Smorgasbord Health Column – Organs of the body – The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones by Sally Cronin


Organs of the body – The Kidneys – Function – Disease – Kidney Stones

The kidneys are major organs that can have a dramatic effect on our overall health. As they are linked closely, I am also going to take a closer look at urinary tract health for both men and women in upcoming posts.

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is a major health problem for both men and women. Kidney and urinary tract diseases together affect hundreds of thousands of people a year. Some may be affected by minor infections while others may suffer kidney failure.

Not only are your kidneys affected if they are infected or damaged. Kidney disease can cause a host of other systemic problems such as high blood pressure, anaemia and unhealthy cholesterol levels. One of the most common problems is kidney stones, which are incredibly painful and usually result in a hospital stay.

Today the prospect is far brighter than it would have been, say, 40 years ago. We now have dialysis and kidney transplants for patients whose disease has progressed too far for dietary or medicinal support. However there is a waiting list, despite the fact that this is one of the rare organs that can come from a live donor. Although there are some congenital or hereditary kidney problems that are beyond our control, many can be prevented by following a healthy diet – and it is never too late to change.

Why are our kidneys so important?

The kidneys are the ‘Ringmasters’ of the body. They keep a varied number of crucial elements in balance. When the kidneys do not function, several other major organs will be compromised.

The kidneys operate like a chemical filter which blood passes through in order to remove waste products and any excess amounts of minerals, sugars and other chemicals. About a quarter of the blood pumped by the heart passes through the kidneys so it is important to note that they play a part in controlling blood pressure.

The balance of minerals and water in the blood is carefully managed and either discarded or saved to maintain blood pressure in the correct range. For example; the balance of salt, potassium and acid is a critical function of the organs.

In addition to this vital role, kidneys also perform other crucial functions. They produce a hormone (erythropoietin) or EPO that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are absolutely crucial to our survival and anything that compromises their healthy production is dangerous. Other hormones that the kidneys produce help regulate our blood pressure and the metabolism of calcium (I will cover this in the piece on kidney stones). They also make hormones that control the growth of tissue within the body.

When kidneys are damaged and unable to get rid of the waste, this builds up resulting in swelling and a condition called Uraemia (an overdose of toxins) can develop, which if undiagnosed and untreated can lead to kidney failure. The difficulty is that other kidney functions, like regulating urine flow, can be unaffected – which means diagnosis is not easy.

Where are the kidneys in our body and how do they work?

Kidney - macroscopic blood vesselsEach kidney is bean-shaped and about the size of an adult’s fist. The kidneys are located below the ribs and toward the back.

They contain nearly 40 miles of tubes, most of them tiny; processing some 100 gallons of blood each day. The kidneys filter and clean the blood, and they produce urine from excess water and dissolved solids.

The ureters carry waste, as urine, from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder, located in the lower abdomen, is a balloon-like organ that stores urine. A bladder can hold over a pint of urine. During urination, the urethra carries urine from the bottom of the bladder out of the body.

An important thing to remember about the bladder is that it is very elastic. It is not a good idea to go all day without emptying it as it will stretch and sag around the entrance to the urethra. This causes urine to collect and is a breeding ground for bacteria and also an ideal environment for stones to collect. If the problem is not rectified it may result in having to use catheters to empty the bladder, which is both inconvenient and can lead to further infections.

Are there different types of kidney disease?

Kidney diseases, which usually involves both kidneys, fall into three main categories. Hereditary, congenital or acquired.

  • Inherited kidney disorders usually begin producing symptoms during the teen to adult years, and are often serious.
  • Congenital kidney diseases typically involve a malformation of the genitourinary tract that can lead to blockages, which, in turn, can cause infection and/or destruction of kidney tissue. Tissue destruction may then lead to chronic kidney failure.
  • Acquired kidney disorders have numerous causes, including blockages, drugs, and toxins. However, diabetes and high blood pressure are by far the most common culprits.

As I am covering urinary tract and cystitis in a separate article we will concentrate on kidney stones, as they are one of the more common problems we might encounter, particularly as we get older.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are varied in shape and size and form when certain chemicals in the urine crystallise and stick together. Some can grow to the size of a golf ball and others remain absolutely minute and pass through the urinary tract quite easily.

