Keeping your kidneys healthy

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 that may be 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.

Watch your blood pressure

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

Don't smoke or drink too much alcohol

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. Smoking and drinking too much alcohol raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney disease.

Read more about how to stop smoking.

Read more about how to cut down on alcohol.

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, every 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).

Page last reviewed: 20/03/2015

Next review due: 30/11/2017


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