The kidneys perform two vital functions for the body: regulating body fluids and excreting toxic wastes. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse notes that when the kidneys are healthy, they filter and clean the blood and send waste out of the body through urine. Keeping the kidneys healthy involves various factors, including diet, exercise and managing medical conditions. Individuals with existing kidney dysfunctions or conditions that can impair the kidneys, such as diabetes, have to take extra precautions to maintain kidney health to prolong quality of life.
Lose excess weight. According to the National Kidney Foundation, obesity increases the risk for developing kidney disease due to raising blood pressure and increasing the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Determine how much weight you need to lose to improve overall health. Start walking, jogging or begin a regimented exercise program daily to lose weight. Change your dietary habits to reduce saturated fat intake, which can boost the risk of developing medical conditions that can cause kidney damage. Get a physical exam to determine pre-existing medical conditions and discuss the best diet plan with your physician for improving kidney health.
Stop drinking alcohol. Chronic alcohol use causes kidney damage, impairs fluid balance and prevents proper excretion of waste from the body, notes Alcohol Health and Research World. Alcohol changes how the kidneys regulate fluids and electrolytes in the body. Attempt to stop drinking alcohol in excess or abstain altogether. If you must drink alcohol, try to moderate use to no more than six drinks a week.
Try a natural kidney cleanse. Kidney cleanses serve to detox the urinary system to keep the kidneys healthy or dissolve kidney stones. The Natural Path Online suggests drinking 8 oz. of unfiltered apple juice mixed with 20 drops of hydrangea root tincture daily up to four times for three weeks to improve kidney health. You can also combine a parsley capsule, 15 drops of marshmallow root or a ginger root capsule to the formula for cleansing the kidneys. In addition to the cleansing, drink up to three liters of water daily to flush the system, notes MayoClinic.com.
Eat a low-phosphorus diet. Healthy kidneys regulate the level of phosphorus present in the blood. However, damaged kidneys do not serve this function well and require you to change your diet to prevent elevated phosphorus levels. MayoClinic.com explains that foods high in phosphorus are generally also high in protein, such as meats, dairy and beans. Replace ice cream and yogurt with sherbet or fruits, eat broth-based soups instead of those packed with milk, beans or lentils and consider using refined grains instead of whole grains. Check with your physician about changing your diet and other considerations needed for other existing health concerns.
Avoid daily use of painkillers with acetaminophen. Excessive use of painkillers with acetaminophen can cause kidney damage, notes the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. If you are taking an aspirin supplement for your heart, discuss the effects with your physician to maintain kidney health.