Did you know that one in three Americans has an increased risk of developing kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, and family history? You may argue that you dont have any of those risk categories, but you still need to take care of these critically vital organs. Heres how to keep your kidneys healthy. 

What do kidneys do? 

Your kidneys are about the size of your fist. They are located at the bottom of your rib cage, on both sides of your spine. 

They perform several important functions in our body. Their most important function is to filter waste products, excess water, and other impurities from your blood. These waste products are stored in your bladder and expelled through urine.  

Your kidneys also regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels in your body. Moreover, they produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. 

All these important functions and more make it necessary for you to take care of your kidneys. Keeping your kidneys healthy means helping your body function properly and optimally.  

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5 Steps to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy 

Drink plenty of water 

Although theres no magic effect in the cliché advice of drinking eight glasses of water a day, it helps keep you hydrated. Regular and consistent water intake is good for your kidneys. 

Water helps eliminate sodium and toxins from your kidneys, and it lowers your risk of chronic kidney disease. 

Its essential to keep yourself sufficiently hydrated to help your kidneys function properly. Check if your urine is straw-colored. If its darker, then you may be dehydrated. 

Aim for at least 1.5 to 2 liters in a day. If you are involved in activities that make you sweat, such as exercising, you need to make sure that you are drinking more water than usual. 

If you had kidney stones previously, you should drink even more water to prevent stone deposits in the future.  

Keep an active lifestyle 

Regular exercise does not only make your waistline smaller, but it also helps lower the risk of chronic kidney disease. Additionally, exercise can reduce blood pressure and boost heart health, which helps prevent kidney damage. 

Going to the gym may be difficult in this pandemic time, but you have plenty of options to exercise. Walking, running, cycling, and even dancing are some of the activities you can do to keep yourself active.  

Monitor your blood sugar 

As mentioned earlier, certain conditions put you at a higher risk of developing kidney disease. People with diabetes, a condition that causes high blood sugar, may damage your kidneys.  

Diabetes causes your bodys cells not to process glucose (sugar) properly, so your kidneys have to work extra hard to filter your blood. When this extends for a period of time, it can lead to life-threatening damage.  

In other words, controlling your blood sugar means reducing your risk of kidney damage. Make sure to consult with your doctor regularly, so you can take proactive steps to reduce or prevent further damage. 

Watch your blood pressure 

High blood pressure has no symptoms, but it can increase your risk of kidney and heart problems. Thus, make sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly. 

healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80. Prehypertension is between that point and 139/89. At this point, you may need to make some lifestyle and dietary changes to help lower your blood pressure. 

If you are consistently getting a blood pressure reading of above 140/90, you may have high blood pressure. If this is the case, you should talk to your doctor about some steps you can take to prevent further complications, which may possibly include taking medication. 

Eat healthy diet 

Overweight or obese individuals have a high risk for a number of health conditions that can harm the kidneys.  

Aim for fresh ingredients that are low in sodium, such as cauliflower, blueberries, fish, whole grains, and more. Avoid high-sodium diet, processed meats, and other unhealthy foods to minimize your risk of developing kidney disease.