Best habits to keep your kidney healthy

by | Health & Fitness |

Best habits to keep your kidney healthy

Your kidneys work hard for you, day in and day out. Kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in your lower back on either side of your spine. They release hormones that regulate blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production. They also maintain fluid levels inside you, filter waste, aid in activating vitamin D and balance your sodium, potassium, and phosphorous. Most people don’t give kidney health much thought − until these vital organs stop working.

It is well known that people with kidney disease are much more likely than the general population to develop heart and blood vessel disease. This increased risk is related to kidney disease and other health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure as well as certain lifestyle factors including being overweight and smoking. For this reason, it’s very important for kidney patients to take steps to help prevent heart and blood vessel problems.

 

You can do a number of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and keep them as healthy as possible at every stage of life.

So, here is the list of best habits to keep your kidney healthy.

 

  • Adopt a healthy diet. The vast majority of kidney problems stem from other medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. So it makes sense to reduce your risk of those chronic conditions by eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Not only will this style of eating help control weight and blood pressure, but it may also stave off other diseases, such as cancer.

  • You should stay hydrated. Your kidneys need sufficient fluid to clear sodium and flush out toxins. And while there’s no clear-cut guideline regarding the exact amount of water and other fluids you should drink daily to maintain good health, most experts recommend sipping 1.5 to 2 liters daily. Just keep in mind that your fluid needs depend on various factors including gender, fitness level, climate, health conditions and whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have previously suffered from kidney stones or kidney disease.

  • Exercise regularly. Engaging in regular physical activity is just as important as developing healthy eating habits. Both help prevent weight gain and keep blood pressure levels in check. Keeping trim and fit helps the kidneys continue to function as long as possible. Just don’t go overboard. Extreme activity, particularly when you’re not already fit and healthy, can put undue stress on the kidneys.

  • Control your blood sugar and check it regularly – 90% of all diabetes cases are type 2, which is 100 percent preventable and reversible

  • Know your blood pressure – 20% of people with high blood pressure don’t know they have it because they exhibit no symptoms

  • Stop cigarette smoking. Smoking wreaks havoc on your blood vessels, decreasing the flow of blood not only to the kidneys but to all of your vital organs. And when the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they won’t work as well as they should. To make matters worse, smoking raises blood pressure levels and increases your risk of heart disease.

  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Avoid refined sugars and flours that induce rampant inflammation.

  • Keep medications in check. Many medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, filter through the kidneys to be cleared from the human body. Even seemingly “healthy” supplements can harm your kidneys. Herbs and supplements may increase toxins in the body and affect the kidney cells directly. Before buying supplements, visit authoritative health care websites to read up on potential risks.

  • Keep up with your doctor visits. Some of the tests that your doctor does at a checkup can show you clues about how well your kidneys are working.

  • Reduce sodium in your diet. Be sure to stay away from processed foods and choose fresh fruits and vegetables.  Reduce foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol like eggs, whole milk, cheese, and fried foods.

  • Eat more foods that are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These include cold water fish like salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout and sardines, and other foods like flaxseed oil, canola oil, and walnuts.

  • Reduce high cholesterol levels. High blood levels of fats like cholesterol increase your chance of developing heart and blood vessel problems.

  • A good night’s rest is extremely important to your overall well-being and, it turns out, your kidneys. Kidney function is regulated by the sleep-wake cycle which helps coordinate the kidneys’ workload over 24 hours.

  • Heavy drinkers who also smoke have an even higher risk of kidney problems. Smokers who are heavy drinkers have about five times the chance of developing chronic kidney disease than people who don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess.

 

 

 

Often, your kidneys simply become affected by other medical conditions. The most important thing you can do to keep your kidneys safe is to take care of your body to reduce your chances of developing diseases that put a strain on your kidneys.



 

Stock photo from svtdesign