Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blood Glucose Regulation System

The human body has several closed loop and feedback control systems that enable it to maintain homeostasis for various health-related elements, i.e. body temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, blood pH.
Homeostasis is the ability of the human body (or a cell) to maintain a constant internal environment of stability and balance in response to environmental changes. Homeostasis is an important characteristic of living things and a unifying principle of biology.
Keeping a stable internal environment requires constant adjustments as conditions change inside and outside the cell. The adjusting of systems within a cell is called homeostatic regulation. Because the internal and external environments of a cell are constantly changing, adjustments must be made continuously to stay at or near the set point (the normal level or range). Homeostasis can be thought of as a dynamic equilibrium rather than a constant, unchanging state.
The nervous and endocrine systems control homeostasis in the body through feedback mechanisms involving various organs and organ systems. Examples of homeostatic processes in the body include body temperature control, blood pH balance, blood glucose regulation, water and electrolyte balance, blood pressure, and respiration.
The endocrine system plays an important role in homeostasis because it uses hormones to regulate the blood and the activity of body cells to stay within a tight range. The release of hormones into the blood is controlled by a stimulus. The stimulus either causes an increase or a decrease in the amount of hormone secreted. Then, the response to a stimulus changes the internal conditions and may itself become a new stimulus. This self-adjusting mechanism is called feedback regulation.
The specific system we're talking about here is the Blood Glucose Regulation System. The hormones are insulin and glucagon. The stimulus is raised or lowered blood glucose.

Blood Glucose Regulation System
The primary goal of the body’s Blood Glucose Regulation System is to keep blood glucose in a tight range between 70 and 110 mg/dL (or 3.89 to 6.11 mmol/L).
As depicted in the following diagram, when blood glucose rises (for example, after eating), the hormone insulin is secreted from the beta cells of the pancreas, triggering muscle and fat cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream causing blood glucose to decrease.
When blood glucose falls (after heavy exercise or lack of food for extended periods), glucagon is secreted from the alpha cells of the pancreas, causing the liver to release stored glycogen as glucose into the bloodstream, causing blood glucose to rise
Blood Glucose Regulation System
However, in a diabetic's body, when blood glucose rises, the muscle and fat cells are unable to absorb glucose from the bloodstream (because they are insulin-resistant). This causes blood glucose to continue to rise beyond the upper target level (this is called hyperglycemia).
As depicted in the following diagram, the Blood Glucose Regulation System isn't working as designed. To try to correct the high glucose problem, the pancreas continues excreting more and more insulin to try to "push" the excess glucose into the cells. If the problem is not corrected, this can lead to hyperinsulinemia.
And, if insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia continue for an extended number of years, this can lead to Type 2 diabetes
Abnormal Blood Glucose Regulation

Note: This topic is discussed in more detail (at the cellular level) in the DTD Science of Diabetes ebook.  

Myths About Wound Care and Healing

We have all experienced cuts and bruises growing up and, if you have children, then, you've dealt with this recently: a scraped knee, a paper cut, a leg bruise, a finger cut, a sore, a hand burn, etc. 

We don't really give this a second thought because our bodies and our children's bodies do such a good job at healing and repairing the damage to our skin.

However, if the cut got infected, then, you may have had to get an antibiotic or see a doctor. But, still, it wasn't much of a problem to concerned about compared to other more serious health problems.

Have you ever wondered when you got a cut how your body healed the cut? 

This may not seem like an important topic, but, actually wound healing is becoming a major problem in the United States and around the world.

Why is that? How can such a minor problem become such a major health concern?

The number of people dealing with wounds, cuts and other abrasions that aren't healing has been increasing during the past several years for 4 reasons:
1. The general population is getting older.
2. The number of people with diseases like diabetes is increasing.
3.  People ignore the wound, not realizing that it's not healing.
4. There are myths and a lack of education by the public and the medical profession about proper wound care.

Despite the advancements in wound care, there are many common myths and attitudes people believe about healing wounds. Some of these ideas even come from doctors who refer patients to wound centers. However, using these methods can slow or even stop the healing process. 

Some of the common myths and misunderstandings about proper wound care include the following:

Myth: Keep the wound open to air and let it dry out or at least let the air get to it at night.

Fact: The standard in wound care is to always keep a wound covered and moist. The idea of “moist” wound healing has been around since the 1960s and there have been many, many, randomized clinical trials showing that all else being equal, a wound that is kept covered and moist will heal faster than a wound that is dried out.

It may go against common household lore, but clinical studies prove keeping your wound clean, moist and covered helps it heal faster. Many doctors and pharmacists recommend using an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to moisten the wound. Recent research suggests using a wound dressing with polysaccharides (i.e. from a polysaccharide paste,  raw honey, aloe vera).

