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Archive for the ‘Health Awareness’ Category

Cleaning Up Your Kidneys – The Top Foods and Drinks that Can Help

March 25, 2015

More than 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) which makes this disease a serious issue. Kidney disease is linked to other major health issues such as heart and carotid artery disease. Carotid artery disease, when in advanced stages, can increase an individual’s risk of stroke.

So how do you take care of your kidneys? The same way you take care of your overall health – diet and lifestyle choices. Healthy behaviors such as exercise, drinking plenty of water, and a balanced diet with the recommended amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are good for your body, inside and out. For individuals with chronic kidney disease, there are plenty of foods out there that can help. If you don’t have chronic kidney disease, it is still important to protect your kidneys from disease. Check out these top drinks and foods to help you take care of your kidneys!


Top Drinks and Foods for Your Kidneys



 For obvious reasons, water is the best tool for balancing water balance in your body. No need to go overboard, but you should always aim for 6-8 glasses a day depending on your body weight. If you are more active, you will need additional water. Water helps flush out toxins that can lead to bacterial infection or kidney stones, along with harmful particles in the blood.

Cranberry Juice

Be careful with this choice, some juices contain little fruit content and are loaded with sugar, so be sure to pick 100% cranberry juice (organic and water based) is a great option for cleaning out your kidneys.


Eating cranberries can also protect your kidneys. Cranberries prevent the development and growth of ulcers and bacteria in your urinary tract, and can help manage current bacteria/ulcers because they make urine more acidic and help keep bacteria from attaching to the inside of the bladder. At the grocery store, add fresh cranberries to your cart over dried.


An apple a day really does help keep the doctor away! High in fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, apples help reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and decrease your risk of cancer.  These can be cooked or raw – it’s up to you!


If you have chronic kidney disease, you probably know that vitamin D is extremely important since it helps regulate kidney function, and mushrooms are an excellent source.


Oatmeal (not the sugary kind) can be a good source of iron and B6, both of which play in important role in preventing kidney stones. Be sure to read the ingredients and be sure that what you are purchasing includes whole oats and it’s not overly processed.


Kale is a good source of Vitamins A and C to prevent inflammation and protect the immune system. It’s also lower in potassium than other greens and contains a large amount of iron.


This vegetable brings lots of vitamin C to your plate, along with folate and fiber. In addition it contains compounds that help your liver neutralize toxic substances. Feel free to eat this veggie raw, add it to your salad, or substitute it for mashed potatoes.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other healthy options that will do your kidneys, and your body, plenty of good. If you do have chronic kidney disease there are a few nutrients you should watch carefully. Your kidneys regulate potassium, which is why it’s so important to monitor how much you are eating on a regular basis. Your kidneys also have a role in red blood cell production, meaning that if they aren’t functioning correctly your count may be low. Eating iron-rich foods can help prevent this and help keep up your energy level.


Importance of Kidney Disease Screenings

Kidney disease screening from Life Line Screening uses a simple finger-stick test to assess how well your kidneys are functioning. It uses an FDA-approved device adopted by more than 250 hospitals across the country.

Common risk factors for kidney disease include increased age, family history, race and ethnicity (African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk), diabetes, high blood pressure, hereditary factors and abnormally elevated creatinine levels or decreasing glomerular filtration rates (GFR).

If you have any of the above risk factors, or if you’re over the age of 60, you should seriously consider a kidney disease screening. Learn more now or contact us with any questions you might have.

Vitamin A Deficiency Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

March 18, 2015

Type 2 diabetes affects over 29 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, and it accounts for almost 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when any insulin that is produced, fails to work properly.

Although a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication are often used to treat type 2 diabetes, a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found a potential link between vitamin A deficiency and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A strengthens immunity against infections and aids in the growth of cells, along with helping maintain and improve vision. Vitamin A also boosts beta cell activity. Beta cells produce and secrete insulin, a hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. Research found, significant beta cell loss, resulted in the reduction of insulin production and increased blood glucose levels – key factors involved in development of type 2 diabetes. It is for this reason Dr. Lorraine Gudas, the primary author in the recent study, suggests a lack of the vitamin may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, make sure to eat foods high in vitamin A so you do not become vitamin A deficient!

Foods High in Vitamin A

Good sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs, yogurt, and liver. You can also make sure you have enough vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet. Add a few of these foods to your next grocery list:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Winter Squash
  • Swiss Chard


Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the goal is always prevention. With diabetes affecting more than 26 million Americans and quickly growing, it’s more important than ever to know your personal risk factors:

  • Family History
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asian Americans are at an increased risk)
  • Being Overweight
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal fasting glucose screening results

If you have any of these risk factors, or are above the age of 45, it is recommended that you have a blood glucose screening once every three years.

How to Get Foods with Omega-3s in Your Diet

March 16, 2015

The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend, “increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.” Why? What’s the benefit of eating more fish and other types of seafood?

The main reason is that fish and other seafood contain two omega-3 fats associated with a reduced risk for heart problems: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Science suggests that eating about 8 ounces of a variety of seafood each week—which provides a daily average of about 250 mg of DHA/EPA—may convey these heart-healthy benefits. Problem is, most of us aren’t getting the recommended amounts of these omega-3s.

Try the following ideas to help you get more:

Go for omega-3-rich fish. While all seafood contains some omega-3 fats, fatty cold-water fish have higher concentrations. Popular omega-3-rich picks include salmon and sardines (both provide more than 1,000 mg per 4-oz.serving) and tuna (about 250 mg per 4 oz. of light tuna).

