the kidneys due to
increased levels of urea produced. If the urea
fails to be eliminated, it will cause increased

blood-urea levels. High amounts of urea
can lead to fatigue, headaches, nausea, and
a bad taste in your mouth. However, if you
do not eat enough protein, your body will
have a tough time fighting infections, you
will have low energy levels, and you will
lose muscle mass. The amount of protein
that you need to consume depends on your
disease state and treatment regimen. Speak
to your dietitian to review your specific
needs.
Energy Foods
Your energy foods are all the foods that
provide you with energy or calories. These
include carb choices such as fruits, starches,
grains, sugars, and vegetables, as well as fats
and oils. If you are restricting your energy
intake from protein, you need to make sure
to replace those calories from other sources
in order to keep up your energy levels and
maintain a healthy body weight.
Sodium
Since sodium affects your bodily fluids and
blood pressure, it is important to limit your
intake. Watch your intake of high-sodium
foods, including processed foods, deli meats,
canned foods, convenient foods, fast foods,
salty snacks, and so forth. Consider using
other ways to enhance flavors, such as
lemon, spices, and herbs.

Potassium
Potassium is important for your muscles and nerves
to function. Too much or too little potassium in your
blood can affect your heart beat. Whether you need
to limit your intake or even increase your intake
depends on your disease state, kidney function, and
treatment plan. Treatments like dialysis will affect the
amount that you should be consuming, as will certain
medications. Your doctor will let you know, and your
dietitian can work with you to create an appropriate
meal plan. Foods that are high in potassium include
sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, oranges, tomatoes,
and beans.
Phosphorus
Phosphorus plays an important role in keeping your
bones healthy and strong. However, as your kidney
function declines, the phosphate levels in your blood
will increase. This can result in itchiness and joint
pain, as well as loss of calcium in your bones. You
may need to limit your intake of foods that are high
in phosphorus, such as dairy products and protein
foods.
Make sure to speak with a dietitian to help you
develop a meal plan that includes some of these
foods in levels that are right for you, as these foods
contain many important nutrients that you still need
to consume. Also, make sure to read ingredient labels
for hidden sources of phosphorus. Some processed
foods such as deli meats and sodas may contain
phosphates, phosphoric acid, or sodium phosphate

Calcium & Vitamin D
These supplements are essential for good bone
health. Your bones are comprised mostly of calcium,
and you need vitamin D to help absorb it. However,
with diminished kidney function, your kidneys may
not be able to convert vitamin D into its active form.
Therefore, your doctor may recommend that you take
some active vitamin-D and calcium supplements.
Your doctor will be monitoring your blood-calcium
levels, though, so make sure to take these only as
prescribed.
Fluids
Your body needs fluids to survive, but if your kidneys
are not working properly, you may need to reduce
your intake. As your kidney function declines,
they produce less urine, leading to increased fluid
retention. This can cause swelling in your extremities
and face and may also increase your blood pressure
and cause difficulty breathing. However, limit your
intake only as advised by your doctor. Getting too
little fluids can damage your kidneys.
Optimal nutrition is important to prevent
malnutrition, have good energy levels throughout
the day for performing daily tasks, maintain a healthy
weight, and prevent muscle loss, as well as preventing
infection. These are all great reasons to manage and
reduce your risks of kidney disease.
Other ways of reducing your risk of developing
kidney disease are by decreasing your risk of

developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart
disease. We discussed a bit about managing diabetes
during Diabetes Awareness Month in November and
touched on Heart Health last month. Now, we will
discuss why it is important to ensure optimal health
and properly manage your kidney disease.
Diabetes
One of the most common causes of end-stage renal
disease or kidney disease is uncontrolled diabetes.
Firstly, you should understand a bit more about
how your kidneys act as a filtration system. Your
body requires a certain amount of protein each
day. After consuming the protein, your body digests
it and absorbs the essential components into the
blood stream, while needing to eliminate the waste
products. The components of the broken-down
protein get filtered through tiny capillaries and then
through even tinier holes called “nephrons.” The
blood flows through all these tiny filters, but the
essential protein components, red blood cells, and
other important substances that are too big to be
able to pass through do not get eliminated, so they
get filtered out. The waste products are able to flow
through the nephrons and therefore enter the urine
to be eliminated.
Unfortunately, uncontrolled diabetes complicates
this process. Whether your insulin is not working
properly or you just don’t have enough, having high
blood sugar puts a lot of stress on your kidneys. When
sugar levels in your blood are abundant, your kidneys
have to filter a lot more blood, making the filters
work much harder. Eventually, the kidneys begin
to leak from all the pressure, resulting in protein
leaking through into the urine. As long as bloodsugar levels are high, further stress and damage on
your kidneys’ filtering system continues. This leads
to further damage, loss in filtration ability, buildup
of waste products, and eventually kidney failure.
Unfortunately, at this point, your only options are a
kidney transplant or dialysis.
High Blood Pressure
Kidneys are made up of many blood vessels that
get smaller and smaller as you get deeper into
their filtering system. Because kidneys have a very
important role in filtering all of the blood, they