Myth: Let the wound develop a scab because a scab is a sign of healing.

Fact: Not true! A scab develops when the wound is allowed to dry up. A scab makes it harder for new skin cells to cover the wound. A scab can also trap inflammatory tissue and bacteria, which can lead to slower wound healing and a greater chance of infection.

Actually, the goal in caring for a wound is to prevent scab formation, say modern doctors. That's because a scab -- or hardened fluid and debris encrusting your wound -- will interfere with the healing process and could eventually lead to scarring. A broken scab can also lead to infection. To avoid scabbing, keep your wound moist with an appropriate cream, ointment or polysaccharide blend.

Note: To get rid of a scab, don't pick at it or try to pull it off! Instead, place a wet gauze or a cloth compress on the wound for five minutes every few hours. 

Do not tug or rub the skin, since doing so could harm the healing tissue and cause scarring.

Myth: Rubbing alcohol and/or hydrogen peroxide will keep the wound clean.

Fact: While it is important to clean your wound as soon as possible in order to prevent infection, using peroxide or alcohol is a bad idea, say most medical experts. Rubbing alcohol hasn’t been shown to be any better than using plain tap water to clean out a wound. Hydrogen peroxide is no better. Some studies show that hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol can kill normal tissue and cells that are trying to heal a wound. The bottom line is that the repeated use of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can be harmful to the wound-healing process.

Instead, clean your wound right away under running tap water or under a running shower. Use a mild liquid soap if you have it. You can also use a pressurized bottle of sterile saline -- available at most pharmacies -- to clean your wound if you don't have access to a shower or clean tap water.

If your flesh is embedded with debris, see a doctor immediately. You may be given a tetanus shot. This helps prevent the bacteria found in dirt and soil from making you sick. It's essential to get the dirt and debris out of a scrape so it won't leave behind a permanent "tattoo" on your skin. Your doctor or nurse may freeze the area before cleaning it, if you are in extreme pain.

Myth: Topical or oral antibiotics should be used to help heal a wound.

Fact: There are times when antibiotics are necessary to help heal a wound, but only when the wound is infected and then for just seven to 10 days. Continued use may only breed bacterial resistance. See your primary care provider if you think your wound is infected.

Myth: Itchiness is a sign of healing.

Fact: Not necessarily true. Itchiness can mean you are allergic to the bandage, bandage adhesive or antibiotic ointment. It can also mean you have an infection. Be aware with what's going on your skin and see a doctor if you think your wound is in trouble.

Myth: Put a bandage or gauze dressing on the wound and forget about it.

Fact: The purpose of wearing a bandage/dressing is to keep the wound clean and to absorb the fluid that oozes from it. Leaving a bandage on for too long can lead to infection and prevents you from monitoring your injury properly.

Be on the lookout for signs of infection, such as bad odors emanating from the wound, red streaks and fluid that's yellow or green. Such symptoms require immediate care from a doctor. Extreme pain is not unusual with a wound in the first several days, but if the pain gets worse or spreads, contact your doctor immediately.

Note: If you're diabetic and a wound is not healing, take photos of the wound daily and send them to your doctor.

FYI: The next blog post will discuss how to treat wounds and cuts properly.

Myths About Wound Care

Friday, April 10, 2015

Diabetic Complications

There are several long-term microvascular and macrovascular complications that develop if your diabetes is not managed properly and your blood glucose is not maintained within the normal range. 

Although these complications develop gradually, they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of these complications include the following:

Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system (leading to proteinuria). Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which often eventually requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Poorly controlled blood sugar can eventually cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Further nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.

Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease (with/without angina), congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure.

Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.

Alzheimer's disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.

Other problems. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.

The following flowchart depicts how these complications develop in a diabetic's body.

The following diagram depicts how these complications develop in a diabetic's body at the cellular level.

Other Diabetic Health Complications
In addition to the aforementioned diabetic complications and health problems, there are other health complications that can occur before or after you become diabetic including the following: high blood pressure; high inflammation (high homocysteine, C-reactive protein, cholesterol, fibrinogen); fatigue; sexual dysfunction; and, frequent infections (especially gum disease).

Note: For more details about diabetes and its complications (and how to treat them naturally without drugs), refer to Chapters 3 and 15 of the Death to Diabetes book or Chapters 2-6 of the DTD Science of Diabetes ebook.

Diabetes Is More Than a Blood Sugar Disease

Type 2 diabetes is more than a “blood sugar” disease! It is a combination of insulin resistance and inflammation that affects the muscle cells, liver cells and fat cells. 

Insulin resistance and inflammation prevent these cells from effectively using the insulin produced by the pancreas. That is, the insulin receptors on the surface of each cell are damaged (inflamed), ignoring the presence of insulin in your blood and refusing to allow glucose from your blood to enter your cells. 

