Bloody good blood.

” Say what you like about my bloody murderous government,’ I says, ‘but don’t insult me poor bleedin’ country.”   Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto) (1990)

With all the recent focus on peerage and landed gentry of the United States, and linkages back to distinguished, royal families of Great Britain, it seems to me that it all comes down to blood.

But how much do we understand about the blood in our own bodies? For example, which organ of the human body is most responsible for controlling blood pressure? Most people, when asked, simply do not know.  Not surprisingly, this important fact is not part of most public-education curriculum. 

Your kidneys work 24/7 keeping your blood pressure in check by regulating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0vpn6YVwiI

The key to healthy blood pressure is healthy kidneys.

Blood flow connects to every part of our body. Blood pressure can affect every organ of the body.  So, why don’t we think about our blood pressure more often?  Of course, when we do become alarmed, like when high blood pressure causes heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure, it is hard to not think about. That’s way too late.

The kidney is the center of the action on a “two-way street.”   Hypertension damages the kidney, but damage to the kidney causes hypertension.  A weak kidney doesn’t regulate the blood pressure very well.  High blood pressure damages the small blood vessels inside the kidney.  Double whammy!

Our kidneys do much more than simply regulate blood pressure. Kidneys regulate the pH of the blood, clean the blood and secrete hormones.  The kidneys filter out over 100 waste products out of our blood, but the major waste products like creatinine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen) are what doctors usually track as an indicator of healthy kidney function.

People with damaged kidneys that do manage to regain control their blood pressure expect that miraculously, kidney function will improve.  Not so fast. Controlling the blood pressure can prevent further kidney damage, but the sustained damage from years of abuse and neglect isn’t always reversible.

Symptoms to watch out for include: feeling “jittery,” headaches, insomnia and frequent nose bleeds.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is an important if you want your kidneys to last as the rest of the body.  To maintain your blood pressure and healthy kidneys: Maintain a healthy weight.  Avoid very salty foods – don’t overdo it.  No high fructose corn syrup – it’s not sugar, not even close.  Mineral levels are important, too – maintain healthy magnesium and potassium levels by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially celery.  Drink green tea and don’t forget to laugh.

Only the brain is more concentrated in fat than the kidneys.  So, don’t forget the “good fats.” The “bad” fats cause inflammation and can damage the kidneys.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for the kidneys. Wild, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are excellent, or fish oil or flax seed oil supplements work too.

So, if you want to improve your health, it’s all about the blood and blood pressure. Maybe you want to rule the world.  It’s all about blood.  Prince or pauper, either way, don’t forget to be kind to your blood and your kidneys.

8 thoughts on “Bloody good blood.

  1. Celery is one of the most sprayed crops unless found at the organic farmers’ market. Don’t depend on medical people to know about nutrition. In years past, there were no nutrition classes offered in med school.

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  2. Great information, Steve. Thank you. If I may add a note on high blood pressure in the wake of a family member’s recent experience …

    One largely undiscussed cause of rising BP is insulin resistance, a condition many Americans have due to our sugary, high-(junk-)carb diets and lack of exercise.
    https://www.liverdoctor.com/signs-of-insulin-resistance/

    Intermittent fasting can help raise insulin sensitivity, which in turn lowers blood pressure. I have a work colleague whose mantra is, “In our overfed society, hunger is the feeling of health.” I use this mantra myself when the between-meal munchies set in.

    But no one in the mainstream media talks about the power of fasting to restore health, because none of their advertisers make a buck when you skip a meal!

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    1. In our overfed society, hunger is the feeling of health.” I use this mantra myself when the between-meal munchies set in.

      does this work? that is my downfall snacking at night.
      this mantra may help me

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    1. Here’s what I think I know. Not all salt is created equal. The “iodized” table salt, the cheap stuff, is bleached and processed to the point that it may not qualify as salt at all. There’s not enough iodine to make any difference to offset the usual deficiency in American diets. Sea vegetables contain high amounts of iodine, which is a staple of Japanese diets.

      I know Japanese diets include lots of fermented (pickled, using salt) foods, which aids digestion. So, salt, per capita, statistics may be like comparing apples to oranges. However, American processed food also uses lots of salt. Don’t know how to make a fair comparison using aggregate numbers.

      Most Americans do not drink enough water each day. So, high salt, low water = a processing problem within the body that extends well beyond the “salt issue.” Like most things, (real) salt taken in moderation will benefit health and cause few problems. My .02.

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  3. Nutrition is complex since some people can eat and drink salt, sugar, and alcohol and SMOKE and live into their 90’s (my family). Others, wiped out by all these “bad” things at younger ages. Obviously, there’s a lot at play here that is different in different people. Also enjoying our food and eating slowly is something Americans per se don’t do. Fasting is very excellent as the organs can rest! The Bible often mentions fasting.

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