Blue Water Healthy Living

Healthy Kidneys

By Charlyn Fargo

If you want to help your kidneys, add more seafood to your diet.

Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood were associated with a moderately lower risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in kidney function, according to a study published in the journal, The BMJ. But interestingly, associations weren’t found with higher levels of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids, only seafood.

Chronic kidney disease affects 700 million people worldwide and can lead to kidney failure and even death.

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Earlier studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may have beneficial effects on kidney function. The Dietary Guidelines and the American Heart Association both recommend two servings of seafood a week, to boost dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health and the University of New South Wales pooled results of 19 studies from 12 countries looking at links between levels of biomarkers of omega 3s (EPA, DHA, DPA and ALA) and chronic kidney disease. Dietary sources of EPA, DHA and DPA come from seafood, while ALA is found mainly in plants (nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables).

Overall, more than 25,500 participants were included in the analysis with an average age ranging from 49 to 77. After accounting for other factors, higher levels of seafood were associated with an 8% lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Researchers wrote that while the findings don’t prove a causal relation between seafood and chronic kidney disease risk, the results support current clinical guidelines that recommend adequate intake of seafood (two servings a week) as part of a healthy diet.

The bottom line: Eating two servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, can help your kidneys and your heart.

Q and A

Q: Are energy drinks harmful?

A: The Food and Drug Administration classifies energy drinks as supplements, which don’t undergo an approval process for safety and potency. That means there is a potential for inaccurate labels. For those trying to manage intake of caffeine or other stimulants, as well as those on medications where contraindications are a concern, energy drinks may pose a problem. Other vulnerable populations include those younger than 18, pregnant and lactating women and those taking stimulants or other caffeine-based medications. For most of us, regular consumption of energy drinks can cause more harm than good. We get energy from food (calories). Stimulants in energy drinks only give the illusion of energy.


Looking for a good breakfast? Try this breakfast burrito from the Mayo Clinic Diet cookbook. It gives you a serving of vegetables as well as protein for the morning. It’s also low sodium, high in fiber and quick to prepare. You can also double or triple it and freeze the extras.


Servings: 1

1/2 cup chopped tomato

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1/4 cup canned corn (no salt added)

1/4 cup egg substitute

1 whole wheat flour tortilla, 6-inch diameter

2 tablespoons salsa

In a small skillet, add the chopped tomato, onion and corn. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and moisture is evaporated. Add the egg substitute and scramble with the vegetables until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Spread the egg mixture in the center of the tortilla and top with salsa. Fold both sides of the tortilla up over the filling, then roll to close. Serve immediately. Serves 1.

Per serving: 231 calories; 12 grams protein; 34 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fat; 1 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams fiber; 519 milligrams sodium.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with SIU Med School in Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at


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