In addition to the muscle, liver and fat cells, diabetes affects many other cells in the body. As a result, diabetes affects almost every major part of the human body, which can lead to problems with the eyes, kidneys, feet, heart, brain and other organs. 

Some of those cells that are affected by diabetes include the following:

Blood vessel cells: of the circulatory system's arteries and veins begin to degenerate and weaken, causing leakages and sometimes clotting; and, reduces the amount of oxygen getting to all parts of the body. 

Leakages in the small blood vessels that feed the eyes, kidneys, feet, etc. along with thickening of capillary walls can lead to diseases associated with those parts of the body.

And, the damage to the large blood vessels causes hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or poor circulation in the feet.

In addition, these effects reduce blood circulation to the skin, arms, legs, and feet; and, also, change the circulation to the eyes and kidneys. Reduced capillary blood flow may cause some brown patches on the legs. 

Brain cells (Neurons): causes synaptic degeneration (synapses are the structures at the end of each neuron used to communicate between neurons); also, affects the hippocampus portion of the brain causing a reduction in neurocognitive speed, learning and mental functioning and focusing, leading to a slowdown in memory processing, brain fog, memory loss, a lack of concentration; and, depression. Also, the formation of amyloid plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain can lead to Alzheimer's Disease (AD).

Glucose triggers the brain to release natural chemicals called opioids, which give the body a feeling of intense pleasure. The brain then recognizes this feeling and begins to crave more of it. Similar to a cocaine addiction, when you crave glucose, it activates certain areas in the brain, specifically, the hippocampus, the insula and the caudate) that are activated.

Endothelial cells: in the lining of all blood vessels and the inner walls of the heart chamber; can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, etc.

Eye cells: Because of damage to the small blood vessels that nourish tissue and nerve cells in the retina, blood clots and scar tissue can form in front of the retina, preventing light from hitting the retina, resulting in blindness.

Fat cells: become insulin-resistant, along with muscle and liver cells, can cause obesity.

Heart (muscle/chamber) cells: can lead to heart disease, heart attacks.

Kidney cells (incl. Nephrons (Glomerular cells, Renal corpuscle (parietal cells, podocytes and mesangial cells) and the various tubules (columnar and cuboidal epithelial cells): lose the ability to filter the blood as the blood vessels in the nephrons become more porous. Over time amino acids and proteins escape into the urine through these pores, which is an indication of kidney dysfunction eventually leading to kidney failure and dialysis.

Liver cells: can lead to a increased toxins, increased cholesterol, fatty liver, many health issues.

Nerve cells: damage to the blood vessels in the legs and damage to the myelin sheath of nerve cells in the legs leads to numbness, pain, and eventually amputation.

Pancreatic beta cells: may wear out and lose their ability to produce insulin.

Red blood cells: become hardened and stickier, making the blood thicker and slow-moving; and more prone to clotting. Can lead to high blood pressure, eye disease, kidney disease, heart disease, amputation, inflammation, infection; and many other health problems/diseases, because the circulatory system touches every major system in the body.

Skin cells: (or epithelial cells) can cause dry skin, slow-healing bruises and infections, damaged skin due to glycated collagen.

White blood cells: can weaken the immune system, leading to infections, slow-healing wounds and other diseases.

Please Note: This is, by no means, a complete list of every cell and organ in the human body. But, this list should help you to better understand how diabetes can affect so many parts of the body.

Type 2 Diabetes at the Cell Level

Note: The circulatory system and the nervous system go to every major part of the human body. And, since diabetes affects these two systems, then, you can see why diabetes affects every major part of the human body. 

Note: For more details about diabetes and its complications (and how to treat them naturally without drugs), refer to Chapters 3 and 15 of the Death to Diabetes book or Chapters 2-6 of the DTD Science of Diabetes ebook.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Top 10 Foods to Fight Stress

It is a known fact that (unmanaged) stress can cause your blood glucose to rise, which, over time, can gradually destroy your body and your health.

The good news is that you can control your blood glucose and limit the damage to your body caused by living a stressful life.

How? By simply embracing a superior nutritional program such as the Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program.

Although this program was designed to address your diabetes, it also reduces the impact of stress on your body and your overall health.

Some "anti-stress" foods that you can add to your daily diet to combat stress and relieve the effects of stress on your health include: almonds, asparagus, avocado, bison, blueberries, cantaloupe, cottage cheese, oranges, wild salmon, spinach, sunflower seeds, sushi and walnuts.

Almonds.  Thanks to being high vitamin E, vitamin B2 and magnesium, almonds can help bolster your immune system when you're stressed, reported Women's Health. Just a quarter cup of almonds each day does the trick.

