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Welcome to our April issue. This month we look at:
If you have ever had a kidney stone, the excruciating pain is something you will most likely never forget, and certainly want to prevent in the future. Kidney stones are rock-like crystals that can form into many shapes and sizes from minerals in your urine. Often crystallisation occurs when there is very little urine and an abundance of mineral waste. But did you know that what you eat can influence your likelihood of getting a stone?
How does diet affect your risk?
Your diet can determine the kind of stones you develop. The body uses food for energy and tissue repair. Whatever is not used for these functions is eliminated as it travels through the bloodstream to the kidneys to be filtered and removed as waste. Understanding the function of your kidneys, it is easy to see that our diet is a major factor in our risk of developing kidney stones. Certainly other factors are at play, including genetic susceptibility, environment, body weight and fluid intake.
What are the different types of kidney stones?
There are four major stone types:
- Calcium stones – they come in two different varieties: calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. Calcium oxalate stones, the more common of the two, are caused by high calcium and high oxalate excretion.
- Uric acid stones – occur when the urine is too acidic. Foods high in purines (a substance found in animal protein such as meat, fish and shellfish) can often be the cause of high uric acid levels in the urine.
- Struvite stones – develop in infected bladders or kidneys.
- Cystine stones – rare and form from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak through the kidneys and into the urine, resulting in crystallisation and stones.
Dietary changes to help prevent kidney stones
While there is no “one diet fits all” approach to preventing kidney stones and stopping their recurrence, our top tips based on the latest evidence will help to guide you on the best direction to take. Chugging enough water every day is the number one recommendation from leading institutions, such as The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. It is recommended you maintain an intake of 2.5 L per day. A good tip is to check the colour of your urine. If it’s dark in colour, you haven’t been drinking enough!
Calcium is present in more stones than any other. So you would think by limiting calcium you would lower your risk. But contrary to expectations, a large prospective study conducted by Curhan and associates (1993) showed there is no more significant risk of stones in males following a low calcium diet compared to those following a higher intake. The same pattern appears in studies focusing on women’s risk (Nurses Health Study I). It appears that maintaining an adequate intake of calcium (approximately 1000 mg per day) will reduce your risk. Importantly, calcium supplements may increase stone risk so it is best to get your dose of calcium through food sources, including low-fat milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts/seeds and fortified soy foods.
Many researchers have studied the role of oxalates in stone formation. And many GPs to this day recommend reducing your intake of oxalate rich foods if you have had or are at risk of kidney stones. No consensus however has emerged, likely due to the complexities of digestion and metabolism of minerals associated with oxalate formation. More evidence is required.
Data regarding risks that come with vitamin C is contradictory. While vitamin C is excreted as citrate, it can also be metabolized and excreted as oxalate. Research from Curhan and associates suggest that grapefruit juice may be harmful for kidney stones. While other researchers have suggest some benefit from other vitamin C containing beverages including orange juice, lemonade and cranberry juice. However more clinical data is needed.
The role of actual sodium (salt) in stone formation is unclear. A high sodium intake provides for less calcium reabsorption to the bloodstream. This leads to larger quantities of calcium being lost through urine. A low-salt diet is thought to increase reabsorption of sodium and calcium in the blood, meaning less travels to the urine via the kidneys and the risk of stone formation is reduced. With kidney disease and high blood pressure being so closely linked, it is a good idea not to go too heavy on the salt!
Magnesium appears to have some use in preventing your stone risk as well. Magnesium is thought to reduce stone risk by binding oxalate in the gut, and helping to eliminate it through urine. Try including foods high in magnesium such as bananas, apples, avocados, dark green leafy veg, low fat dairy, lean meat and seafood.
As for drinks, caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee as well as alcohol are likely not stone forming. There is even a small amount of evidence to suggest coffee/tea and wine “may be beneficial”.
