Top 10 Healthy Foods for Your Kidneys

Kidneys tend to be an organ in our bodies that we don’t pay much attention to, even though they do so much for us. Kidneys filter 120-150 quarts a blood to produce 1-2 quarts of urine a day just to rid our bodies of wastes and extra fluids. If you aren’t giving your kidneys the care they deserve, they can give you several issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart disease. Check out our list of the top 10 foods for your kidneys, and give them the love and attention they deserve!

 

  • Water: This is easily the most important ingredient for overall health in not only your kidneys but throughout your entire body. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water a day, depending on your weight. Water flushes out toxins that can lead to kidney-related problems like infections or stones, and infect particles in your blood.
  • Cranberries or unsweetened cranberry juice: The taste of cranberry juice may be bitter to your taste buds, but it’s worth it. Cranberries are full of antioxidants, another great source of flushing out toxins in your system. They’re also great sources of vitamin C, fiber, and very low in sugar. Research shows that cranberries can prevent ulcers and bacteria from developing in the kidneys, making them the ultimate urinary tract cleaners.
  • Grapefruits: Grapefruits are another excellent source of Vitamin C, a vitamin crucial for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also helps prevent bacteria developing in the body, and keeps it away from the kidneys. Have a grapefruit for breakfast with a bowl of oatmeal, another food full of vitamins.
  • Kale: Another food with Vitamin C, kale helps prevent inflammation and protects the immune system as well. Kale also has a large amount of iron. Those that suffer from kidney disease need lots of iron in their diet because of the deficiency the disease brings on.
  • Red bell peppers: Since red bell peppers are low in potassium, this is a great snack for those that suffer from kidney disease. Also full of Vitamins A and C, it has lots of folic acid and fiber. Eat red bell peppers raw to get all the nutrients out of them (they’re especially good mixed into a tuna or chicken salad!).
  • Apples: They weren’t kidding when they said an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples have been known to aid the body as a “natural cleanser”, cleaning your kidneys without causing too many trips to the bathroom. Studies have shown that apples can help prevent cancer with the help of the antioxidant quercetin.
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms are known for the Vitamin D they contain, an important mineral that has been proven to regulate kidney function and help prevent kidney disease. If eating mushrooms aren’t your forte, try eating them in a creamy soup or saute them with veggies.
  • Cauliflower: Speaking of veggies, this is one that’s going to help aid in the cleansing of your kidneys. Cauliflower is high in Vitamin C and fiber, two nutrients that help your body fight off toxins and flush them out in your urine. Try eating your cauliflower steamed and seasoned for extra flavor while still getting all of the nutrients.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are high in antioxidants, working double duty as an anti-inflammatory food that will help regulate the process of ridding your body of toxins. They are also a good source of Vitamin C, perfect for keeping your immune system healthy and on track.
  • Garlic: Despite the gross taste it leaves in your mouth, garlic has many health benefits. A spice that can make any food taste good, it also has great anti-inflammatory properties and has the ability to lower your cholesterol, keeping your blood flowing and kidneys working up to par.

 

 


Healthy Choices when Eating Out

We all eat out.  It’s a fun part of the average person’s life!  But there are healthy choices we can make when we eat out, so that we don’t deviate from our health, fitness and nutrion goals.

It’s OK to have a big meal once in a while.  If you can, have it be at lunch rather than dinner.  If this is not a possibility, just make your lunch lighter, such as a cup of soup, or a salad, to balance out the big dinner you will have.

Here are some healthy food alternatives from Health Fitness Revolution and ReSYNC Your Life author Samir Becic to order while you’re out at various restaurants:

Tex-Mex or Mexican-

  • On the menu, it will look like this “Amigos Famous Fajitas- Your choice of marinated, top grade charbroiled steak, chicken, or both served on a bed of grilled onions and bell peppers. Served with flour tortillas, crisp lettuce, fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese and Amigo’s beans and rice.”
  • Order like this: “Amigos Fajitas- no tortillas, no butter, no sour cream, no cheese, no refried beans, and no rice”.  Ask to substitute refried beans for pinto beans and enjoy your fajitas with onions, peppers, pico de gallo, and guacamole!

Italian-

  • Every italian restaurant has chicken and fish readily available.  So this is where you can get creative and customize your meal to fit your dietary needs!
  • A good order for example, would be “Please grill chicken or fish in olive oil with herbs, garlic and onions, no butter, and a side of steamed vegetables with lemon”.
  • Salads are always a good choice as long as you customize your dressing to olive oil and balsamic vinegar or olive oil and lemon.

Chinese/ Asian-

  • Chicken lettuce wraps are a good choice
  • Miso soup, edamame, and sashimi at Japanese restaurants
  • Stay away from all the thick, sweet glazes that come on chinese meat dishes
  • No egg rolls, but spring rolls (the non fried version) are a good alternative
  • Stay away from white rice
  • Vegetable stir fry’s with less soy sauce are an option

Steakhouse-

  • Every steakhouse has both chicken and fish alternatives.
  • When ordering steak, choose the smaller cuts.  22 ounces of steak is never a healthy option.
  • Stay away from the sides!  No mac’n’cheese, no creamed corn, no mashed potatoes!
  • Order a side salad or grilled/steamed veggies.

