What Does My Kidney Do?


Updated Aug 24 2012 – 3:40pm · Posted Aug 24 2012 – 3:36pm by Lizzie Fuhr · 0 Comments

Health Tips · Blood Pressure · Healthy Living

If you’ve got detoxification on your brain, it’s time to give a little more love to the kidneys. You probably already know that you have two of these vital organs, but do you know why they are essential to your health?

Think of your kidney as a filter. It helps eliminate waste and toxins from blood that our bodies can’t process otherwise; it’s the removal of this waste that produces urine. But there are lots of other ways the kidneys keep the body in check. They regulate blood pressure, create red blood cells (crucial for delivering oxygen to the body), and assist in keeping bones strong and healthy. Your kidneys do tons of work for you — filtering 200 quarts of blood every day! — so it’s only fair for you to do a little work to keep them healthy and strong.

Keep reading for three drinks that keep your kidneys healthy.

Hibiscus tea: High blood pressure can destroy the tubes that lead blood into the kidneys for filtration. Dr. Oz is a big fan of hibiscus tea for kidney health. He says that three cups a day has been shown to lower blood pressure, which helps your kidneys operate at their highest potential.

Water: Our bodies just don’t work at their peak performance without sufficient hydration, and our kidneys are no exception to the rule. They need loads of water to function and do their job to get rid of the waste we can’t otherwise digest.

Cranberry juice: Anyone who has ever dealt with a bladder infection knows about cranberry juice’s amazing antibacterial properties. Rich with vitamin C and acid, it also assists in stopping the formation of kidney stones.

via What Does My Kidney Do?.


Nutrition For Skin Collagen | LIVESTRONG.COM

Had a fun question about nutrition and skin collagen. While we haven’t learned about that yet in my classes, I thought this was an interesting article about it.

Nutrition For Skin Collagen | LIVESTRONG.COM

Photo Credit Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

Collagen is the elastic-like fibers that make up the dermis, the layer of skin underneath the topmost layer of skin. Certain factors, such as aging, smoking and lack of sleep, can cause the collagen to break down. This results in sagging skin and wrinkles. Fortunately, positive nutrition choices can help improve and rebuild collagen.


The Good Housekeeping website suggests eating more cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. These types of fish contain large amounts of protein, which makes up collagen. In addition, cold-water fish contain a fatty acid called omega-3. This fatty acid helps boost collagen production, helping it to stay plump and improving the texture of the skin. For maximum benefits, eat at least two servings of cold-water fish per week.

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Dr. Albert Kligman in the book “Prevention’s Healing with Vitamins” explains that alcoholic beverages can actually dehydrate the skin, damaging collagen and causing skin irritation, wrinkles and puffiness. Instead, concentrate on drinking at least four glasses of water every day. If you are exercising or sweating heavily, drink more water. Staying hydrated can replenish the skin’s moisture, helping collagen to sustain any damage caused by poor dietary choices or daily environmental exposure.


Add more soy to your diet. Soy can be found in a variety of products such as meat substitutes, cheese products, beverages, shakes, cereals and nutrition bars. Soy contains an isoflavone called genistein. Genistein can not only help boost collagen production, it can help block the enzymes that attack and break it down. In addition, soy products can help improve collagen that was damaged by aging or excessive sun exposure.


Vitamin-C rich foods, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, red bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, oranges and other citrus fruits, are essential to collagen. These types of foods can help rebuild and maintain collagen, helping to reduce signs of aging. Vitamin C is especially important if you smoke. This is because cigarette smoke tends to deplete the body of vitamin C, break down collagen and promoting wrinkles and other skin problems.

via Nutrition For Skin Collagen | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Free radicals and antioxidants – those terms everyone throws around…

So what are they?

Your body uses oxygen for numerous metabolic reactions, as well as part of your immune system. (Our bodies use them to attack bacteria and viruses. ) Sometimes when oxygen interacts with different compounds it can become a free radical.

A free radical is a molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons. So what? A molecule wants to have all of it’s orbitals filled – usually each atom in a molecule likes to have 8 electrons or it shares electrons with another atom in the molecule so it’s balanced. So if a molecule has only 7 electrons, it’s going to pull from somewhere else – from another molecule or atom that has a less strong hold on its electrons. Now the first one is stabilized, but the second one is out an electron or two and becomes a free radical. 

An antioxidant is a molecule that give up an electron but then reconfigures to a way that it’s still balanced and doesn’t become a free radical itself.

Free radicals attack fats in our cell membranes and damage our cell functioning. They can also alter DNA, RNA and proteins and increase inflammation. All of this has a big domino effect on the body.