If the stones get too large to pass through, they block the opening to the urinary tract or else they try to pass through and cause intense irritation in the lining of the tract.

Some people never even know that they have kidney stones when the stones are very small, but usually there are some very obvious symptoms.

Who is likely to get kidney stones?

Anyone can get kidney stones, but some people are more likely to develop them than others. Typically, a person with a kidney stone is a man 20 to 60 years old. Although 4 out of 5 sufferers are men, women can also develop the condition.

Often, there is a family history of the condition. Chronic dehydration (lack of body water) can lead to kidney stones. Very hot weather, heavy sweating, or too little fluid intake contributes to the formation of stones. For example, people who work outdoors in hot weather and who do not drink sufficient fluids are in a higher risk category.

There is evidence to suggest that a diet very high in animal proteins and fat can contribute to the formation of stones and kidney problems in general, which is why the Atkins diet or other diets that promote high protein intake is not healthy, in my opinion, for long periods of time if done at all.

People who lead particularly sedentary lifestyles may be more prone to getting stones than someone more active.

Are there different types of kidney stones?

Calcium Oxylate dihydrate Kidney Stone -2There are two main types of stone, Oxalate and Uric Acid. Calcium oxalate and phosphate stones are made up of a hard crystal compound. These stones have become more common in recent years with about 70% to 80% of all kidney stones currently made up of calcium oxalate and phosphate. The problem is too much calcium in the urine. This can be caused by diet, a metabolic disorder that causes build up, or taking certain drugs such as diuretics, antacids and steroids.

There is also a substance called purine that is in meat, fish and poultry – I have covered purine before in reference to arthritis. But it really should only be a concern if you are eating very large amounts of food containing it.

Uric Acid stones are rarer and are caused when the body breaks down certain foods – especially in a diet very high in animal protein – and produces too much uric acid. Gout sufferers – again covered in relation to arthritis – are more prone to getting this type of stone. These are a common problem with animals; particular dogs that have a high protein diet and are prone to kidney disease and stones.

What would someone notice if they have this problem?

Kidney stones - locationWith the larger stones that are trying to force themselves through very narrow openings there is severe pain with nausea, and vomiting; burning and a frequent urge to urinate; fever, chills, and weakness; cloudy or very strong smelling urine; blood in the urine; and a blocked flow of urine. Serious infections can result from a blockage.

It is very important that if you start to suffer any of these problems even in a minor way such as a pain across your lower back then you must go and see your doctor immediately.

Take a look at the samples of kidney stones of various types, (shown left) and you can see why they are painful to pass.

What sort of treatment will a doctor or hospital provide?

That will vary according to the severity of the problem but usually a patient will have an ultrasound to identify where the stones are and how large they are. Luckily, most are small enough to pass through the urinary tract on their own and so lots of water is drunk to flush out the system. Sometimes medication will be prescribed, especially if there is an infection, which is not uncommon. Obviously pain killers too. They commonly use shock waves (sound waves) to break up the larger stones these days. All of this in non-invasive, which is great -as surgery can be avoided.

The most important thing you can do to prevent stones forming again is to change your lifestyle and of course take a very long, hard, look at your diet.

Coming up in the next posts on the Kidneys – Urinary tract infections – one on Cystitis and then a healthy eating approach to avoiding kidney stones and these very painful conditions.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998-2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.

You can find the Health Column posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Kidney and Urinary Tract healthy Eating Programme


Smorgasbord Health 2017

To finish off the posts from last week on the kidneys and urinary tract, here is an example of an eating plan that may help you recover from an infection or other health issue effecting this system.  I find useful as part of my two gentle detoxes each year to follow a similar eating plan and it gives the whole body a boost but specifically major organs such as the liver, who work tirelessly to keep us healthy without a break.

If you have read the posts on the kidneys & urinary tract, you will be aware of the physical precautions that you can take to avoid infection and now we need to look at some of the foods that you can eat daily to help protect you from both these conditions.

First and foremost you need to ensure that you are taking in sufficient fluids. These are essential for flushing the toxins through the system such as bacteria and ensuring that chemicals do not crystallise and form kidney stones.

It is very important that you drink little and often throughout the day to ensure a steady flow of fluids and little stress on the organs that have to deal with it. The recommendation for kidney stone sufferers is actually more than my recommended 2 litres, nearer three.