receive a high volume of blood flow regularly. Blood
is rich in many essential nutrients, including oxygen.
Over time, many factors such as smoking, poor
diet, lack of physical activity, and age contribute to
narrowing and hardening of the arteries. The high
blood volume passing through the filtration system
in combination with high blood pressure puts a lot
of pressure on these arteries, further weakening
them. These damaged vessels reduce blood flow to
the kidney’s tissues. They also prevent flow to the
smallest vessels, the nephrons.
Reduced blood flow or elimination of blood flow
altogether means that the tissues are failing to receive
essential nutrients and oxygen, and they lose their
ability to properly function. Therefore, they are no
longer able to efficiently filter blood, fluids, and other
nutrients or regulate hormones—especially those
that are necessary for controlling blood pressure.
When the kidneys are so damaged that they are
no longer able to efficiently regulate blood pressure
in combination with chronic blood pressure, this
leads to dire consequences. Further damages can
occur, and more arteries become blocked, leading to
eventual kidney failure.
So, be aware of your kidneys and appreciate
all that they do for you. Take good care of them by
staying fit, eating well, and being healthy!

 
Why Should You Take Care of
Your Kidneys?
Kidneys are essential for your well-being. It is true
that you can survive with only one viable kidney,
but you want to do everything possible to keep
them both healthy and working. Your kidneys have
several important functions, but their main role is
to filter your blood and remove waste products and
excess fluid from your body and eliminate them
through your urine. While they are filtering out the
waste, they are also reabsorbing many important
nutrients so that your body can reuse them.
Still unconvinced of their importance? Your
kidneys are also responsible for eliminating excess
drugs from your body. They help balance your
body’s fluids by regulating the amount of sodium,
potassium phosphorus, and acid levels in the body.
They also control the production of red blood cells

and produce an active form of vitamin D that helps
control calcium metabolism and promotes strong and
healthy bones. More so, your kidneys release certain
hormones that are responsible for helping regulate
blood pressure.
Keeping your kidneys healthy is extremely
important. If you don’t, they will fail to perform all
the essential aforementioned roles, which will have
debilitating consequences. Unhealthy kidneys lead to
kidney disease and can also cause heart disease and
associated risks such as high blood pressure, stroke,
heart attacks, and death. Kidney disease can also
lead to weakened bones, osteoporosis, anemia, nerve
damage, and complete kidney failure.
Reduce Your Risk of Developing
Kidney Disease
Get Fit
Engage in regular physical activity. Aim for at least 30
minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity five
times a week (or any combination for a total of 150
minutes per week at least every other day in bouts of
at least 10 minutes). Also, include some stretching
and strength training at least three times per week.
A combination of both will improve your heart
health and blood flow and strengthen your bones and
muscles.
Control Your Weight
Maintain a healthy weight with a body-mass index
(BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.9. Monitor your weight
regularly (without obsessing). Don’t weigh yourself
more than once per week, but take note of any
drastic changes. If you notice your weight starting to
slowly creep upward, consider re-evaluating your diet
and physical-activity regime or speak to a registered
dietitian for tips to manage your weight.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Avoid any trendy fad diets, and stick to a regular,
consistent meal plan. Aim for three meals per day with
snacks in between. Avoid going longer than three or
four hours without eating anything. A balanced meal
should consist of half of your plate filled with at least
two different types of colorful vegetables. A quarter
of your plate should be a lean protein choice, such as
fish or chicken, and a quarter of your plate should be
a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa.

Healthy snacks include a carbohydrate or a
vegetable and a protein. Snack ideas such as celery
and a tablespoon of peanut butter or a medium-sized
apple with a small handful of nuts are good options.
Drink in Moderation
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one glass a
day for women and maximum of two glasses per day
for men.
Don’t Smoke
This should go without saying.
Stay Hydrated
Drink six to eight glasses of water per day. Water is
calorie-free and is your best option. Avoid high-sugar
beverages, as they only add unnecessary calories and
often replace nutrient-dense choices.
Monitor Your Meds
Take all of your medications as prescribed by
your doctor. Also, be cautious when taking some
over-the-counter medications such as aspirin,
naxoproxin, and ibuprofen, which may cause harm
to your kidneys. Always check with your family
doctor.
Stay on Top of Your Health
Know your family history, as this is a good indicator
of any increased risk. Make sure to visit your
family physician annually to keep your health in
check. Your physical should include regular blood
tests to monitor your cholesterol levels and check
your creatinine levels and glomerular-filtration
rate (GFR) for evaluating your kidney function.
You should also check your blood-pressure levels.
Ideally, your blood pressure should be 120/80;
however, as you get older (as long as you don’t have
a history of kidney disease), your blood pressure
should be below 140/90.
As you can see, whether you’re reducing your
risk of developing kidney disease or trying to
manage it, it is vital to make healthy lifestyle
choices.