A report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adults who incorporated nuts into their diets helped them with their stress. A review of 31 studies about eating nuts found that people who added nuts to their diets and who replaced other foods with nuts lost more weight (an average 1.4 pounds more) and reduced their waist sizes by more than half an inch.

The nutrients in several types of nuts can help protect your body against the damaging physical effects of being stressed out. So, have a little snack and eat a handful of almonds instead of eating a granola bar.

Tip 1: For variety, spread some almond butter on fruit slices or whole grain crackers.

Tip 2: Avoid roasted or salted almonds -- instead eat raw, organic almonds.

Asparagus. This amazing green vegetable is an excellent anti stress food, a natural source of folic acid, which is an important chemical that helps to balance your mood and block the hormones produced when we are stressed out.

Tip: Sauté some asparagus tips for a tasty omelet. Go with steamed or grilled spears as a side vegetable for meat, fish or poultry. Snack on some steamed spears by dipping in some dressing.

Avocado. We need B vitamins for healthy nerves and brain cells, and feelings of anxiety may be rooted in a B vitamin deficiency. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins. Bonus: They're also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help lower blood pressure.

Tip: Next time stress has you reaching for a pint of full-fat ice cream, opt for a non-dairy DIY version made with avocado blended with a ripe banana, vanilla extract, nut milk, and stevia. Freeze, then chill-out.

Bananas. This fruit is rich in vitamin B, an important nutrient to keep stress hormones and blood pressure levels under control even in the most stressful situations.

Tip: Don't eat the banana by itself. Instead, eat the banana with a handful of nuts to offset the potential blood sugar spike caused by the banana.

Bison. Rich in iron, vitamin B, selenium, niacin, and zinc, bison (and free-range beef) can be part of an excellent meal after a stressful day. Bison is loaded with Vitamin B12, a co-factor of energy production).

Note: The healthy gut bacteria in your body does not manufacture enough Vitamin B12 to meet your overall needs, but Vitamin B12 is abundant in bison meat.

Blueberries. This great low calorie product is rich in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C, all of which effectively help us fight against stresses. When we’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect cells.

James Joseph, PhD, lead scientist in the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University calls blueberries the "brain berry". Dr. Joseph’s claim was made with the publication of his landmark blueberry research.

This has since been bolstered by animal studies demonstrating that daily consumption of modest amounts of blueberries dramatically slows impairments in memory and motor coordination that normally accompany aging.

Moreover, a wealth of exciting new research clearly establishes that in addition to promoting brain health, this long-prized native North American fruit—whether consumed fresh, frozen, canned, or as an extract—may help with reducing the negative effects of stress on our health along with a range of other diverse health benefits.

Tip: Blueberries may seem small, but just a handful pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and vitamin C, making them mighty stress-busters. While blueberries are tasty all by themselves, freeze them for a cold berry snack, or add them to a serving of yogurt or high-fiber cereal.

Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is crucial in combating stress. In fact, prolonged periods of stress deplete levels of vitamin C in the adrenal glands, so it's important to consume foods that contain high levels of it.

Cottage cheese. This type of cheese is very rich in proteins, calcium, as well as vitamins B2 and B12, which assist in banishing such symptoms of stresses as anxiety and restlessness. Since cottage cheese is a good source of vitamins B2 and B12, mixing it with cantaloupe for breakfast or a midday snack will help you banish your feelings of anxiety.

Dark chocolate. It is known as one of the best anti-stress foods which is packed with flavonoids with amazing relaxing properties. Phenethylamine is another very important natural substance which can be found in dark chocolate. This chemical enhances our mood and makes us feel relaxed too. In addition to this, studies have shown that regular consumption of dark chocolate in small doses is linked to lower levels of cortisol, known also as the stress hormone.

High in flavonoids, which are lauded for their relaxing properties (lemon balm and chamomile tea are other excellent sources), dark chocolate also contains phenethylamine, a chemical that enhances your mood. The darker the chocolate, the more healthful substances you’re being paid in your diet, so look for bars that are at least 70 percent cacao.

Researchers found that eating the equivalent of one mean-sized dark chocolate candy bar (1.4 ounces) each day for two weeks reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the “fight-or-flight” hormones known as catecholamines in highly stressed people.

Oranges. Oranges have high vitamin-C content. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights the free radicals that get unhindered when you’re stressed. It also lessens symptoms and shortens the duration of colds, which may be brought on by stress. Other excellent sources of Vitamin C include kiwi fruit and strawberries.

Tip: For a quick burst of vitamin C, simply eat a whole orange. But, avoid bottled orange juice.