There are certain foods that will help prevent bacterial growth and reduce the risk of stones but there are also foods that you need to avoid if you are prone to both these conditions.

Research has shown that a diet that is very high in animal protein and fat can cause a chemical imbalance that can encourage the formation of stones. Include  lean proteins such as turkey and fish in moderate quantities. Also, sugar, coffee and alcohol in excess all damage the kidneys so these should be in moderation.

A glass of wine per evening is always better than bingeing once a week.

Drinking Green Tea would be better for you than drinking lots of coffee. The antioxidants in the tea will also help with damage to both kidneys and the rest of the urinary tract.

Cranberry juice has been shown to contain properties that inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the soft tissues inside the urinary tract as do blueberries that can be added to a fruit salad.

A deficiency in potassium can lead to kidney problems. Potassium helps maintain the body’s correct water balance. Eating bananas and spinach, avocado, dried apricots, potatoes, pumpkinseeds and lots of fruit will boost your levels.

I have covered calcium in previous posts, and how it can be a very volatile mineral if it is not counterbalanced with another like magnesium. So it is important to take calcium in moderation combined with high magnesium foods like whole grains such as brown rice and spinach and salmon, seeds etc from the superfood list.

Check to see if the tap water in your area is particularly high in calcium. If your kettle is furring up then the chances are that it is.

There is some argument that you should take foods out of the diet if they have a high oxalic content. This is found for example in spinach. However, if you have a balanced healthy diet that is packed with a wide variety of natural vegetables and fruit you should find that, like your other major organs, the kidney’s health would be either protected or improved following an episode of kidney stones.

It is really important that you do not eat industrially processed foods during the weeks that you are following his programme. Apart from plain cereals such as porridge oats and you can just about get away with shredded wheat. Check labels for added sugar.

vegetablesExample of an eating plan for healthy kidneys & urinary tract

Breakfast

  • Glass of water or cup of hot water with the juice of half a lemon.
  • Drink at least 6 throughout the day if you are drinking cranberry juice and green tea as well.
  • 8 oz. glass of cranberry juice
  • Shredded wheat or porridge oats sprinkled with blueberries.
  • Slice of wholegrain toast with butter and local organic honey or savoury with pureed tomatoes.
  • Cup of Green tea.

Morning snack

  • Cup of black or green tea.
  • 2 rye crispbread with mashed banana or sliced cucumber
  • Glass of water

Lunch

  • Brown rice risotto with chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, peppers and olive oil.
  • Spinach and tomato salad.
  • Green Tea

Afternoon snack

  • Mix of pumpkin-seeds and dried apricots.
  • Glass of water

Dinner

  • Glass of cranberry juice for another 12 hour protection.
  • Avocado and orange salad.
  • Salmon or turkey fillet – grilled.
  • New potatoes
  • Broccoli and carrots.
  • Glass of wine
  • Glass of water

Snack

  • Fresh fruit salad made from favourite fruits and sprinkle of blueberries and chopped banana.
  • or
  • Handful of walnuts or pumpkin-seeds.
  • Cup of green tea.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You can find all the Top to Toe posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

As always I am delighted to receive your feedback and if you have any questions that you would prefer to keep private you can always email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Thanks for dropping by please feel free to share.. Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – The Kidneys Function and Kidney Stones


Smorgasbord Health 2017

The kidneys are one of the major organs that can have a dramatic effect on our overall health. As they are linked closely, I am also going to take a closer look at urinary tract health for both men and women, as this has a direct impact on our kidney health and function.

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is a major health problem for both men and women. Kidney and urinary tract diseases together affect hundreds of thousands of people a year. Some may be affected by minor infections while others may suffer kidney failure.

Not only are your kidneys affected if they are infected or damaged. Kidney disease can cause a host of other systemic problems such as high blood pressure, anaemia and unhealthy cholesterol levels. One of the most common problems is kidney stones, which are incredibly painful and usually result in a hospital stay.

Today the prospect is far brighter than it would have been, say, 40 years ago. We now have dialysis and kidney transplants for patients whose disease has progressed too far for dietary or medicinal support. However there is a waiting list, despite the fact that this is one of the rare organs that can come from a live donor. Although there are some congenital or hereditary kidney problems that are beyond our control, many can be prevented by following a healthy diet – and it is never too late to change.

