ASSOC. PROF. DR. BARIŞ AKIN TELLS US THE SECRET TO KEEP OUR VEINS HEALTHY: “MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET LOW ON CHOLESTEROL BY CONSUMING WALNUTS, FRUITS AND FISH, ORANGES, APPLES AND MANDARINS. BEFRIEND WITH BANANAS, APRICOTS AND DRIED FRUITS.”
THE MENU OF THE WEEK
Mahluta Soup (Malatya Style)
Celery with Olive Oil
Grilled Salmon Salad
When we think of our health, our veins usually does not come to our minds despite the fact that they are the vessels, which carry our blood to the different parts of our bodies and therefore the most important organs. If you have healthy veins that means a lot of things are going well with your life. What makes our veins that vital is that they reach every square centimeter of our bodies by a network, which thousands of meters long. Yes, you have heard that right; a human body consist of blood vessels long enough to circle the world twice, in other words 80 thousand and 152 meters. An unhealthy structure of veins could be the cause of many diseases from heart to brain and from kidneys to abdomen. Sometimes even having a bypass surgery or a kidney transplant cannot help. In order to protect your organs from disorders your first priority should be protecting your veins.
According to one of Turkey’s gifted young surgeons Assoc. Prof. Dr. Barış Akin, who had experienced a major duration of education on organ transplant surgery in the USA, the quality of your life and protecting your organs from disorders depend on keeping your veins healthy. He talks about his patients, who could almost eat nothing before their surgery, being able to eat freely after their transplants and notes, “They are allowed to eat everything as long as they don’t gain weight, and that’s enough.” Organ Transplant Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Barış Akin cooks healthy dishes that help to remain a healthy weight and strengthen the structure of veins at his house in Beykoz, Ihlamur Mansions.
What kind of a menu did you prepare for us today?
A menu, which is light in calories and heavy on greens… After their surgeries patients become in a state that they can consume anything they want. Before their surgeries due to their strict diets, most of the patients stay away from bananas and other potassium rich foods and from phosphor rich foods like fish but after their transplants, quite the contrary happens and they feel the need to consume those foods that once forbidden. Therefore, they have a healthier and balanced diet.
Is there anything that they should pay attention?
We ask them to reduce the intake of salt, increase drinking water and remain a healthy weight. What I mean by eating everything is to keep a diet low on carbohydrates and to stay within the rules of a balanced and healthy diet. In other words, the diet should include meats, fish, veggies and fruits but not the kind of foods that are high in calories, fattening and might cause damage to the vein health. We especially ask them to stay away from foods that would increase the level of cholesterol. Since our main goal is to ensure that the wound heals well and reduce its sensitivity against the infections, we ask from our patients to consume enough protein.
When it comes to the diet of patients, are there two distinct periods such as before and after surgery?
Sometimes, drinking even one glass of water is a big sacrifice before the surgery. I think the most important difference is to switch from a state, which you cannot drink water, to another, where you can drink as much as you can. It is not just only water though; they cannot eat fruits, vegetables and foods high in protein. But after the transplant these all change and they become able of eating everything. And this time, the balance is important, they are not supposed to gain weight.
Therefore, you do not want them to gain weight after surgery…
Absolutely! But, unfortunately some of the medications that they have to take may cause an increased appetite and overhydration. Think about it, if you are overweight then you are facing with the risks of heart diseases, diabetes or hypertension. We do not want that. In order to reduce the overhydration, they should not consume instant soups, processed meats or sauces. The medications might reduce the magnesium levels of the blood, so wheat, corn, oat bran, green vegetables, beans, sea food should be preferred. Special regional soups may be prepared.
Which foods are the most sufficient for patients with transplants?
There are some studies done regarding the benefits of walnuts for those patients. Of course, it is not intended to cure but some of my patients told me that they saw the benefits of putting walnuts into their drinking water. One disadvantage of the medications, which they have to use after surgery is that they increase cholesterol levels. Therefore, besides walnuts, which reduce cholesterol levels, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, dried fruits can be eaten. Lean meats also can be consumed but we mostly suggest fish and skinless white meat.
What about fruits and drinks?
Plenty of vitamin C rich oranges, apples and mandarins are supposed to be consumed; bananas, dried fruits and tomatoes can be eaten. Grapefruits might disturb the balance of the medications. Herbal teas may also show adverse effects on medications. As long as their kidneys function they need to be on those medications, in other words they should pay attention to those warnings for a lifetime.
Do you suggest exercising?
We do suggest activities, which they would not force themselves. For instance, half hour of daily walk, swimming in summers and stretching exercises… When their bodies and muscles become stronger, their health would become more stabilized.
1 tea glass of green lentils, 1 coffee cup of split bulgur, 2 onions, 1 tbs of tomato paste, 1 dessert spoon of red pepper paste, 1 tbs of butter, 1 tbs of olive oil, dried mint, salt, black pepper, red pepper to taste
Preparation: Put the green lentils and bulgur into a pot and bring it into a boil. After draining, place them back into the pot and add one liter of water. Start the heat again. Meanwhile, in a skillet sauté the diced onions with olive oil. Add the tomato paste, pepper paste, and spices. Pour the onion mixture over the lentils. Keep stirring while cooking. When it’s ready you can serve it with some red pepper and dried mint flakes on top.
Celery with Olive Oil
3 celery roots, 1 potato, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 tea glass of peas, half of a lemon, 1 cup of orange juice, 1 tea glass of olive oil, salt to taste
Preparation: Cut the roots into small cubes and soak them in little bit of flour and lemon juice added water. Slice the onion, potato and carrot into desired size and put them altogether into a large pot with the celery. Pour some olive oil on top and add the orange and lemon juices. Fill the half of the pot with water. After bringing them into a boil once, simmer until they are soft.
Grilled Salmon Salad
1 fillet of salmon, Mediterranean greens, 1 red onion, fresh green, yellow and red peppers, 1 tbs of olive oil, 1 lemon juice
Preparation: Divide the salmon into small pieces and grill. Grill the sliced peppers and onion rings. On to a plate place the Mediterranean greens and over the greens place the salmon and peppers and onions. Pour some olive oil and lemon juice on top and serve when salmon is still hot.
1 kg of pumpkin flesh, half kg of sugar, 1 tea glass of water, chopped walnuts to top
Preparation: Slice the pumpkin into desired size. Put them into a pot and spread the sugar over them. Rest them for one hour. Add the water. Cook over medium heat until the water is boiled down. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped walnuts. If you wish, you can remove the pot from the heat while the pumpkin is still being boiled down and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.