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In this issue of our dietitians’ newsletter we bring tips and know how to help you aim for your best health:

  • A plant based Mediterranean diet for your kidneys
  • Boil some chestnuts while they last
  • Anti-zit eating for your teen
  • Surprising facts about everyday water
  • Feature video: The future of food as medicine with Dr Sue Radd

A Plant Based Mediterranean Diet Slows Kidney Decline

We’ve just celebrated Kidney Health Week! But you may not have heard much about the importance of a healthy diet for your kidneys

Yet lifestyle and dietary habits influence your kidney function. Indeed, they play a key role in the prevention and development of chronic kidney disease (CKD) - something that is usually not discussed enough in this era where people have access to dialysis machines.

Chronic Kidney Disease

CKD is a global health problem that affects more than 10% of the population. You might even know somebody who is needing to go three times per week to have their blood dialysed (cleaned by a machine) since their kidneys can no longer do this job properly.
While kidney function also declines naturally with ageing, this decline is accelerated if you have chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Healthy Plant Based Diets are Beneficial

Research has previously shown that plant based diets – particularly the Mediterranean diet - seem ideal to protect us from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and to preserve kidney function. However, no study has looked at which eating patterns are most effective in managing CKD in people who also have coronary heart disease. This is important to know as such people will experience faster declines in their kidney function, as mentioned above.

That is, no study until now.

Mediterranean Diet vs. a Low Fat Diet

An examination of research data collected from more than 1000 people with existing heart disease (from the CORDIOPREV study in Spain) compared those who were placed on a Mediterranean diet versus a low fat diet for five years.

In brief, the Mediterranean diet is characterised by being rich in minimally processed plant foods and extra virgin olive oil, and by being much lower in meats and dairy. So people in this group had a higher intake of foods like nuts, extra virgin olive oil and oily fish, whereas they had a low intake of red/processed meat and commercially made biscuits, pastries and other bakery products compared to people in the low fat group.

Importantly, kidney function was measured in all participants at the start of the study and after five years of having been on these diets.

Although kidney function declined in both diet groups with the five years of ageing (determined by measuring the filtration rate of blood through the kidneys), the Mediterranean diet produced a slower decline in those people with heart disease who also had type 2 diabetes and mildly impaired kidney function (60 ml to less than 90 ml/minute) to start off with. However, no differences were found in the rate of kidney function decline between the diet groups if they didn’t have diabetes or their kidney function decline was advanced to begin with.

The Bottom Line

A plant based Mediterranean diet long term, as compared to a low fat diet, may help preserve kidney function - especially if you have previously experienced a heart attack or other heart problems, you have diabetes and your GP has mentioned that your blood test result now indicates your kidneys are starting to fail.

Ask our experienced dietitians how you can adopt more of a delicious Mediterranean way of eating. They have particular expertise in this area. Don’t delay as this diet is already proven to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes in the first place. It may also make you happier!


“Let nothing which can be treated by diet be treated by other means.” - Maimonides

What’s Cooking Announcement Coming Soon

Our award-winning Culinary Medicine cooking and nutrition workshops (cookshops) are designed to improve your success with healthy eating and give you inspiration in the kitchen! You will not only enjoy an unforgettable culinary adventure but see medical nutrition advice translated into 'what to eat for dinner'.

As we are not taking bookings at the moment, please contact us on 9899 5208 or to register your expression of interest for future cookshops. In the meantime, we continue to bring you content via our website, social media and monthly E-Newsletters.

Food Matters – Teen Health and Acne

Is your teenager suffering from acne? Maybe it’s time to review their diet. You could introduce them to anti-zit eating and boost their self confidence.

Food In Focus – Why Water Means Life

Are you slacking off with your water intake? The onset of cooler weather can be a trigger. Yet this pure drop is vital to protect you from many problems ranging from kidney stones to constipation. It can also beautify your skin. Watch this short interview with Dr Radd for a boost of motivation:

Recipe – Boiled Chestnuts

Chestnuts are in season and they won’t last long. Haven’t cooked them before? No problem. Try this super easy way of boiling chestnuts. Their creamy sweet flesh will have you coming back for more. Chestnuts are a whole food. As a snack, they beat out processed biscuits on many fronts.

Video – The Future of Food as Medicine with Dr Sue Radd

Does what you eat really matter? Can food prevent or even treat disease? How much control do you have over your health and wellbeing?

Grab a cuppa and get comfy. Watch this 30-minute eye-opening presentation given at the beautiful Empire Theatre in Toowoomba to learn the answers.

What you eat matters more than you might think. Share this information with your friends.
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