Why are our kidneys so important?

The kidneys are the ‘Ringmasters’ of the body. They keep a varied number of crucial elements in balance. When the kidneys do not function, several other major organs will be compromised.

The kidneys operate like a chemical filter which blood passes through in order to remove waste products and any excess amounts of minerals, sugars and other chemicals. About a quarter of the blood pumped by the heart passes through the kidneys so it is important to note that they play a part in controlling blood pressure.

The balance of minerals and water in the blood is carefully managed and either discarded or saved to maintain blood pressure in the correct range. For example; the balance of salt, potassium and acid is a critical function of the organs.

In addition to this vital role, kidneys also perform other crucial functions. They produce a hormone (erythropoietin) or EPO that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are absolutely crucial to our survival and anything that compromises their healthy production is dangerous. Other hormones that the kidneys produce help regulate our blood pressure and the metabolism of calcium (I will cover this in the piece on kidney stones). They also make hormones that control the growth of tissue within the body.

When kidneys are damaged and unable to get rid of the waste, this builds up resulting in swelling and a condition called Uraemia (an overdose of toxins) can develop, which if undiagnosed and untreated can lead to kidney failure. The difficulty is that other kidney functions, like regulating urine flow, can be unaffected – which means diagnosis is not easy.

Where are the kidneys in our body and how do they work?

Kidney - macroscopic blood vesselsEach kidney is bean-shaped and about the size of an adult’s fist. The kidneys are located below the ribs and toward the back.

They contain nearly 40 miles of tubes, most of them tiny; processing some 100 gallons of blood each day. The kidneys filter and clean the blood, and they produce urine from excess water and dissolved solids.

The ureters carry waste, as urine, from the kidneys to the bladder. The bladder, located in the lower abdomen, is a balloon-like organ that stores urine. A bladder can hold over a pint of urine. During urination, the urethra carries urine from the bottom of the bladder out of the body.

An important thing to remember about the bladder is that it is very elastic. It is not a good idea to go all day without emptying it as it will stretch and sag around the entrance to the urethra. This causes urine to collect and is a breeding ground for bacteria and also an ideal environment for stones to collect. If the problem is not rectified it may result in having to use catheters to empty the bladder, which is both inconvenient and can lead to further infections.

Are there different types of kidney disease?

Kidney diseases, which usually involves both kidneys, fall into three main categories. Hereditary, congenital or acquired.

  • Inherited kidney disorders usually begin producing symptoms during the teen to adult years, and are often serious.
  • Congenital kidney diseases typically involve a malformation of the genitourinary tract that can lead to blockages, which, in turn, can cause infection and/or destruction of kidney tissue. Tissue destruction may then lead to chronic kidney failure.
  • Acquired kidney disorders have numerous causes, including blockages, drugs, and toxins. However, diabetes and high blood pressure are by far the most common culprits.

As I am covering urinary tract and cystitis in a separate article we will concentrate on kidney stones, as they are one of the more common problems we might encounter, particularly as we get older.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are varied in shape and size and form when certain chemicals in the urine crystallise and stick together. Some can grow to the size of a golf ball and others remain absolutely minute and pass through the urinary tract quite easily.

If the stones get too large to pass through, they block the opening to the urinary tract or else they try to pass through and cause intense irritation in the lining of the tract.

Some people never even know that they have kidney stones when the stones are very small, but usually there are some very obvious symptoms.

Who is likely to get kidney stones?

Anyone can get kidney stones, but some people are more likely to develop them than others. Typically, a person with a kidney stone is a man 20 to 60 years old. Although 4 out of 5 sufferers are men, women can also develop the condition.

Often, there is a family history of the condition. Chronic dehydration (lack of body water) can lead to kidney stones. Very hot weather, heavy sweating, or too little fluid intake contributes to the formation of stones. For example, people who work outdoors in hot weather and who do not drink sufficient fluids are in a higher risk category.

There is evidence to suggest that a diet very high in animal proteins and fat can contribute to the formation of stones and kidney problems in general, which is why the Atkins diet or other diets that promote high protein intake is not healthy, in my opinion, for long periods of time if done at all.

