Your kidneys are located on either side of your back. Their main function is to maintain the balance of water and minerals in the body. They also act as a filter system that removes waste products and excess fluid from the body. Your kidneys are vital to your overall health. That’s why taking care of your kidneys should be a top health priority. Maintaining an active lifestyle and nutritious diet may help prevent kidney problems. Try these tips to maintain healthy kidneys:
1. Maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet
People who are overweight are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys. These include diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.
A balanced diet that’s low in sodium, low in processed meats and includes plenty of fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of kidney damage.
Focus on eating: • More fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods • More whole-grain foods, fish, poultry and nuts
Foods to avoid: • Frozen foods • Salty and sugary foods • Caffeine and alcohol • Red meats • Foods that are processed, high in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fats
2. Drink plenty of fluids
Stay hydrated. Regular, consistent water intake is healthy for your kidneys. Water helps clear sodium and toxins from your kidneys. It also lowers your risk of chronic kidney disease.
Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day. Factors like climate, exercise, gender, overall health and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding are important to consider when planning your daily water intake.
3. Keep active and fit
Regular exercise can lower your risk of chronic kidney disease. It can also reduce your blood pressure and boost your heart health, which are both important for preventing kidney damage.
Find an activity that keeps you busy, and have fun! It will be easier to stick to it for great results.
Keep track of your blood pressure
High blood pressure can cause kidney damage. The kidneys have a dense network of blood vessels, and high volumes of blood flow through them. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue, causing disease.
A healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80. Prehypertension is between that point and 139/89. Lifestyle and dietary changes may help lower your blood pressure at this point.
If your blood pressure readings are consistently above 140/90, you may have high blood pressure. You should talk with a doctor about how to monitor your blood pressure regularly, making changes to your lifestyle and possibly taking medication.
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