February is all about love and this year, it’s time to spread that love to your kidneys. The truth is, they need it! Kidney disease is serious and one in three adult Americans is at risk for it. When your kidneys fail, you need regular dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to survive. The good news is, there are many things you can do right now to prevent kidney disease from happening. Follow the tips below to spread the love to your kidneys and help keep them healthy.
1. Follow a low-sodium diet. Eating foods high in sodium can increase your blood pressure and make your kidneys (and your heart) work harder. Keep your sodium intake under 2,000 milligrams a day. Avoid fast foods and packaged foods, and limit eating out as restaurant meals can be full of sodium. Cook at home, choose fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on and flavor foods with spices instead of salt. Check out our tasty low-sodium recipes and work with your dietitian or doctor on a complete meal plan.
2. Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure can impact arteries around your heart, making them weak and unable to deliver enough blood to your kidneys. Keep your blood pressure in check to help keep your arteries strong.
3. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help you control blood pressure, lose weight, get stronger and sleep better. It can also greatly improve your mood. Start slowly and work up to 30 minutes a day. Check out more fitness tips and work with your doctor to create an exercise plan that’s right for you.
4. Quit smoking. Smoking can slow the blood flow to your kidneys. If you smoke, work with your doctor on a plan to cut back and work towards quitting altogether. Visit smokefree.gov for tips and more information.
5. Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels in your kidneys. Keep your blood sugar at the level your doctor recommends to prevent kidney damage.
Now’s the time to focus on yourself and your health. Don’t put it off! Follow the tips above for a healthier you and let us know how it’s going – share with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Take control of your kidney health with simple daily workouts
Exercise is important for everyone, especially those with kidney disease. Regular exercise can help control blood pressure and may help slow your kidney disease down. At the same time, exercise can help you feel better and more in control. But, starting an exercise program can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! The key is to make a plan, start slow, steadily increase your workouts and always check in with your doctor to make sure your program is right for you.
Be a healthier you this year – make an exercise plan today!
Here are some sample workouts to consider adding to your program.
1. Walk and
talk. Walking out in the fresh air is good for your mental and physical
health. Want some company? You can also use this as a chance to meet up with
someone you haven’t seen in a while. Catching up while exercising will leave
you feeling refreshed and better prepared to take on the day and the challenges
it may bring. Not excited about bundling up in the winter and heading outside?
Head to the mall, go to the gym or walk on the treadmill. Put some headphones on,
listen to a podcast and start walking. As you get more fit, adjust your pace. If
you are on a treadmill, change the ramp settings to add resistance.
2. Yoga at
home. One of the best parts of yoga is the fact that it can be done
virtually anywhere. You don’t need to enroll in a class and you don’t even need
a yoga mat. Simply spread a towel out on your living room floor, find a
beginner yoga video on YouTube and start learning the poses. Finding the
workout too difficult? Not comfortable on the floor? Try yoga on softer grounds
like grass in a park or sand on a beach. Also, you can search for a video that
suits you. Chair yoga, for example, is a popular variation of yoga where the
exerciser does poses while sitting in a chair, or standing up
and using a chair for support. Start with just 10 minutes a day and
build up to 30 minutes. The combination of breathing and stretching makes yoga
a worthwhile practice for emotional and physical health.
3. Pool time. Water aerobics or swimming is a great way to get fit. It helps tone muscles and leaves you feeling refreshed and re-energized. Check your local pool for classes. With the music pumping and a group of others beside you, the time will fly by! Or, just go and swim some laps. Either way, you will get a great workout that is bound to be easier on your joints.
Remember to speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor should be able to suggest some simple exercises right for you—even for 15 minutes a day—that can make a big difference in how you feel and improve your kidney health at the same time. Let us know how your exercise program is going—share your experiences with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Have some exercise Pinterest boards you like to follow? We are on Pinterest, too, and would love to hear about them!
If you have kidney disease, you’ve likely changed your diet to keep healthy. Following the kidney diet can be tough anytime of the year but especially challenging during the holidays, when parties and events, complete with platters of tempting, non-kidney-friendly food, are ever present. Don’t let this keep you away from enjoying fun times with your loved ones this holiday season! Here are five tips for surviving holiday parties and gatherings while sticking to the kidney-healthy diet:
1. Eat beforehand. Don’t show up to a party with an empty stomach. It’s so much harder to stick to your diet when your stomach is rumbling! Eating beforehand will help you avoid temptation and give you more time to focus on why you’re really there—to enjoy good company during the holidays.
2. Offer to bring a kidney-friendly dish. Yes, this means you’re not off the hook for cooking, but it also means you’re guaranteed to have something kidney-friendly to munch on wherever you go. Plus, you’ll be able to introduce other party-goers to a low-salt, kidney-healthy meal, something that’s good for just about everybody! Check out our kidney-friendly recipes if you’re looking for a dish to make.
3. Avoid processed foods, including processed meats. Processed food equals high salt, a definite no. Steer clear of these items; choose low-sodium proteins and fresh foods instead.
4. Control your portions. Have your eye on some tasty treats but know they aren’t particularly kidney-friendly? Have just a taste to satisfy your craving, then use your willpower to move on.
5. Plan an active gathering. If you’re hosting, plan an activity instead of centering the party around food. Going for a walk or a short hike, will take the focus off food and get those endorphins going, leaving everyone feeling good about getting some exercise during the long winter months. Playing board games and family sports is also a nice way to spend quality time and make memories not centered on eating.
You don’t have to avoid holiday parties just because there may be foods you can’t eat. Follow the tips above and you’ll be setting yourself up for a great time with family and friends!