Salmon. This is one of the best natural sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are reported to be an excellent food to slow down production of hormones adrenaline and cortisol, associated with increased levels  of stresses. Also, good amounts of Omega 3 acids in our body can help boost serotonin levels making us feel more happy and content.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids-overflowing in fish like wild salmon-can help back stress symptoms by boosting serotonin levels, and that an omega-3-rich diet can also help suppress the production of the anxiety hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

Tip: Avoid farmed salmon -- instead eat wild salmon.

Spinach. Leafy greens may not be your idea of comfort food, but spinach can have a comforting effect. Spinach is packed with magnesium, the mineral that helps regulate cortisol levels and promote feelings of well-being.

Tip: Add some spinach in your morning eggs (or smoothie), swap for lettuce in your sandwich, have a salad, steam it as a side dish,or drop a handful of leaves into your soup.

Sunflower Seeds: A excellent fund of folate, which helps your body produce a pleasure-inducing brain chemical called dopamine. Low levels of zinc are common among those suffering from stress. It is elemental for boosting the immunelogic and fighting infections.

Sushi. Aside from the benefits of fish described on the first page, the seaweed in maki (rolls) also has anxiety-fighting properties. It is packed with stress-relieving magnesium, as well as pantothenic acid and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).

Pantothenic acid is crucial, as it contributes to the health of the adrenal glands, which play a vital role in stress management. In times of stress, a deficiency in pantothenic acid can lead to feelings of anxiety and increased vulnerability to infection, illness and chronic fatigue.

Walnuts: They’ve been shown to help lower blood pressure, which is critical for those whose hearts are by now working overtime thanks to high adrenaline levels. In fact, research so strongly backs their health repayment that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration goes so far as to recommend 1-1/2 oz per day (Eat raw, organic walnuts, 1/4 cup daily).

A recent study looked at nuts rich in alpha-linolenic acid, like walnuts, and found that they had a heart-protective benefit during times of acute stress -- which are known to cause cardiovascular strain.

Breakfast. Almost every other person has a practice of regularly skipping breakfast. Why do we do this? Sometimes we sleep too long and have no time for breakfast before leaving the house. Some people believe that skipping breakfast can help in weight loss, but this idea is absolutely incorrect. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and skipping breakfast does not lead to anything positive.

Skipping breakfast or eating a poor breakfast leads to substantially heightened stress levels and given the role of stress in the deterioration of problem solving and concentration, eating a healthy breakfast has profound implications for everyone, adults and children alike.

So, if you're going to eat breakfast, then, eat a properly-balanced meal (such as the Death to Diabetes Super Breakfast protocol) in order to reap the benefits of breakfast and ensure optimum health.

Moreover, according to famous British expert nutritionists Professor Tanya Byron and Amanda Ursell, who recently published their Kingsmill Breakfast Report, eating a healthy breakfast can help us to reduce negative effects of our daily stresses.

Other Anti-stress Foods. Other foods that help to fight stress include: avocados, chamomile tea, oysters, Swiss chard, turkey.

Note: For more details about how to manage stress, read Chapter 13 of the Death to Diabetes book or read the How to Reduce Stress ebook

Top 10 Foods to Fight Stress

Friday, February 27, 2015

How to Manage Stress

Stressed ManWhether you admit it or not, stress is a part of everyday life. 

Whether you are at school, at the office, or just about anywhere, you are forced to deal with people and the environment. 

Hence, the types of stress is closely associated with its cause. 

And because your physical body is closely connected to your emotional and mental state, you will notice some connection to their effects when you begin to experience stress. 

This is also the reason why it is important to combat the cause of stress since it affects several vital aspects of your body in order to function.

The Top 2 Problems That Cause Stress
Although there are hundreds of problems that cause stress, two of the top problems that cause stress in our lives are:
1. Health problems
2. Financial problems

And, given that most people will experience health and financial problems at some point in our lives, it is not realistic to think that you can avoid stress completely.

Instead it is better to look at strategies that can help you deal with health and financial problems and, as a result, reduce the stress in your life.

Stress Due To Health Problems: There is nothing more stressful than fighting a disease like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. To deal with this kind of stress, you need to make sure that you eat healthy, exercise daily and that you get enough rest and sleep. It also helps if you have a support system, i.e. family members, a friend, clergy, health coach, doctor, etc.

Concerning health problems, you should educate yourself about healthy foods and how to eat balanced meals (i.e. DTD super meals). These types of meals will provide your body and its cells with the proper nutrients to prevent and fight most diseases -- so that you can prevent stress from causing damage to your body.

Note: During the past several years, more and more people have learned how to use the Internet and its platforms (i.e. Google, YouTube) to educate themselves about proper nutrition and how to eat healthier to fight diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

Stress Due To Financial Problems: Not having enough money to pay the bills or being unemployed is very stressful, especially given the recent problems with the economy and the "real" unemployment rate. It is important that we look for alternative ways to increase the income for our family.