Your body naturally defends against oxidants/free radicals by making enzymes out of the minerals selenium, copper, manganese and zinc. It also uses vitamins like E, beta-cartone and vitamin C. All of these are found in diets high in fruits and veggies.

8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t | SmashFit

8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

Wed, 08/01/2012 – 2:25am | by heather

They’re fast, convenient and you’ve been sold by their packaging that their product is somehow healthy. But tricky marketing and packaging may be keeping you stuck eating foods that seem healthful, but really aren’t. You can’t Undo Unhealthy by adding a few healthful ingredients when the sugar, fat and chemicals far out weigh what’s actually good for you.

8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

1. 100 Calorie pack.

Calories have little to do with health. 100 calories of processed chemicals still aren’t good for you.

2. Whole Wheat Bread.

Most of the time it’s just white bread with carmel coloring. Look for Whole GRAIN bread and even then, read the label carefully. Simply adding whole grain to processed bread does not bring health wh

3. Granola Bars.

Most are just processed grain with too much fat and sugar to be heathy.

4. Trail mix.

Although the ingredients might be healthy, nuts and dried fruit are high in fat, and sugar and it doesn’t take much to overdo it. A serving size is barely a handful and when you’re hungry, a handful generally wont’ cut it.

5. Packaged oatmeal.

The flavor packets are mashed and processed with added sugar and chemicals. You’re best to go with the old fashioned whole oats and add your own natural flavors like honey and fruit.

6. Foods that say they’re gluten-free.

They may be, but this is only important to people with gluten allergies and it does not mean the food doesn’t have sugar and fat. It’s become a buzz word that people associate with “healthy” but it means nothing more than there is no gluten in the food.

7. Frozen yogurt.

People go to the frozen yogurt places and fill up their cups thinking it’s somehow healthier than ice cream but it’s not. Some may be lower in fat but it has the same amount of sugar and sometimes more.

8. Vitamin water.

A frustrating beverage because the label makes you think you’re doing something good for your body when in fact if you take a close look at the label, there are about 13 grams of sugar and a list of almost unreadable ingredients. If you look even closer, that bottle is really 2.5 servings so it’s not 13 grams of sugar you’re downing, it’s over 30 grams of sugar.

The more knowlegized you are about what you’re eating the more power you have behind your fitness effort. Don’t waste your time with the wrong foods

by Heather Frey

via 8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t | SmashFit.

A Reason to Choose Organic Tomatoes Year-Round – Shape Magazine

A Reason to Choose Organic Tomatoes Year-Round

Monday, 7/23/2012 at 11:56:30 AM

By Jennipher Walters

Ah, summertime. When the living is easy, flip-flops are the norm, weekends are spent at the pool, and the tomatoes are extra fresh and delicious. Seriously, is there anything tastier than a tomato straight from the garden? While many of us are more likely to enjoy food from the garden or Farmer’s market in the summer (especially those in areas with cold winters!), new research suggests that farm-fresh organics may be the way to go year-round.

A recent study out of the University of Barcelona found that organic tomatoes contain higher levels of phenolic compounds —organic molecules found in many veggies that have health benefits — than conventional tomatoes. Previous research has found that organic tomato juice and ketchup contain higher polyphenol content than juice and ketchup made from conventionally grown tomatoes, but this was the first time tomatoes were studied before being processed for tomato products. Polyphenols have been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and even some forms of cancer.

So why are the organic tomatoes so much better than traditionally farmed ones? It comes down to fertilizer, according to the study. Organic farming doesn’t use nitrogenous fertilizers, and as a result, plants respond by activating their own defense mechanisms, which increases the levels of all antioxidants, study author Anna Vallverdú Queralt told ScienceDaily.

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Watching your salt? Check the ingredients in your chicken!

20120731-183434.jpgSomething I wasn’t aware of until a couple of years ago was just made very visibly apparent.

Sometimes brands will ‘plump’ up chicken breasts by injecting saline solution. Once I found out about this practice I always have made a point to buy my frozen chicken at Trader Joe’s, but grabbed a bag at Costco when I had run out the other day.

I was marinating some chicken breast when I noticed all of these holes. Kinda creepy, isn’t it?

For more information, here’s a great article from Cooking Light –

The Hidden Sodium in Chicken

One chicken breast could eat up 20% of your sodium limit—before you even start to cook.


