By: Ana Garcia, CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2021-2022
Healthy kidneys are essential to our well-being since their function is to keep our body in balance by regulating and removing substances, such as minerals, electrolytes, (e.g., calcium, potassium, sodium), acids, and protein in the blood as needed.1 The kidneys also function to produce erythropoietin (a hormone needed to make red blood cells) and turn vitamin D into its active form so it is usable in the body. Kidneys regulate fluid with a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron has a filter known as the glomerulus.2 To know how well our kidneys are functioning, a lab test would measure our glomerular filtration rate (GFR). A GFR consistently below normal is a cause for concern because it indicates that the kidneys cannot properly remove waste products such as ammonia, urea, uric acid, and creatinine from our blood.3 If waste cannot be excreted in the urine, these toxins build up in our body.3 Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the gradual loss of kidney function and is diagnosed when GFR is <60.3 People with CKD must adhere to strict dietary recommendations to prevent further kidney damage and limit waste buildup in the body.
Let’s be honest: there is a misconception that low-sodium meals, or meals low in salt, can be unappetizing and lack some serious flavor. You are probably thinking, “How can I possibly add any flavor to my meals while using less salt?” Well, there are plenty of methods and ingredients that help make meals taste great by using little to no salt at all. Whether you are looking to decrease your sodium intake for health reasons, or are curious and excited about cooking new recipes, let’s explore the different ways we can make tasty, low-sodium meals packed with flavor!
You’re probably aware of all about the hype surrounding prebiotics and probiotics. However, have you ever wondered what are they exactly? How can you consume more of them? And, do you have to break the bank to make them a part of your diet?
Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland whose main job is to make thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones play a vital role in regulating many cellular activities in our body and help to control metabolism, regulate body temperature, and ensure that our main organs work efficiently.1
Did you know that every 36 seconds, one person dies from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the United States?1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CVD is highly prevalent in the United States and is the leading cause of death for men and women.1 CVD encompasses the multiple conditions that affect the function of the heart and blood vessels, including blood vessel disease, heart valve disease, heart infection, congenital heart defects, heart rhythm problems, and disease of the heart muscle.1 Coronary artery disease (CAD) happens to be the most common form of heart disease in the United States.1 Physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, and use of tobacco are the leading risk factors that contribute to heart disease.1 Diet is of significant importance since it can impact CAD by mitigating or encouraging the progression of heart disease.
What exactly are artificial sweeteners? What are they used for? What is known about their impact on health? We are going to address all of those questions here and let you decide where you stand on this hot topic.
By: Ana Garcia, CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2021-2022
Discussing bowel movements, commonly known as “poop”, may be an uncomfortable or embarrassing topic. However, the frequency of our bowel movements and the consistency of stools actually reveals a lot of useful information regarding our health and diet. After a meal, the coordinated contractions and relaxations of smooth muscles in the gut transport food throughout the intestines so water, electrolytes, and nutrients can be absorbed while waste is eliminated.1 Assuming normal gut function, a person can expect between 3 bowel movements per day to 3 bowel movements per week.2
What is the gut microbiome? The cecum is a specific section of our large intestines that serves as a home to bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, and other microbes and together, this area is known as the gut microbiome. Bacteria and viruses are most commonly known for being associated with illnesses and diseases, but the microbiota that inhabit our gut have a prominent impact on our immune system and other metabolic functions.1
What exactly is cholesterol? We hear about it all the time, but what is it and how does it affect our health? Should you worry about how much of it you eat? Cholesterol seems to have a negative connotation around it everywhere we look. Let’s dig into the research to find out more.
By Noelle Gozzarelli, CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2020-2021
I will be the first to admit – I may have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with my daily cup of coffee. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, I have this excitement brewing inside (no pun intended) because I am looking forward to the aroma of ground coffee and the taste of my favorite frothy milk. My morning and afternoon cups of coffee give me just the right amount of energy I need to get going and to continue going for the workday ahead.