Develop these Healthy Habits to Safeguard your Kidneys

Most people take their kidney function for granted-that is, until they develop a problem. Not all kidney problems are life threatening, but they can be bothersome. Develop the following healthy habits to keep yours functioning properly.

Drink Plenty of Water

The most important thing you can do to promote healthy kidney function is to drink plenty of water. Six to eight glasses each day is recommended, or more if you are performing strenuous activities that cause you to sweat a lot. Whenever possible, drink water that has been carefully filtered to remove chlorine and fluoride.

While a certain amount of water is needed, drinking too much can be just as harmful as not consuming enough. Overhydrating causes an additional strain on the kidneys that over time could lead to them malfunctioning.

Watch your Diet

The ideal diet for kidney health is one that is low in sodium and fat.  Limit your salt intake to no more than five to six grams per day, and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and low in fat.

Drink alcohol only in moderation. Chronic drinking puts an additional strain on the liver, in which case the kidneys will have to work harder in order to filter blood.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you are overweight, your kidneys undergo the unnecessary strain caused by removing waste from a larger area. You must maintain a normal weight to alleviate this burden and reduce your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Eating right is only part of the equation, as exercise is also needed to burn unwanted fat and ensure a healthy blood flow to your organs.

Monitor your Health

High blood pressure and diabetes are two conditions that can have an adverse effect on the kidneys. Those with high blood pressure often do not display any symptoms, so you should not assume that yours is good just because you are feeling fine. Likewise, changes in blood sugar can wreak havoc on the kidneys and lead to long term damage. Have a fasting blood sugar test performed at least once per year, or more often if you have a family history of diabetes.

Limit your Use of Medications

Many medications, even over-the-counter ones such as ibuprofen, can negatively affect the kidneys. You are at an especially high risk if you take NSAIDs or ibuprofen on a regular basis to manage pain. If you can’t do without these drugs, you’ll need to have your kidney function closely monitored to ensure you are not suffering any ill side effects.

Another category of drug that can cause kidney damage is the statins used to treat high blood pressure. This is another reason to keep a close check on your blood pressure, as you are more likely to control hypertension with diet and lifestyle changes when you catch it early on.

Even if you are genetically predisposed to kidney problems, there are plenty of things you can do to keep them healthy. Follow these tips, and you should see an improvement in the way your kidneys function.