People who lead particularly sedentary lifestyles may be more prone to getting stones than someone more active.

Are there different types of kidney stones?

Calcium Oxylate dihydrate Kidney Stone -2

There are two main types of stone, Oxalate and Uric Acid. Calcium oxalate and phosphate stones are made up of a hard crystal compound. These stones have become more common in recent years with about 70% to 80% of all kidney stones currently made up of calcium oxalate and phosphate. The problem is too much calcium in the urine. This can be caused by diet, a metabolic disorder that causes build up, or taking certain drugs such as diuretics, antacids and steroids.

There is also a substance called purine that is in meat, fish and poultry – I have covered purine before in reference to arthritis. But it really should only be a concern if you are eating very large amounts of food containing it.

Uric Acid stones are rarer and are caused when the body breaks down certain foods – especially in a diet very high in animal protein – and produces too much uric acid. Gout sufferers – again covered in relation to arthritis – are more prone to getting this type of stone. These are a common problem with animals; particular dogs that have a high protein diet and are prone to kidney disease and stones.

What would someone notice if they have this problem?

Kidney stones - locationWith the larger stones that are trying to force themselves through very narrow openings there is severe pain with nausea, and vomiting; burning and a frequent urge to urinate; fever, chills, and weakness; cloudy or very strong smelling urine; blood in the urine; and a blocked flow of urine. Serious infections can result from a blockage.

It is very important that if you start to suffer any of these problems even in a minor way such as a pain across your lower back then you must go and see your doctor immediately.

Take a look at the samples of kidney stones of various types, (shown left) and you can see why they are painful to pass.

What sort of treatment will a doctor or hospital provide?

That will vary according to the severity of the problem but usually a patient will have an ultrasound to identify where the stones are and how large they are. Luckily, most are small enough to pass through the urinary tract on their own and so lots of water is drunk to flush out the system. Sometimes medication will be prescribed, especially if there is an infection, which is not uncommon. Obviously pain killers too. They commonly use shock waves (sound waves) to break up the larger stones these days. All of this in non-invasive, which is great -as surgery can be avoided.

The most important thing you can do to prevent stones forming again is to change your lifestyle and of course take a very long, hard, look at your diet.

Coming up later in the week a post on Urinary tract infections – one on Cystitis and then a healthy eating approach to avoiding kidney stones and these very painful conditions.

©Justfoodfor health 1998 – 2017

For the other posts in the series Top to Toe please refer to this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

I am always grateful for your feedback and please feel free to pass the post on to those who might be interested. thanks Sally

Medicine Woman’s Larder – Aubergines -Don’t forget to eat your purples!


Medicine Womans larder

There are certain foods that on my shopping list regularly as daily or weekly additions to our diet and others that we might have a little less often.. One of these is aubergines which I love but only eat occasionally as I have a tendency towards gallstones. If you do not suffer from either gallstones or kidney stones then you can enjoy a couple of times a week at least.

We were all encouraged to eat our ‘greens’ when we were children, and we know that the brighter the food colour the more anti-oxidants they contain, but I cannot recollect being told to eat my ‘purples’. But it is this colour which gives this food its uniqueness.

When we are enjoying a moussaka or ratatouille made with this versatile food we don’t tend to dwell on its medicinal properties, but like the majority of fresh produce we eat, aubergines have some powerful health benefits.

The History of the aubergine.

The aubergine has its origins in ancient India and is mentioned by different names in Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindustani languages.  It was grown in China as well but only came to Europe around 1,500 years ago.  There is no Latin or Greek name for it but there are Arabic and North African names indicating that it came to this continent via that trade route.

Americans call it the eggplant, and in India it is known as Brinjal.  In Spain, aubergines are called berengenas or ‘apples of love’ for supposed aphrodisiac properties. Something that I take on faith!  In northern Europe they had a strange notion that eating the vegetable caused fevers and epileptic seizures and named it Mala Insana or ‘mad apple’. It is also known as melanzana, garden egg and patlican in other languages.

The aubergine belongs to the nightshade family that includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.  It grows from a vine and will vary in size and colour although the flesh of all the different types tends to be slightly bitter and spongy in texture.