Concerning financial problems, you should educate yourself about financial  budgeting, savings, investments, 401Ks, IRAs, the stock market, economics and small business/marketing; and, how to start your own home business without requiring any major capital. By finding alternative ways to increase your family income, you can prevent the stress from not having enough money to live and handle the expenses for unforeseen events, i.e. flooded basement, hospital stay, car problems, loss of job, etc.

Note: During the past several years, more and more people have learned that the same Internet that helped them learn how to eat better and fight disease can be used to help them improve their financial situation and live a higher quality of life. Examples include: selling health products, providing advice to help people (i.e. health coaching), writing and selling your own book; fixing cars; cleaning houses (i.e. maid service); repairing houses, etc.

Unfortunately, most people don't start their own business for 4 major reasons: (1) they don't have the time or money; (2) they don't know how or lack the interest; (3) they tried in the past and failed; and (4) they don't need the extra money.

But, with the advancements of technology in today's information age, that is all changing now -- lack of time, money, interest, etc. should no longer be barriers to your financial success. (This will be discussed in more detail in a future post).

In the meantime, here are some ideas to help you deal with stress in your life:
-- Help a friend
Go for a walk with a friend to relieve your stress-- Go for a ride
-- Visit the mall
-- Eat a healthy breakfast
-- Tour a museum
-- Take a walk in nature
-- Write in your journal
-- Talk with a close friend
-- Take a bubble bath
-- Get a massage
-- Read a good book
-- Go to the movies

-- Laugh!
-- Volunteer
-- Start your own home business*
*Note: For more information about how to start your own home business, refer to a future post or refer to the DTD website at:

Types and Causes of Stress 
Here are some of the most common sources of stress that must be dealt with on an everyday basis.

Internal Stress: There are times when you constantly worry about certain events without having enough control to determine its outcome. Internal stress is also one of those kinds of stress that needs to be addressed quickly. Most of the source of stress is rooted in the person’s mind, which makes it difficult to manage and would entail more work to get rid of. Oftentimes, people suffering from internal stress subconsciously puts themselves in stressful situations or feel stressed out about things that aren’t stressful to begin with.

Survival Stress: This type of stress deals with the danger, mostly physical, that an individual is subjected to. It can be prompted by an attack made by either human or animal that could potentially hurt you in the process. Therefore, your body releases this burst of energy that you need to utilize to respond quickly about the situation at hand whether to confront it or escape from it.

Environmental Stress: This type of stress is your body’s way of responding to changes or activities in your environment that could produce stress, such as extreme levels of noise or pressure from work. As compared to the other types of stress already mentioned above, this one is a lot easier to deal with. The best way to get started combating this stress type is to determine the source. Once you have identified the source of environmental stress, find a way to avoid them.

Stress Due To Work and Fatigue: Another common type of stress and probably the most prevalent. This one though does not happen in an instant, but rather builds up over time. When you are spending too much time working or forced to deal with excessive amount of work, then it can take its toll on your body. To deal with work stress, you need to make sure you have enough rest and relaxation in between so your body can recover from the tremendous amount of work. There are relaxation methods that you can apply in order to find relief from stress.

Tips for How to Manage Stress in Your Life
Stress Management: Learn to Control What You Can
It’s not realistic to think you can avoid stress completely. There are some things over which you don’t have complete control: roofs occasionally leak, jobs can be a hassle, relationships can end and investments sometimes go down in value.

Worrying about things you have no or limited control over is not your best strategy for your overall health or for managing your diabetes. Instead, focus on managing your response to these kinds of events. You have the ability to control your attitude, help calm your bodily reactions to stress and make sound choices. The goal is to mobilize the available resources to help you cope with stress in a healthy manner.

In addition, ensure that you eat balanced meals such as the DTD super meals. These types of meals will provide your body and its cells with the proper nutrients so that you can handle stress and prevent stress from causing damage to your body. 

Manage What You Can Control
The all-important first step is to distinguish between those parts of your stress that you have some measure of control over and those you don’t. You want to focus your energy on the areas over which you have some control.

For example, you cannot change the fact that your boss is a dimwit but you can choose how you respond to him. Spend your limited time and energy on trying to make the situation better instead of being anxious about the current state.

Examine Your Coping Style
Why does one person faced with diabetes rise to the challenge while another person struggles with continual feelings of failure? It often has a lot to do with coping style. Many people have what’s called “learned helplessness.” They respond to adversity in a passive manner believing that fate will inevitably have its way. 

But this coping style usually fails to see the many choices that are actually available. If you are prone to learned helplessness, start asking yourself what choices you have that could change your situation? Write them down. Be proactive. Diabetes doesn’t have to control your life.

