The kidney is one of the most important organs in our body as it plays a crucial role in removing waste products from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels. Every day, these organs, which are placed below your rib cage on either side of your spine, filter about 180 ml of blood daily to sift out about 800 ml of waste products and excess water. Hence, it is very imperative to keep our kidney healthy in order to perform well.
While preventing the build-up of wastes and excess fluid, the kidneys also keeps electrolyte levels stable and produce hormones that make red blood cells. People who have high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney failure are at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease. But even if you don’t fall into one of those high-risk categories, it’s important to keep your kidneys healthy.
Here are five lifestyle changes one can follow to keep your kidneys healthy and perform well.
Keep yourself hydrated
Drinking plenty of water will help kidney function properly. An average 70 kg individual requires around 2500 ml water to avoid dehydration. Your body is well hydrated if your urine is straw-coloured; if it is darker, it is an indicator to increase more fluids in your meals. Discoloration of urine can also be due to some medications. Reduce the intake of diuretics in the food as they can make your body produce more urine, and they cause you to lose sodium and water.
Screen yourself regularly
As per a report, in India, diabetes and hypertension account for about 40-60% cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Therefore, if you have a history of any of the co-morbidities screen yourself regularly and keep the levels in the target range. Discuss with your doctors and understand the best desired range for you. Get your A1C test at least twice a year, but ideally up to four times a year. If your blood pressure is high, check it frequently and get it under control to make sure your kidneys stay fit. Following a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet helps to reduce blood pressure.
Healthy and balanced diet provide you ample vitamins and minerals for proper function of the organs and to preserve health. No single food provides nutrients in the right quantity for good health so avoid monotonous diet; eat a variety of seasonal foods.
Choose natural foods as they are more nutritious than their preserved counterparts. Eat well, but do not over eat as they can lead to obesity. Regular exercise can also help keep your blood pressure and sugar levels under control.
Exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming every week will also help to maintain your kidney in good health
Avoid OTC medications
Avoid over-the counter painkillers, like ibuprofen for everyday pain or joint swelling without doctor’s prescription. These drugs can cause damage to the kidneys if taken too often over a long period.
Smoking can damage blood vessels and increase the chance of high blood pressure. High BP is the major leading cause of kidney failure. People with high blood pressure should talk to their healthcare provider about the available therapy and treatment to wean off smoking.
(Disclaimer: Writer is Mrinal Pandit, Chief Dietician, NephroPlus. The views expressed are a personal opinion.)