When you are selecting the aubergine go for the smaller, smooth skinned vegetable.  Gently push with your thumb and if the flesh gives slightly but springs back it is ripe.  If the indentation remains it is overripe and will be soggy inside.  If you knock on the fruit and it sounds hollow it will be too dry and inedible.

What are the medicinal properties of the aubergine.

As with all plants, the aubergine has a sophisticated defence system to ensure its survival.  When we eat it, we inherit some of these properties and our bodies process and use specific nutrients to benefit our own health. The aubergine has an abundance of nutrients including antioxidants, phenolic compounds including chlorogenic acid and flavonoids such as nasunin.

Nasunin is a potent antioxidant in the skin of the aubergine and has been studied for its ability to prevent free radical damage to cell membranes.  Lipids or fats are the main component of cell membranes and not only protect the cell from damage but also regulate the passage of nutrients and waste in and out of the cell.  The research is focusing on brain cell health and eating aubergines regularly may help protect us from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Nasunin may also help prevent oxidative damage to the LDL or the unhealthier cholesterol in our blood that leads to plaque in the bloodstream and blockages in the arteries.

Nasunin also assists with the regulation of iron in the body.  Iron is an essential nutrient required for the transportation of oxygen in the blood and our immune function. However, too much iron can increase free radical damage and is linked to heart disease, cancer and degenerative joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  Nasunin is an iron chelator, which means that it binds with the iron processed from the food we eat and transports it safely in the blood stream preventing excess iron from causing damage to cells.

What are the benefits of Chlorogenic Acid.

Chlorogenic acid is a phenolic compound and one of the most potent free radical scavengers in plant tissues. It is very abundant in aubergines and very effective against free radical damage to LDL cholesterol. Additionally it may help prevent certain cancers and viral infections.  Like Brussel sprouts some varieties of aubergine can be very bitter and it is thought that this is due to very high levels of Chlorogenic acid, which is also responsible for the rapid browning of the flesh when it has been cut.

Other good reasons to include aubergines in your diet on a regular basis.

The aubergine is a good source of dietary fibre, which not only helps prevent constipation but also helps eliminate waste from the body and prevent the build-up of plaque in the bloodstream leading to arterial disease.  Recent research is identifying some very interesting properties in certain fibres including the ability to absorb and eliminate harmful bacteria from the body without the need for antibiotics.  Fibre in the diet has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and also regulate blood sugar levels

By eating aubergines regularly you will also be including healthy amounts of potassium, manganese, copper, vitamins B1, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, magnesium and tryptophan.  It is what I call a well-rounded food.

Are there any drawbacks to eating aubergines?

The majority of us can enjoy aubergines on a regular basis in our diet and obtain its full health benefits, but as I mentioned earlier, a small proportion of people should avoid eating it.

The aubergine contains relatively high concentrations of oxalates, which are found in all plants and humans. If oxalates are too concentrated they crystallise and form stones in the kidneys and the gallbladder.  If you already suffer from kidney or gallbladder problems then it would be best to avoid aubergines.  This also applies to rheumatoid arthritis and gout sufferers, as this vegetable is part of the nightshade family and could increase the symptoms of these diseases.  This applies to tomatoes as well.  I have found that cooked tomatoes cause me less problems and they are too nutritionally rich to avoid completely.  I suggest you try eating cooked tomatoes twice a week, three days apart and monitor your symptoms.

You will find many great recipes online for the preparation of aubergines and if you have one that you particular enjoy then please let us all know.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 2007

Next time Onions and Garlic

Author Mary Smith – http://www.marysmith.co.uk/ posted this in the comments but thought it should have a spot here with the aubergine info…..thanks Mary.

I love aubergines. Here’s one of my favourite ways of eating them. It’s a recipe from Afghanistan where they are called Banjan-sia.

Banjan-sia Borani
Ingredients:
4 Aubergines/Eggplants – the nice, long purple ones
Oil (I use sunflower)
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp paprika
4 tomatoes, sliced
1 onion finely chopped
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup thick yogurt
1 cup sour cream

Method:
Slice the eggplants lengthwise into thick slices. Fry in the oil until golden and still slightly firm in the middle. Drain on kitchen paper. Fry the onions with one of the minced cloves of garlic until soft then add the sliced tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are soft. Add a cup of water; bring to the boil then leave to simmer until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the eggplant into the sauce to warm through. Mix the yoghurt and sour cream together with the minced garlic, 1 tsp salt and dried mint. Put half the yoghurt sauce on a serving platter, top with the eggplant and tomato sauce the pour the rest of the yoghurt sauce on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve with fresh nan bread. Enjoy!

