Love your kidneys

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

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated will help your kidneys function properly. Your urine should be straw-coloured or paler. If it's any darker that's a sign of dehydration.

During hot weather in the summer, 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

Video: how to take care of your kidneys 

A balanced diet ensures you get all the minerals and vitamins 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.

Don't smoke or drink too much alcohol

Smoking and drinking too much alcohol means that your kidneys have to work harder to remove toxins from your blood. Try to stop smoking completely and limit yourself to two small drinks a day for a man and one small drink a day for a woman.

Read more about how to stop smoking.

Read more about how to cut down on alcohol.

Watch the blood pressure

Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Raised blood pressure has no symptoms, but it can increase your risk of kidney problems. A simple, quick and painless blood pressure check is available 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.

Read more about how to prevent high blood pressure.

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 measure of whether you're a healthy weight. To work out your BMI, use this healthy weight calculator.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming, each week a week.

Read more about how to lose weight.

Find out the physical activity guidelines for adults under-65 and those for older adults (65 and over).

How to take care of your kidneys

Your kidneys process a huge volume of fluids and chemicals. Simple lifestyle changes can help keep them functioning healthily.

Media last reviewed: 25/11/2013

Next review due: 25/11/2015

Page last reviewed: 20/03/2013

Next review due: 20/03/2015

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 142 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating

Comments

Services near you

Find addresses, phone numbers and websites for services near you

Water and drinks

Find out how much you need to drink and how to choose healthier soft drinks

Drinking and alcohol

Calculate your units, read about the health risks of drinking too much and find out where to get help and support

Stop smoking

Help with quitting, including what your GP can do, local services and nicotine replacement therapies

Lose weight

Weight loss resources to help you lose weight healthily, including the NHS 12-week diet and exercise plan

Kidney health

Find out about how to look after your kidneys and whether you need to have them checked