  • NONENHANCED POULTRY (per 4 ounces raw)
     45 to 70mg
    Fine print says: “Contains 1 to 5% retained water.” (This is water that may be absorbed during the chilling process; it’s not injected, and no salt is added.)   ENHANCED POULTRY (per 4 ounces raw)
    Sodium: 330 to 440mg
    Fine print says: “Enhanced with up to 15% chicken broth, salt, and carrageenan.”

“As American as boneless, skinless chicken breast” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “American as apple pie,” but it’s far more appropriate: We eat an average of 87 pounds of chicken per year, up 81% from 48 pounds in 1980. This makes the plumping practice in poultry processing even more troubling.

About one-third of the fresh chicken found in supermarket meat cases has been synthetically saturated with a mix of water, salt, and other additives via needle injections and high-pressure vacuum tumbling. The process is designed to make naturally lean poultry meat juicier and more tender. A 4-ounce serving of what the industry calls “enhanced” poultry can contain as much as 440mg sodium. That’s nearly one-fifth of the current 2,300mg daily sodium allotment—from a source you’d never suspect.

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Some basics: on vitamin C


  • as an antioxidant. It loses electrons which are taken up by free radicals and stabilizes them. (which can lower your risk of cancer)
  • Helps in iron absorption
  • helps in collagen production – which most of us know is in our skin, but it’s also a structure in your teeth and bones that calcium and other minerals lay on top of.
  • During times of stress on the body – infection, injury, your boss breathing down your neck and spiking your cortisol – your immune cells use more oxygen, which produces free radicals to demolish offending viruses and bacteria. Vitamin C helps neutralize extra free radicals, so you do need more during these times.


  • 200 mg at a time. The rest is flushed out.
  • Sources: fruits and veggies but especially dark green veggies (bell peppers, kale and broccoli), strawberries and citrus, pineapple

Fun (gross) fact – scurvy, which occured to many sailors onboard for long periods of time, was due to the lack of Vitamin C. Ships would run out of fresh fruit and vegetables in the beginning of the journey. The reason one of the symtoms was tooth loss was that the collagen would break down in their teeth. Aar!

Pro, Con Arguments on Proposed NY Sugary Drink Ban – ABC News

My thoughts: I am torn between both arguments. I think that we should have freedom of choice, but I also notice those using that argument on the discussion panel are the food companies that have something to lose by selling less product. Also the fact is that over the years in order to compete with one another, fast food companies have tried to one up each other on their sizes.

Whether it passes or not, I think the heated debate that this issue is getting, and the ridicule on Jon Stewart, will help get a little press out there about just had how bad large sodas can be for you.

The article: Medical professionals who favor a proposed ban on large-sized sugary drinks likened soda companies to Big Tobacco at a public hearing Tuesday, saying the plan would protect the public, while opponents accused the city of playing Big Brother and wondered what tasty but unhealthy foods might be targeted next.

New York City’s health board heard hours of testimony on a proposed rule that would limit soft-drink cup and bottle sizes at food service establishments to no larger than 16 ounces.

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Simple tips: move that olive oil away from the stove!

We went over saturated versus unsaturated fats.

Today let’s look at their stability.

Fats spoil when exposed to oxygen. Saturated fats are more resistant to this, but the polyunsaturated fats you store next to your stove to cook with are very receptacle to spoilage due to all of their less stable double bonds.

Here are some tips to keep your oil from spoiling and to keep it as healthy for you as possible:

  • Store it somewhere cool dark place away from light and heat – like a cabinet away from your oven
  • Do not keep it stored in plastic bottles. Chemicals from the bottle my leach into it.
  • Keep it sealed tightly
  • If your oil is being used to cook and you don’t care about the taste as much you can refrigerate it. It may turn cloudy and be harder to pour but it’s fine to use.
  • If you are using the oil for dipping, salad dressings, etc – things you really want to taste the oil in, you should buy in smaller amounts, store in a cool place, and use relatively quickly- about three months.

This applies to other great oils, like flax and grapeseed oil. You’ll notice flaxseed oil is sold at stores in the refridgerated section in dark, UV proof bottles.

Hope this tip helps a bit! I always kept a glass bottle with a spout of oil next to the stove till I learned it defeated the purpose.

New York’s Trans-Fat Ban Is Working: Study – US News and World Report

New York’s Trans-Fat Ban Is Working: Study – US News and World Report.

New York City’s restriction on the use of trans fats in foods served at restaurants is helping Big Apple residents cut down on the unhealthy fat, a new study shows.

Researchers compared purchase receipts from fast food restaurants in 2007, before the ban went into effect, to those from 2009, after it went into effect.

Trans-fat intake decreased, said researcher Christine Curtis, director of nutrition strategy at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.