Try some seaweed. Need a reason to eat sushi? Seaweed (nori) and kelp (wakame, kombu or dulse) are both algae, which provide some DHA/EPA.

Consider fortified foods. More and more food products fortified with DHA/EPA are finding their way to supermarket shelves. The following are foods that you might find fortified with DHA/EPA.

• Eggs: Eggs are fortified by adding flaxseed and/or algae supplements to hens’ feed. One large egg may contain up to 500 mg omega-3s (some of which is DHA/EPA).

• Milk: Some brands of milk add fish oil or algal oil to give a DHA/EPA boost (don’t worry, you can’t taste it!). 1 cup of this fortified milk delivers up to 50 mg of DHA/EPA.

• Peanut butter: As with milk, some brands are adding fish oil. A 2-tablespoon serving provides about 30 mg DHA/EPA.

If you don’t eat a lot of fish, taking an omega-3 supplement might be a smart choice. Talk with your doctor about whether supplementation might be right for you and, if so, what to look for on labels.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

What Does Belly Fat Say About Your Health?

March 10, 2015

Belly fat doesn’t just sit idly at your waistline. Researchers describe it as an active “organ” in your body – one that churns out hormones and inflammatory substances.

Abdominal fat is believed to break down into fatty acids, which flow directly into the liver and muscle. When these fatty acids drain into the liver, they trigger a chain reaction which increases the production of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides. When this happens, insulin can become less effective in controlling blood sugar, so insulin resistance can set it.

So Why Is Belly Fat Harmful to your Health? 

When blood sugars get out of balance, and fats and clots enter into the bloodstream it sets the stage for diabetes, heart disease and more research also shows that abdominal fat triggers changes in angiotensin, a hormone that controls the constriction of blood vessels, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. 

How do You Solve the Belly Fat Problem? 

While your genes can somewhat dictate your body shape, the story doesn’t end there. Most belly fat is related to lifestyle choices including physical inactivity and or poor nutrition.

Exercise is one contributor to losing belly fat. Walking, running and biking are a few activities that can help if done on a regular basis. Make a goal to exercise at least 30-60 minutes most days of the week.

While exercise is always important, the nutrition that you give your body plays an equal (and sometimes greater) role. Be sure to pay attention to your portion sizes, and make sure your meals include complex carbs ex. fruits, vegetables and whole grains. When you can, opt for lean proteins instead of some that are higher in fat. Stay away from white bead, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Also, be careful to watch where the fat in your food comes from, replacing saturated and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats may help rid some of your belly fat.

Here are some other simple tips to follow:

Avoid Processed Foods

Ingredients in packaged foods and snacks can be heavy in trans fats, added sugar, and sodium – which are three things that can make it difficult to lose weight.

Read Your Food Labels

Compare and contrast brands for the foods that you purchase. Ex. some yogurts advertise that they are low in fat, but they are higher in carbs and added sugars than others. Salad dressings can also contain high amounts fat and calories.

Work on an Eating Plan instead of a Diet

Pick habits and make a plan that works for you, and something that you can stick to. 

Look into Health Screenings 

If you have a significant amount of belly fat, it can be impacting your health negatively and putting you at risk for serious diseases.

Health Screenings for heart disease are extremely helpful when it comes to early detection. We believe that the power of prevention is essential to a long and healthy life. Here is a list of what our screening entails:

Life Line Screening utilizes state-of-the-art Doppler color flow ultrasound technology. You can count on this equipment for accurate, reliable images for:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Carotid artery disease screening
  • Ankle-brachial index screening (for peripheral arterial disease)
  • Bone mineral density screening (for osteoporosis risk)
  • Full Blood Panel to check for cholesterol and diabetes risk
  • Electrocardiograph (EKG) to detect irregular heartbeat

Do you know if you have risk factors for Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, or other health diseases that could be linked to belly fat?  Take our ONLINE HEALTH ASSESSMENT to find out if you have risk factors and what health screening could be right for you.

Why Drink Water? How Water and Health are Connected

March 5, 2015

Water accounts for 60 percent of our body—or about 11 gallons or 92 pounds inside a 155-pound person—and is essential to every cell. We use water to cool our body with sweat, to circulate oxygen and fuel to our organs and take away waste products via blood. But how does it impact your breath, muscles, skin—and brain function? Find out here.


Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation intact. When you’re well-hydrated, you can also think through a problem more easily. Researchers hypothesize that not having enough water could reduce oxygen flow to the brain or temporarily shrink neurons—or being thirsty could simply distract you.


Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste—and can even promote cavities.


Dehydration lowers your blood volume, so your heart must work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen to your cells, which makes everyday activities like walking up stairs—as well as exercise—more difficult.


Your body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface (this is why your face gets red during exercise), resulting in more blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. When you’re dehydrated, however, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter.


When you’re well hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints. Contrary to popular belief, muscle cramps do not appear to be related to dehydration, but, instead, to muscle fatigue, according to Sam Cheuvront, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist for the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.


When a person is severely dehydrated, skin is less elastic. This is different than dry skin, which is usually the result of soap, hot water and exposure to dry air. And, no, unfortunately, drinking lots of water won’t prevent wrinkles.


Your kidneys need water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in urine. Keeping hydrated may also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you are severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to build up in your body.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission


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