“What I do today is important because I am paying a day of my life for it. What I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.” - Author Unknown
Trying to better manage a chronic medical condition? Then you’ve probably heard you should eat more legumes and wholegrains. But how do you prepare them easily and make them taste good?
Sue Radd is running our super popular cookshop to show you how to cook these ancient superfoods from scratch using kitchen shortcuts. If you’re keen to save time you will also see how to confidently use a pressure cooker so you can try it at home!
Find out why eating a greater variety of legumes and wholegrains can improve your health and boost your intake of protein, iron, zinc, calcium and fibre. Plus learn about some unique disease-fighting phytonutrients, called isoflavones and lignans, and how these interact with your gut flora to keep you well.
Discover why Croatians love eating bean soup – you will too! Wise up on ways with freekah and learn how to make an enticing Persian black eyed bean stew and smooth fig and vanilla polenta pudding that your kids will also love!
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, need to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, tone down chronic systemic inflammation or just get a better handle on weight control, then this is perfect for you!
Wholegrains and legumes should be on most people’s daily diet prescription. Are they on yours?
When: Tuesday 10th May 2016, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
Don’t eat before coming as you will enjoy a delicious four-course tasting menu and receive recipes and handouts too!
Learn more about our cookshops
More than half of the seats are already gone! If you have any interest in this exciting topic call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place.
Sue Radd demystifies the concept of going dairy-free, explaining what you need to do and why your body might thank you for it.
Have you ever noticed how much capsicum you tend to throw away when removing the seeds? Watch this short video to learn a quick trick that will help you get more for your buck!
Do you spend hours in the supermarket not knowing which are the best products to choose? Are you confused by the multiple claims, logos and nutrition panels vying for your attention?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, this event is for you!
To take control of your health, you need to understand how product labels work to compete for a share of your stomach. It’s more than just comparing figures to see what is highest or lowest for a given nutrient. You need independent benchmarks you can carry in your wallet so you won’t be duped by stars, logos and clever marketing.
Join us for a virtual supermarket tour. Throughout our two-hour session you will be coached on how to read the fine print and learn what to look out for, and gain the confidence you need to shop smarter for your whole family. We’ll also get hands-on so you can pick up boxes, cans and other packaging to practise what you learn on the spot!
And you get to take home our pocket shopping guide and list of best brands!
When: Wednesday 25th May 2016, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
What people who attended previous events said:
"Loved it. Learned heaps. Can’t wait to go shopping!"
"The ‘Best Brands’ section answered a lot of questions I've wanted answers to."
"Thank you for opening my eyes a little wider.”
Call today on (02) 9899 5208 to book and take charge of your health!
What’s so fabulous about fennel? Sue dishes out five fascinating ways to make use of this flavoursome veg.
What is it?
Easy Diet Diary is an application for tracking your food intake and physical activity.
How do I use it?
Download the application to your smart device and start tracking. The first step is setting up your profile. You will be prompted to enter in details such as your date of birth, height, weight, gender, energy intake goal and target weight.
You are given the option to track your exercise for those who wish to use it for a food diary only. When starting to enter your food for the day, simply click on the meal type and search the extensive database. A scanning option is also available for convenience and accuracy.
What's the cost?
Where do I get it?
Apple App Store
- Uses all Australian data from Xyris Software, a reliable nutrient analysis database
- Allows you to enter recipes you might use regularly (just make sure you enter number of serves)
- Counts calories and major nutrients (including fibre!!)
- Adjusts calorie allowance to account for exercise
- Allows you to connect with your dietitian and other health professionals
- Keeps you focused and accountable!
- Can become time consuming to enter food and exercise on a daily basis
- Determining your correct energy intake goal is done by choice and is not directed
- Does not account for specific health conditions and/or special dietary requirements
4.5 out of 5 stars.
This app is definitely a useful tool, however we recommend using it in accordance with regular visits with a qualified dietitian to ensure your diet is individualized to your meet your needs.