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Keeping your kidneys healthy

Five lifestyle changes to help keep your kidneys functioning well, including staying hydrated and eating healthily.

Kidneys are vital to your overall health, so it's important to look after them. Five simple lifestyle steps can help you keep them in good shape.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluid will help your kidneys function properly. Your urine should be straw-coloured. If it's any darker it may be a sign of dehydration.

During hot weather, when travelling in hot countries or when exercising strenuously, you need to drink more water than usual to make up for the fluid lost by sweating.

Eat healthily

A balanced diet ensures you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and grains such as wholewheat pasta, bread and rice. Don't eat too much salty or fatty food.

Read eight tips for healthy eating.

Watch your blood pressure

Have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure has no symptoms, but it can increase your risk of kidney and heart problems.

You can get a simple, quick and painless blood pressure check free of charge at your GP surgery and many high street pharmacies.

If your blood pressure is higher than it should be, your GP can suggest lifestyle changes or, if necessary, prescribe medication to reduce your blood pressure.

An ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

Read more about how to prevent high blood pressure.

Don't smoke or drink too much alcohol

Try to stop smoking completely and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

Both men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.

Read more about how to cut down on alcohol.

Drinking too much alcohol and smoking both raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney disease.

Keep slim to help your kidneys

Being too heavy raises your blood pressure, which is bad for your kidneys. Try to keep yourself at a healthy weight by keeping active and not overeating.

Your body mass index (BMI) is a helpful way of checking whether you're a healthy weight. You can use the healthy weight calculator to work out your BMI.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walkingcycling or swimming, every week.

Read more about how to lose weight.

Also, see the physical activity guidelines for adults under 65 and the physical activity guidelines for older adults (65 and over).

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