Sounds delicious.

 

Health Bite of the Day – Example eating plan for healthy urinary tract and kidneys.


For those of you who are eating the basic healthy eating plan outlined in previous blogs – mostly natural and unprocessed, then you are on the right track. But if you are prone to urinary tract infections or kidney stones, then as well as taking the physical precautions that I outlined in the last two blogs, you should take a look at your diet.

There are certain foods that can be helpful as well as monitoring your fluid levels carefully.

Here is an example of an eating programme that may help prevent both damage to kidneys by stones and infection from bacteria in the rest of the urinary tract.

First and foremost you need to ensure that you are taking in essential fluids. These are necessary to flush the toxins through the system such as bacteria and ensuring that chemicals do not crystallise and form kidney stones.

It is very important that you drink little and often throughout the day to ensure a steady flow of fluids and little stress on the organs that have to deal with it. The recommendation for kidney stone sufferers is actually more than my recommended 2 litres, nearer three.

There are certain foods that will help prevent bacterial growth and reduce the risk of stones but there are also foods that you need to avoid if you are prone to both these conditions. Research has shown that a diet that is very high in animal protein and fat can cause a chemical imbalance that can encourage the formation of stones. Also, sugar, coffee and alcohol all damage the kidneys so these should be in moderation.

A glass or two of wine per evening is always better than bingeing once a week.

Drinking Green Tea would be better for you than drinking lots of coffee. The antioxidants in the tea will also help prevent damage to both kidneys and the rest of the urinary tract.

Cranberry juice has been shown to contain properties that inhibit the adhesion of bacteria to the soft tissues inside the urinary tract as do blueberries that can be added to a fruit salad.

A deficiency in potassium can lead to kidney problems. Potassium helps maintain the body’s correct water balance. Eating bananas and spinach, avocado, dried apricots, potatoes, pumpkinseeds and lots of fruit will boost your levels.

It is important to reduce the amount of salt in your diet as this increases both the chances of kidney damage and high blood pressure. Excess salt causes dehydration, which in turn can cause both kidney problems and stones.

I have written about calcium in previous blogs, and how it can be a very volatile mineral if it is not counterbalanced with another like magnesium. So it is important to take calcium in moderation combined with high magnesium foods like whole grains such as brown rice and spinach, salmon, seeds and nuts.

Check to see if the tap water in your area is particularly high in Calcium. If your kettle is furring up then the chances are that it is. I have also mentioned sodium levels in mineral water. Check to see if the water you are buying is high in calcium and choose one with less.

There is some argument that you should take foods out of the diet if they have a high oxalic content. This is found for example in spinach. However, if you have a balanced healthy diet that has moderate amounts of all all fresh foodsyou should find little problem with oxalic in them.

Example of an eating programme for healthy kidneys & urinary tract

Breakfast

  • Glass of water.
  • Drink at least 6 throughout the day if you are drinking cranberry juice and green tea as well.
  • 8 oz glass of cranberry juice
  • Shredded wheat sprinkled with blueberries.
  • Slice of wholegrain toast with butter and honey.
  • Cup of Green tea.

Morning snack

  • Cup of black or green tea.
  • 2 rye crispbread with mashed banana
  • Glass of water

Lunch

  • Brown rice risotto with chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic, peppers and olive oil.
  • Spinach and tomato salad.
  • Green Tea

Afternoon snack

  • Mix of pumpkin-seeds and dried apricots.
  • Glass of water

Dinner

  • Glass of cranberry juice to ensure 24 hour protection. (twice a day every 12 hours)
  • Avocado and orange salad.
  • Salmon or turkey fillet – grilled.
  • New potatoes
  • Broccoli and carrots.
  • Glass of wine

60 mins after dinner.

  • Glass of water

Snack

  • Fresh fruit salad made from favourite fruits and sprinkle of blueberries and chopped banana.
  • or
  • Handful of walnuts or pumpkin-seeds.
  • Cup of green tea.