Dr. Victor Marchione

 

Remember, We Are In This Together!

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-
Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Foods, Uncategorized

Frozen Chocolate Bananas!

Frozen Chocolate Bananas!

The flavors in this simple dessert remind me of classic beach fare – frozen bananas on a stick coated with chocolate. This is a healthier version that you can whip up in no time. It contains no added sugar or dairy and is very versatile. Improvise by adding different flavors like organic peppermint oil or almond extract. Make this a few hours before you plan to serve – it’s best when just frozen. Any leftovers will keep for a couple of weeks in the freezer.
Bananas are rich in potassium – one banana contains 450 mg, one-fifth of the adult daily requirement – and offer a fair share of magnesium (33 mg), too.

Ingredients

4 very ripe bananas
2 tablespoons pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Instructions

1. Peel the bananas and place in a blender or food processor along with the cocoa powder.

2. Add the vanilla extract and the maple syrup.

3. Blend till very smooth. Pour into individual custard cups or small bowls and freeze until just frozen.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Foods

Lemon Balm

lemonbalm

Lemons are a powerful healing fruit that contain phenomenal antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-cancer properties. Lemons are rich in vitamins C and B-complex and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, silicon, copper, and potassium. They are considered to be a wonderful tonic and can help to cleanse and detoxify the entire body. Although lemons have an acidic taste they actually have a very strong alkaline reaction on the body and can help to alkalize blood, cells, lymph, organs, and tissues. Lemons are known to help destroy putrefactive bacteria in the mouth and intestines which can help alleviate flatulence, indigestion, and constipation. Lemons contain a compound called limonene which is used to dissolve gallstones and kidney stones and can help to fight oral, lung, skin, breast, stomach, and colon cancer. Lemons are also rich in bioflavonoids which can significantly boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Lemon juice is known to be particularly beneficial for colds, coughs, sore throats, hiccups, ear infections, fevers, arthritis, heart disease, COPD, atherosclerosis, diabetes, high cholesterol, autoimmune disorders, stroke, and cancer. Topically, lemon juice is a great remedy for wrinkles, warts, toothaches, corns, sunburns, poison ivy, acne, psoriasis, and as a hair rinse and facial astringent. A tall glass of lemon water upon waking is an excellent way to hydrate and cleanse the body first thing in the morning. Fresh lemon in tea and green juice and added to salads, wraps, hummus, guacamole, and nori rolls is another great way to add this healing and nutritious fruit into your diet. Fresh lemons can be found at your local grocery and health food store.

Diets and Weight Loss

Nuts and Seeds for a Healthy Weight

nutsandseeds

Nuts and Seeds for a Healthy Weight and a Long Life

 

Nuts and seeds are healthful, natural foods that are full of beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals. Although the myth that nuts and seeds are fattening has persisted, the research suggests that nuts are actually beneficial for weight loss. In any case, it’s not the fat content of a diet that makes it healthy, it’s the nutrient content. And based on their nutrient content, nuts are a health-promoting source of calories.

Nuts and seeds are nutritionally important. Nuts and seeds contain a spectrum of micronutrients including LDL cholesterol-lowering phytosterols; circulation-promoting arginine; minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium; and antioxidants, including flavonoids, resveratrol, tocopherols (vitamin E), and carotenoids.

Eating nuts and seeds reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease Epidemiological studies have consistently shown that nut consumption is beneficial for heart health. Eating five or more servings of nuts per week is estimated to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 35%.1 Eating nuts and seeds protects against sudden cardiac death and reduces cholesterol and inflammation.1-3

Nuts and seeds aid weight loss. Someone who is trying to lose weight should not be trying to avoid nuts; in fact, in obese individuals, adding nuts to the diet aided in weight loss and also improved insulin sensitivity, which could help to prevent or reverse diabetes.4 Nonetheless, nuts should not be eaten to excess. Nuts and seeds are high in nutrients but also high in calories, so they should be eaten with consideration for one’s caloric needs. One ounce daily is usually appropriate for women trying to lose weight and 1.5 – 2 ounces for overweight men. Nuts and seeds of course should be eaten in larger amounts for the slim, highly physically active people who could use the extra calories.

