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5 Tips to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy



(NC) Did you know that kidneys are very important to your health? They’re just as important as your heart or lungs, working hard to remove waste from the blood, regulate water, help balance the body’s minerals and produce important hormones.

Taking care of your kidneys is part of maintaining overall body health. Follow these simple tips from The Kidney Foundation to help yours stay in top shape:

1. Be physically active. One of the most powerful things you can do for your health is move your body. Exercising for 30 minutes three to five times a week is recommended, but even small amounts have health benefits. Start slow, find activities that you enjoy, and consider buddying up to stay motivated.

2. Follow a healthy diet. What you eat affects your kidneys, so limit foods that can cause them extra strain. Try cutting back on salt. Most of our sodium comes from prepared foods such as canned soup, frozen entrées, processed meats, and snack foods. Replace these products with fresh and homemade foods instead. When you cook, flavor your food with seasonings that suit your specific kidney diet such as pepper, onions, garlic, lime, lemon, or vinegar.

3. Drink alcohol in moderation. Low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines recommend no more than two drinks a day, 10 per week, for women, and no more than three drinks a day, 15 per week, for men. Try not drinking on some days each week and switch to fruit-infused tea or water to quench your thirst.

4. Reduce your stress. Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Staying active can help you manage stress, while also lifting your mood and helping you sleep better at night. Other ways to boost feelings of calm include meditating, keeping in touch with friends and family, and limiting screen time.

5. Know your risk factors. Since there are often no warning signs when your kidneys begin to fail, knowing your risk of kidney disease is essential. Your risk is higher if you smoke; are at an unhealthy weight; have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart problems; or are over 65.

If you’re concerned, talk with your doctor about your risk factors and how often you should have your kidneys checked. If caught early, kidney disease is manageable. All it takes to find out are some simple blood and urine tests.

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