Choose to Enrich Your Life
In our fast-paced society, many people never give themselves a chance to fully recharge their physical, mental and emotional reserves. As a result, our minds and bodies stay tightly wound and increasingly stressed with each passing day. 

Instead of trying to distract yourself from these stressors by plopping in front of the television or going out to eat, do something that you find truly enriching, i.e. help a friend, visit the mall, write in your journal, read a good book, become a community volunteer, etc.

Use Exercise Techniques to Manage Your Stress
Regular practice of the following exercise disciplines will immediately help you reduce your stress level, and, over time, bring your glucose levels down as well:
Diaphragmatic breathing. In a sitting or lying position, breathe in through your nose, pulling the air deeply into your lungs until you feel your lower abdomen begin to extend. Take in as much air as you can. Hold it for a count of five and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this several times.

Progressive relaxation. In a lying position, tense one muscle group (calves, for example) for a slow count of 10 while keeping the rest of your body relaxed. Stop tensing that muscle and relax for a few seconds. Then move to the next muscle group (thighs) and repeat. Progressively work your way through the entire body. This exercise is great to help bleed out the tension in muscles before sleeping.

Exercise. Find an aerobic activity (running, walking, swimming, cycling, water exercise, Tai chi, dancing, etc.) that you enjoy and participate in it regularly. Exercise is one of the best ways to release tension and keep your blood sugar in check. 

Food for Thought: There is a fine line between denial and faith: Denial is believing you can’t win the battle against the disease because of all the facts. Faith is believing that you can win the battle despite all of the facts.

How to Manage Stress

Monday, February 09, 2015

Top 10 Foods for the Kidneys

Healthy kidneys are as important as a healthy heart. Kidneys filter out the waste and extra water, and remove harmful toxins from the body in the form of urine.


In addition, kidneys help maintain a balance of electrolytes and other fluids in your body.

Kidney problems can cause difficulty urinating, puffiness around the eyes, and swollen feet and hands. A person who has kidney problems is also at higher risk of developing heart disease.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million adults in America suffer from some kind of kidney disease.

If you're concerned about the health of your own kidneys, the following 10+ super foods should be on your grocery-shopping list.

Ask a renal dietitian or diabetes health coach for help with a kidney-friendly meal plan if you have chronic kidney disease. When buying fruits and vegetables, get fresh, organic ones and be sure to include a variety, since some are rich in one nutrient and others are rich in another. If you can only find vegetables and fruits that are not at their peak, the flavor may be lessened, but you'll still get good nutritional value from them for your kidney health.

Please Note: If you're diabetic and taking medication to protect your kidneys, be very careful. In many cases, the diabetic medication does more harm to your kidneys, but the doctor may tell you that the damage to your kidneys is solely due to your diabetes!

Eating the right foods help organs, including your kidneys, function properly. Certain superfoods rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C promote kidney health.

Super Foods for Your Kidneys
If you are on dialysis or have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you'll be glad to know that there are lots of super foods, containing antioxidants and other health-supporting properties, included in the kidney diet. People with kidney disease experience more inflammation and have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those without kidney problems. 

If you have kidney disease, it's important that you consult a renal dietitian and follow a kidney diet. Including super foods in your kidney diet eating plan can help you increase your intake of nutrients and antioxidants.

Here is a list of the top 15 kidney-friendly super foods. These foods are good for everyone, not just people with kidney disease, so by using them in your family's meals, you'll be helping your loved ones enjoy good health, too. 

Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are a good choice for those concerned about kidney health, because they're low in potassium. 

In addition, they add color and taste to any dish, while packing a generous portion of vitamins A, C, B6, folic acid and fiber. They also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which protects against certain types of cancer. 

If you're following the kidney diet, it's easy to add red bell peppers to your food plan. Mix them into tuna or chicken salad or eat raw with dip. Roasted, they're great for topping sandwiches or green salads. Chop them up for use in egg dishes, such as omelets or scrambled eggs, add them to kabobs for grilling or stuff them with a ground beef or turkey mixture for a tasty baked entrée.

Crunchy cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable filled with phytochemicals, chemical compounds found in certain fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals work to break apart free radicals. Many phytochemicals are believed to combat cancer and support cardiovascular health.  

Inexpensive cabbage is a great addition to your eating plan, because it's also high in vitamins K and C, high in fiber and a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid, yet it's low in potassium, so it's especially kidney-friendly. 
If you're following the dialysis diet, add cabbage by turning it into coleslaw or use as a topping for fish tacos. Cabbage can be boiled, steamed or microwaved and then enjoyed with a touch of butter or cream cheese and a sprinkling of pepper or caraway seeds. Other nutritious meal options include cabbage rolls and stuffed cabbage.