Nut consumption may enhance lifespan. In the Adventist Health Study, a number of lifestyle factors were found to be associated with longevity. Those who had a high level of physical activity, followed a vegetarian diet, and ate nuts frequently lived on average 8 years longer than those who did not share those habits.5 Similarly in the Nurses’ Health Study, nut consumption was identified as a dietary factor associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancers.6 New research continues to confirm these observations.7

Each nut and seed has a unique nutritional profile that lends unique health benefits:

  • Almonds are rich in antioxidants. In one study, people ate either almonds or a snack with a similar fat profile each day for 4 weeks, and the subjects who ate almonds showed reduced oxidative stress markers.8
  • Walnuts. Diabetics who ate walnuts daily for 8 weeks experienced an enhanced ability of the blood vessels to dilate, indicating better blood pressure regulation.9 There is also evidence that walnuts may protect against breast cancer.10
  • Pistachios and Mediterranean pine nuts have the highest plant sterol content of all the nuts; plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol, and help to lower cholesterol levels.11 Pistachios reduce inflammation and oxidative stress as well as cholesterol.12-14
  • Mediterranean pine nuts contain a specific type of fatty acid that has been shown to curb appetite by increasing hormones that produce satiety signals.15
  • Flax, hemp, and chia seeds are extremely rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and hemp seeds are especially high in protein, making them a helpful food for athletes.
  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, calcium, and phytochemicals, and may help to prevent prostate cancer.16
  • Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E and contain a lignan called sesamin; lignan-rich foods may protect against breast cancer.17-19

Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw. Nuts and seeds should be eaten raw or only lightly toasted. Roasting nuts and seeds forms a potentially harmful compound called acrylamide, and reduces the amounts of minerals and amino acids.

Also remember that eating nuts and seeds with leafy greens can enhance the body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from the greens, so a nut-based salad dressing is an excellent way to absorb more nutrients from your salads.20

References:

  1. Kris-Etherton PM, Hu FB, Ros E, et al: The role of tree nuts and peanuts in the prevention of coronary heart disease: multiple potential mechanisms. J Nutr 2008;138:1746S-1751S. 2. Salas-Salvado J, Casas-Agustench P, Murphy MM, et al: The effect of nuts on inflammation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17 Suppl 1:333-336. 3. Ros E: Nuts and novel biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1649S-1656S. 4. Rajaram S, Sabate J: Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance. Br J Nutr 2006;96 Suppl 2:S79-86. 5. Fraser GE, Shavlik DJ: Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice? Arch Intern Med 2001;161:1645-1652. 6. Baer HJ, Glynn RJ, Hu FB, et al: Risk factors for mortality in the nurses’ health study: a competing risks analysis. Am J Epidemiol 2011;173:319-329. 7. Guasch-Ferre M, Bullo M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, et al: Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Med 2013;11:164. 8. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al: Almonds reduce biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in older hyperlipidemic subjects. J Nutr 2008;138:908-913. 9. Ma Y, Njike VY, Millet J, et al: Effects of walnut consumption on endothelial function in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Diabetes Care 2010;33:227-232. 10.  Eurekalert! Walnuts slow prostate tumors in mice: UC Davis research shows walnuts affect genes related to tumor growth March 22, 2010 edition; 2010. 11. Ellegard LH, Andersson SW, Normen AL, et al: Dietary plant sterols and cholesterol metabolism. Nutr Rev 2007;65:39-45. 12. Kay CD, Gebauer SK, West SG, et al: Pistachios increase serum antioxidants and lower serum oxidized-LDL in hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr 2010;140:1093-1098. 13. Kocyigit A, Koylu AA, Keles H: Effects of pistachio nuts consumption on plasma lipid profile and oxidative status in healthy volunteers. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD 2006;16:202-209. 14. Sari I, Baltaci Y, Bagci C, et al: Effect of pistachio diet on lipid parameters, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative status: a prospective study. Nutrition 2010;26:399-404. 15. Pasman WJ, Heimerikx J, Rubingh CM, et al: The effect of Korean pine nut oil on in vitro CCK release, on appetite sensations and on gut hormones in post-menopausal overweight women. Lipids in Health and Disease 2008;7:10. 16. Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S: Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Pract 2009;3:323-327. 17. Thompson LU, Chen JM, Li T, et al: Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2005;11:3828-3835. 18. Buck K, Vrieling A, Zaineddin AK, et al: Serum enterolactone and prognosis of postmenopausal breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:3730-3738. 19. Higdon J: Lignans. In An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals. New York: Thieme; 2006: 155-161 20. Brown MJ, Ferruzzi MG, Nguyen ML, et al: Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:396-403.