Kidneys act as your body’s natural filter. A pair of healthy kidneys can filter about half a cup of blood per minute, removing waste and toxins from your body. Kidneys also serve to regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in your body.
So, as you can imagine, it is important to take good care of your kidneys and keep them functioning correctly. Improving kidney health isn’t as difficult as you might think. The following simple changes may help to keep your kidneys healthy and strong for years to come.
1. Stay Hydrated
One of the best things you can do to improve kidney health is to drink plenty of water. Water helps flush out toxins and other waste in your system, allowing the kidneys time to filter them away. Therefore, it is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Dehydration and drinking too much caffeine can place a lot of stress on the kidneys and lead to health problems such as kidney stones.
In addition, heavy alcohol consumption may cause kidney damage over time and even lead to acute kidney failure. Heavy drinking may also increase the risk of developing hypertension, which is a leading cause of kidney failure—those who binge drink regularly double the risk of developing kidney disease.
2. Avoid Smoking
Smoking puts a strain on your kidneys by increasing the work needed to filter out toxins and waste. As a result, smoking may decrease kidney function over time and increase your risk of developing kidney cancer.
In addition, smoking damages your blood vessels, including those in your kidneys, making slower blood flow a significant problem. Slower blood flow may also worsen kidney disease in those who already have it by making the kidneys work harder to filter out toxins and waste.
3. Be Active
Another way to improve kidney health is to be active. Exercise helps the body better regulate blood pressure and fluid balance, which takes some of the load off of the kidneys. Exercising even just a few times a week can help improve kidney function and overall health.
4. Limit Your OTC Pill Intake
While over-the-counter pills can be helpful when taken in moderation, they can place a lot of stress on the kidneys if taken excessively. Common OTC medications that can harm your kidneys include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
NSAIDs may harm the kidneys by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that help protect the kidneys from damage. Blocking prostaglandins may lead to decreased blood flow to the kidneys, which may be cause for acute injury.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your kidneys are in charge of eliminating waste and toxins for everything you put into your body. So, it is important that you eat a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods. Some good choices for keeping your kidneys healthy include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Limit Sodium Intake
Be sure to limit your salt intake, as having high sodium levels makes it difficult for your kidneys to remove waste from your body. When this happens, fluids begin to back up in your body and may cause a rise in blood pressure.
Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Like sodium, be sure to limit your intake of added sugars. While sugar itself doesn’t damage the kidneys, having high blood sugar levels can. High blood sugar levels cause the body to release more sugar in the urine. If your kidneys are healthy, this should not be a problem. However, if you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to remove sugar from the urine, which may lead to kidney damage.
Limit Animal-Based Protein
It is also important to limit your protein intake, especially animal-based proteins. This is because a high protein diet may create more wastes than the kidneys can process. In fact, one telltale sign of having kidney damage is finding protein in your urine, also called proteinuria.
Contact Summit Medical Clinic
Summit Medical Clinic specializes in advanced nephrology and kidney care. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of a kidney problem, contact Summit Medical Clinic by calling (719) 630-1006 or by clicking here to schedule an appointment today.