Another kidney-friendly super food is cauliflower. This cruciferous 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. 

Cauliflower can be eaten raw with dip or in salads. Steamed or boiled, it can be seasoned and turned into a great side dish. You can even mash cauliflower as a dialysis-friendly replacement for mashed potatoes.

Garlic is good for reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol. It also has antioxidant and anti-clotting properties. (Cooking garlic will not affect its antioxidant properties, but it will reduce its anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory effects.) 

If you're following the dialysis diet, use garlic powder instead of garlic salt to add extra flavor to your meals without adding extra sodium. Garlic can be used in cooking many dishes: meat, vegetables or tomato sauce, for instance. Once you start cooking with garlic, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Another popular food used for seasoning is the onion. Onion is full of flavonoids, particularly quercetin. 

Flavonoids are natural chemicals that prevent the deposit of fatty material in blood vessels and add pigmentation (color) to plants. 

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help reduce heart disease and protect against many forms of cancer. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Low in potassium, onions are not only kidney-friendly; they also contain chromium, a mineral that assists your body with the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.  
Onions can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety dishes.

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.  
Renal-friendly apples can be eaten raw or cooked. Or get their health benefits by drinking apple juice or cider.

These tasty berries get their blue color from antioxidant compounds called anthocyanidins. 
Blueberries get high marks for nutrition, thanks to natural compounds that reduce inflammation and lots of vitamin C and fiber. 
They also contain manganese, which contributes to healthy bones. 

Use blueberries to top off your morning cereal, whip them up in a fruit smoothie or enjoy them in a baked treat, such as muffins or crisp.

Cherries are filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect your heart. When eaten daily, they have been shown to reduce inflammation.  

Fresh cherries make a delicious snack. Of course, cherry pie is a popular dessert, but there's also cherry crisp, cherry cheesecake and even cherry coffee cake. Cherry sauce makes a nice accompaniment to lamb or pork.

Cranberries are great for preventing urinary tract infections, because they make urine more acidic and help keep bacteria from attaching to the inside of the bladder. 
They've also been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease. 

Although we think of cranberries as a holiday side dish, cranberry juice can be enjoyed daily for added nutrition. Or toss a handful of dried cranberries into your cereal or salad.

Raspberries contain a compound called ellagic acid, which helps neutralize free radicals. The berry's red color comes from antioxidants called anthocyanins. Raspberries are packed with fiber, vitamin C and manganese. They also have plenty of folate, a B vitamin. Raspberries have properties that help stop cancer cell growth and the formation of tumors. 

Sprinkle fresh raspberries on cereal, or whip them up in a kidney-friendly fruit smoothie.

Strawberries are rich in two types of antioxidants, plus they contain lots of vitamin C, manganese and fiber. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and also help keep your heart healthy. 

Like most berries, they're wonderful on cereal or in smoothies. Add whipped topping for a quick dessert, or puree them for a fresh addition to pound or angel food cake.

Red Grapes
The color in red grapes comes from several flavonoids. These are good for your heart, because they prevent oxidation and reduce the chance of blood clots. One flavonoid in grapes, resveratrol, may boost production of nitric oxide, which increases muscle relaxation in blood vessels for better blood flow. Flavonoids also help protect you from cancer and prevent inflammation.  

Choose those with red or purple skin grapes for the highest flavonoid content. Eat grapes as a snack. When frozen, they make a good thirst-quencher for those on a fluid-restricted diet. Add grapes to fruit or chicken salad. Or drink grape juice.

Wild salmonAnother high-quality source of protein is fish, especially cold-water fish (because they contain more fat). 

Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend that you include fish in your meal plan two or three times a week. 

Besides being a great source of protein, fish contains anti-inflammatory fats called Omega-3s. These healthy fats help prevent diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.  They also help lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (the good cholesterol).

The types of fish that have the most Omega-3s are wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring and rainbow trout. 

Note: Avoid any farm-raised fish because of the dyes and other contaminants, plus they contain a lot less Omega-3 fats because of what they're fed.

Olive Oil
Research has shown that people in countries where olive oil is used instead of other types of oils tend to have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. This is believed to be due to olive oil's many good components: oleic acid, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid which protects against oxidation and polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation and oxidation. 

Use virgin or extra virgin olive oil – they're higher in antioxidants. Olive oil can be used in cooking or to make salad dressing, as a dip for bread and as a marinade for vegetables.

Note: Other top foods/beverages for the kidneys include: lemons, limes, celery, organic apple cider vinegar, raw green juice, and filtered water.

Note: For more information about kidney health, refer to Chapters 14 and 15 of the Death to Diabetes book.

Top Foods for the Kidneys