Burger Joint-

  • Have only one side of the bun on a burger with no cheese and no mayo.
  • Even better, eat it bunless!
  • Still load it with tomato, lettuce, onions, mushrooms, pickles.

 

There are always healthier options we can make while socially eating out with friends and family, so hopefully these tips can transfer into your next meal adventure!

 

 


Top 5 Components to the Perfect Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies make an ideal go-to meal or snack, especially in summer and are a great way to pack in nutrients; but with so many options, knowing exactly what to add can be tricky. Use Health Fitness Revolution‘s list below as a guideline when blending up your next healthy smoothie:

Liquid

Pour in 1-2 cups as your first component. The more you add, the thinner your smoothie will be. A little less is better as you can always add more.

  • Water– to ensure unaltered taste, water is a safe pick and another way to get your dose of H2O!
  • Milk– soy, skim, almond, or coconut milk – choose the unsweetened (vanilla) version – if combined with flavored protein and other add-ins, this won’t affect taste too much.
  • Juice– orange or apple are usually preferred, but try another if you’re feeling adventurous. Just be sure to watch the sugar content, and go for juice from concentrate!
  • Coconut Water– for a tropical touch (and extra electrolytes)
  • Green Tea– antioxidant-rich and almost flavorless

Protein

Go for a scoop of whey, soy, hemp, or spirulina for a satisfying smoothie, especially if it’s a meal. There are all kinds of flavors, so choose based on your smoothie style. Flaxseed, wheat germ, or chia seeds are also excellent options for extra fiber or turning it into a lighter snack! We wrote an article about the different types of Protein here.

Fruit/Vegetables 

Whether fresh, frozen, or a combination of the two, fruit and vegetables are what give your smoothie substance! Experiment with the following:

  • Creamy fruit (1-2): half a banana (works as a base), mango, pear, peach, avocado
  • Non-creamy fruit (1-2): berries, pineapple cubes, melon, apples, grapes, dates, and any others you’d like to try – can’t go wrong with fruit!
  • Vegetables (pick one): spinach, kale, carrot; less common ones (but certainly nutritious!) include sweet potato, squash, and cucumber.

Creaminess

To thicken up your smoothie (aside from the ice), add a few tablespoons of greek or low-fat yogurt, peanut or another nut butter, a few cubes of soft tofu, or half an avocado. Each of these are nutritious and protein-packed – add more than one and you’ll have a smoothie that tastes more like a milkshake!

Flavor/Add-ins

Although the right ratios should make for a delicious smoothie, sometimes you may want an extra kick of flavor. Add a bit of honey, cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla essence, or grated nutmeg depending on the taste you’re going for. Just remember, a little goes a long way!

 

Samir Becic Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization working towards making the world a healthier, fitter place- please donate!


Top 10 Foods for Healthy Skin

Even though beauty products are getting increasingly high-tech, the best complexion cures still come from the most natural quarters: the aisles of your super­market. More and more, studies are finding links between certain nutrients and wrinkle reduction, radiance, and acne prevention.  We wrote an article Best Oils for your Skin, but decided to take it one step further.  Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look.

Here are Samir Becic’s and Health Fitness Revolution‘s Top 10 Foods for Healthy Skin:

  • Dark Chocolate:  Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it firmer and more supple. We recommend 70% cocoa dark chocolate as it contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant. A couple of squares a day should be enough to improve luminosity. Also, if applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness!  To read more health benefits of dark chocolate, read our article here.
  • Berries:  Berries have a very high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, berries weighed in with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful.
  • Greek Yogurt:  It contains about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and the protein you get from eating dairy helps skin become firmer, so it’s more resistant to lines.
  • Kidney Beans:  Are known to zap zits!  They’re high in zinc, and studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels.
  • Soy (beans, and milk):  Soy contains minerals and proteins that have been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation.  Drinking soy milk in your latte and eating edamame can even out skin tone.
  • Steel-cut oats:  Steel-cut oatmeal is less processed than other varieties, so it retains more vitamins. Also, it takes longer to break down in your body, which helps keep your blood sugar stable. This is important because studies found that spiked blood sugar elevates your body’s level of androgens, hormones that can contribute to wrinkles.  Oats are also great for healing the body.
  • Pomegranate:  They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants which fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. Applied topically, they can reduce lines and moisturize.
  • Sunflower Seeds:  Eat a handful daily because they are loaded with vitamin E, which keeps your skin supple by protecting its top layers from the sun. Apply topically to heels and lips to stay moisturized.
  • Walnuts and Flax Seeds:  Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity. The nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. To read more health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, read our article here.
  • Peppers (red, green, and yellow!): Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Also, studies found that carotenoids, the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies, can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

 

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