 

This is only a example – if you need a brief breakdown of the various nutrients and the foods that contain them I will be putting up a directory as a separate page on the blog.

 

The directory is separated into two – Health and Non-Health and updated weekly – you can check the archives for any blogs that have been posted this week.

 

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions that you wish to ask privately you can contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

©Sally Cronin 2009 Just food for Health.

 

Health Bite of the Day – The Kidneys – Kidney Stones – described as the most excrutiating pain known to man!


Health Bite of the Day – The Kidneys – Kidney Stones – described as the most excrutiating pain known to man!.

via Health Bite of the Day – The Kidneys – Kidney Stones – described as the most excrutiating pain known to man!.

Health Bite of the Day – The Kidneys – Kidney Stones – described as the most excrutiating pain known to man!


What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are varied in shape and size and form when certain chemicals in the urine crystalise and stick together. Some can grow to the size of a golf ball and others remain absolutely minute and pass through the urinary tract quite easily.

If the stones get too large to pass through they block the opening to the urinary tract or else they try to pass through and cause intense irritation in the lining of the tract.

Some people never even know that they have kidney stones, when the stones are very small, but usually there are some very obvious symptoms.

Who is likely to get kidney stones?

Anyone can get kidney stones, but some people are more likely to develop them than others. Typically, a person with a kidney stone is a man 20 to 60 years old. Although 4 out of 5 sufferers are men, women can also develop the condition.

Often, there is a family history of the condition. Chronic dehydration (lack of body water) can lead to kidney stones. Very hot weather, heavy sweating, or too little fluid intake contributes to the formation of stones. For example, people who work outdoors in hot weather and who do not drink sufficient fluids are in a higher risk category.

There is evidence to suggest that a diet very high in animal proteins and fat can contribute to the formation of stones and kidney problems in general, which is why the Atkins diet is not healthy, in my opinion, for long periods of time, if done at all.

People who lead particularly sedentary lifestyles may be more prone to getting stones than someone more active.

Are there different types of kidney stones?

There are two main types of stone, Oxalate and Uric Acid. Calcium oxalate and phosphate stones are made up of a hard crystal compound. These stones have become more common in recent years with about 70% to 80% of all kidney stones currently made up of calcium oxalate and phosphate. The problem is too much calcium in the urine. This can be caused by diet, a metabolic disorder that causes build up, or taking certain drugs such as diuretics, antacids and steroids.

There is also a substance called Purine that is in meat, fish and poultry – I have mentioned Purine before in reference to arthritis. But it really should only be a concern if you are eating very large amounts of food containing it.

Uric Acid stones are rarer and are caused when the body breaks down certain foods – especially in a diet very high in animal protein – and produces too much uric acid. Gout sufferers – again covered in relation to arthritis – are more prone to getting this type of stone. These are also a common problem with animals; particular dogs that have a high protein diet and are prone to kidney disease and stones.

What would someone notice if they have this problem?

With the larger stones that are trying to force themselves through very narrow openings there is severe pain with nausea, and vomiting; burning and a frequent urge to urinate; fever, chills, and weakness; cloudy or very strong smelling urine; blood in the urine; and a blocked flow of urine. Serious infections can result from a blockage.

It is very important that if you start to suffer any of these problems even in a minor way such as a pain across your lower back then you must go and see your doctor immediately.

Take a look at a calcium oxalate dihydrate stone, and you can see why they are painful to pass!
Image

 What sort of treatment will a doctor or hospital provide?

That will vary according to the severity of the problem but usually a patient will have an ultrasound to identify where the stones are and how large they are. Luckily, most are small enough to pass through the urinary tract on their own and so lots of water is drunk to flush out the system. Sometimes medication will be prescribed, especially if there is an infection, which is not uncommon. Obviously pain killers too. They commonly use shock waves (sound waves) to break up the larger stones these days. All of this in non-invasive, which is great as surgery can be avoided.

The most important thing you can do to prevent stones forming again is to change your lifestyle and of course take a very long, hard, look at your diet.

There is a special “Healthy Eating Plan for the Kidneys” which will show you how to help prevent both kidney stones and urinary tract infections and I will post that after the next blog.

For the previous Kidney blog and a directory by subject here is the link.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/blog-directory-by-subject-updated-weekly/