(BPT) – There are countless reasons to maintain a healthy weight -- and you can add protecting your kidneys to the list. If you have kidney disease or are at risk for it, maintaining a healthy weight is even more important.
"Being overweight significantly increases your risk for developing high blood pressure and diabetes, and both can damage your kidneys," said Lauren Gleason, senior director of nutrition services for Fresenius Kidney Care, a long-standing leader in kidney care, with more than 2,200 dialysis clinics around the country caring for nearly 200,000 people with kidney disease. "There are a number of manageable things you can do to get healthier and decrease your risk."
Eat right, exercise more -- we all know the drill. The good news is that putting the drill into action doesn't have to be difficult. Losing just 5 percent of your body weight -- even if you're still overweight -- can reduce your blood pressure and thus your risk for diabetes and kidney disease. Fresenius Kidney Care has some easy, real-world suggestions for getting and staying healthy.
The skinny on weight loss: Here's how to move in the right direction.
* Choose the best exercise -- To lose weight, strength training is the way to go. More muscle will increase your metabolism and burn more calories even when you're not exercising. Strength training includes lifting weights, using resistance bands and doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as lunges or leg lifts. Strength training combined with heart-healthy cardio makes for a great all-around workout.
Enjoying healthy food: Eating healthy can be satisfying and delicious.
* Focus on good fats -- Fat tastes good and is an important part of your diet. The key is choosing healthy fats. Cook vegetables with olive and canola oil to bring out the flavor and make foods more satisfying. Rather than snacking on cookies, grab a handful of almonds. Cold-water fish, such as salmon, are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
* Eat the right carbs, and in moderation -- You don't need to avoid carbohydrates. Eat them in moderation and focus on complex carbs. Choose brown rice over white rice. Opt for starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes instead of a dinner roll. Simple carbs, such as those in white bread, make your blood sugar spike and are more likely to turn into fat.
* Consult a dietitian -- A registered dietitian can help you choose foods and plan meals that are satisfying, delicious and filling, as well as healthy.
* Pass on salt -- If you have kidney disease, steer clear of foods that are hard for your kidneys to handle, including citrus fruits (and their juice) and bananas. Take a pass on the salt shaker as well. Fresenius Kidney Care offers some tips for tossing the salt.
Use a little psychology: Some simple psychological tricks can keep you on the right path.
* Plan your food placement -- When you unload the groceries, be thoughtful about where you store them. Keep the fruit bowl stocked and store healthy foods at eye level in the pantry and fridge so you're more likely to reach for them when you're hungry. Hide less healthy food on lower or higher shelves in non-see-through containers so you won't be tempted.
* Use smaller plates -- Set the table with salad plates instead of dinner plates. Because smaller plates hold less food, you'll likely eat less.
* Do shopping cart math -- Head to the produce section first and fill at least half your shopping cart with fresh, unprocessed foods.
* Drink from a tall glass -- If you have kidney disease, too much water is hard on your kidneys. Drink water from a tall, skinny glass and you'll actually drink less than you think you're drinking, and feel more satisfied.
Because you may have unique needs, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Learn more about kidney disease and healthy eating by visiting www.freseniuskidneycare.com.
* To get all the benefits from eating garlic, if you plan to cook it you should chop it and let it sit for a moment first. This allows the allicin to be released so it's not destroyed during the cooking process
"Garlic keeps the doctor away." That old saying couldn't be more true. Plenty ofresearch affirms the benefits of garlic...and every new study finds even more benefits!
Numerous civilizations have used garlic for centuries (it was even recommended by Hippocrates, the father of medicine), and it's very good for human health. Recent studies have indicated that eating four cloves of garlic a day can help prevent a variety of diseases.
Garlic, an ancient superfood
While they didn't know specifics, the ancient Greeks used garlic for its medicinal qualities.
Garlic belongs to the allium family (the same as onions and leeks) and contains a compound known as allicin, which improves overall health when consumed regularly. Allicin is also responsible for garlic's signature smell.
In addition, garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C, selenium, and fiber. It contains few calories but plenty of protein.
Benefits of garlic
Eating a few cloves of garlic a day can help you in the following ways:
Prevent Alzheimer's disease
This also goes for other degenerative diseases like dementia. This common ingredient contains antioxidants that prevent the negative effects of free radicals.
Other benefits of garlic are that it protects against pH problems and boosts the number of enzymatic "cleansers" which help purify your bloodstream.
Garlic is recommended for people who have high levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL), as well as people who have a history of heart disease or heart attacks.
It can help prevent future heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.
Garlic can help quickly alleviate a cold or a sore throat. The duration of most symptoms can be reduced by up to 70%.
If you're vulnerable to changes in the weather or get sick a lot in winter, don't hesitate to consume garlic on a regular basis.
Heavy metals and other toxins build up in your body thanks to the food you eat or exposure to environmental contaminants. These can be eliminated with the consumption of sulfur...one of the components in garlic!
Studies of employees exposed to lead while working in a battery factory revealed that consuming garlic decreased the amount of this heavy metal by nearly 20%. This leads to fewer headaches and fewer absences due to illness.
Improve bone health
For women who have reached menopause, another one of the benefits of garlic is that it can reduce some of the common difficulties with weakened bones. It affects how the body metabolizes estrogen, which could be an explanation for this unusual discovery.
Improve physical performance
For centuries garlic has been used to combat fatigue and increase physical productivity. For example, the Olympians of ancient Greece ate garlic before a competition.
Garlic contributes to both physical and mental performance.
Other benefits of garlic
In addition to everything we've described above, here are some additional reasons you should choose garlic:
o It thins the blood
o It prevents cancers of the stomach, esophagus, and colon
o It improves joint health (for example, in people with arthritis)
o It opens the lungs
o It helps avoid kidney or urinary tract problems
o It helps optimal liver function
o It fights constipation
o It eliminates parasites
o It balances blood sugar levels
o It helps treat herpes and eczema
o It reduces anxiety and calms the nerves
o It reduces uric acid levels, which can lead to gout and rheumatism
o It helps treat varicose veins
Raw or cooked garlic?
Some studies indicate that in order to take advantage of all the benefits of garlic it should be consumed directly from the bulb - that is, uncooked.
But other studies claim that if garlic is cooked in a certain manner it's a better way to absorb its nutrients.
Garlic contains a lot of compounds. Some of them are active in the raw state and others need heat to "activate." When you're consuming garlic to prevent cancer, for example, it's recommended to cook it.
One technique that prevents the loss of most nutrients if you're planning to cook garlic is to first chop it and let it sit for 45 minutes. This activates the allicin and keeps it from being destroyed when you cook it. This means that you get the same benefits whether you eat it raw or cooked.
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