There is one primary change we can all make to help keep our kidneys healthy and that is to cut the salt! A diet high in salt makes it harder for kidneys to remove toxins and excess fluid and when those build up in your body, your blood pressure increases. High blood pressure is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease. To help manage your blood pressure, your daily goal should be to consume less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium — your doctor may recommend even less. The good news is, there are many ways to keep salt to a minimum in your diet – and you don’t have to sacrifice taste one bit.
Five tips for keeping salt out of your diet
- Cook at home from scratch. Restaurant meals are often laden with salt. One of the best ways to lower your salt intake is to cook at home using fresh, unprocessed ingredients.
- Drain canned goods. Canned goods can make cooking easier but to preserve those foods, salt is added. Drain and rinse beans and other canned foods to remove added salt.
- Throw out packaged seasonings. It’s easy to add seasoning packs to foods without even thinking. But more often than not, these spice packs are loaded with salt. Instead, mix up your own spices to season meat or vegetables. We’ll even help get you started – try our American Favorite Spice Blend on meat, fish or in soups.
- Read the label. Before you purchase any foods from the grocery store, take a look at the nutrition label. Compare nutrition labels of similar products to find the one lowest in sodium.
- Keep a journal. It’s hard to keep track of the sodium you’re eating. One way to help monitor the salt in your diet is to write it down. After every meal, jot down the sodium you just consumed. This will help you see how much sodium you eat each day, and identify meals that are high and low in sodium — making it easier to meal plan the next time you go to the store.
Whether you have chronic kidney disease or not, paying attention to what you eat can have an enormous impact on your health. Talk to your dietitian or doctor to make sure you are following a diet that’s right for you. Stick with it and let us know how it goes! Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
It’s a fact – exercising regularly provides so many benefits, especially for your physical and mental health. Most people, no matter your age, weight or existing health issues, feel better after exercise. People living with chronic kidney disease are no exception. But if you’ve never had a regular exercise regime, it’s important to ease into exercise very slowly. Starting out too strong can result in injuries and turn you off exercise, so talk to your doctor about creating an exercise plan that’s right for you.
Benefits of exercise
People that exercise often:
- Have more enthusiasm and optimism.
- Find it easier to handle stress and anxiety.
- Feel stronger and less tired.
- Sleep better.
- Experience reduced muscle cramps and joint pain.
- Have a better appetite and digestion.
- Have an enhanced mental attitude.
Five exercise activities you can do at home
The good news: you don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym membership to exercise. There are many simple exercise activities that you can do from the comfort of your own home or neighborhood! Here are some of our favorites.
- Yoga. Yoga is a fantastic way to stretch muscles you might not even know need stretching. It’s also great for getting rid of stress, focusing on your breathing and being in the moment. There are great beginner yoga videos out there – search online to find one that suits you. There are also many yoga instructors that offer online classes for free or a small fee. Even just 10 minutes of yoga can make you feel more centered and relaxed. If your mobility is limited, search for ‘chair yoga’ – many yoga poses can be modified for limited mobility while sitting in a chair.
- Lift weights. Strength training not only builds muscle but it also provides a better range of motion and, if done correctly on a regular basis, can reduce the likelihood of injury. It’s also a great activity because it can be done anywhere. Start light – even a can of food in each hand will do.
- Garden. Here’s a win-win – gardening! Not only will you have some beautiful flower beds or vegetables at the end, you’ll get a workout in as well. Pulling weeds and planting seeds is a great way to use arm and back muscles. Just make sure not to overdo it – it’s easy to overextend yourself. Build up to longer stints in the garden over time. And make sure to invest in some kneeling pads – a great added comfort when weeding on your knees.
- Walking. Taking a walk allows you to not only get in some exercise but also breathe in some fresh air and be out in nature. If there are trails nearby, then head to the woods; if not, even a short few laps around your neighborhood offers you the chance to stretch your legs and get in a bit of cardio. Play a podcast or some tunes if you’re heading out solo, or get to know your neighbors by asking them to join you.
- Zumba®. For those who love to crank up the tunes while they workout, look no further than a Zumba® class! There are plenty of classes for free using Zoom so there’s no need to even leave your home. Zumba® is a great way to learn different styles of dance and get a workout in at the same time. It’s fun, lively and a great way to work up a sweat.
Remember, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re choosing activities that are right for you. Stick with it and you’ll likely start to feel the benefits of exercise after just a few sessions. Let us know how it goes! Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.