Are your kidneys happy with what’s on the menu?

 A heart-happy diet gives kidney health a boost too

You’ve heard of heart-healthy eating. But how about kidney-friendly eating?

It may not get as much press — but a kidney-friendly diet doesn’t have to be a mystery. In fact, the same eating plan many experts recommend for people with high blood pressure happens to be great for your kidneys too.

Why does it matter?

An estimated one in three adults in the U.S. is at risk for kidney disease. Healthy kidneys filter blood, regulate fluids and produce a hormone that helps control blood pressure. But sometimes kidneys become damaged — and don’t work as well as they should.

You may be at risk for kidney disease if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease, or are age 60 or older.

The silver lining: A healthy diet may help lower blood pressure and protect your kidneys at the same time. It’s called the DASH eating plan, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The DASH diet is rich in nutrients like potassium, calcium and fiber. It’s also low in sodium. And it can take a big bite out of your risk for both heart and kidney disease.

Dig in!

Ready to DASH? Choose these healthy foods:

Fruits and vegetables

Hint: Aim for one or two servings with every meal.

Whole grains Hint: At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. Look for ingredients such as whole wheat, whole oats, brown rice, and whole-grain corn or barley.
Lean proteins

Hint: Enjoy foods such as grilled or baked fish, skinless poultry, low-sodium beans, and unsalted seeds and nuts.

Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

Hint: If you usually go for high-fat dairy, try lower-fat options in stages. For example, switch from whole milk to 2 percent. Then when you’re used to that, try 1 percent and so on. 
Easy does it. At the same time, limit salt and sodium — and eat less red meat, sugar, trans fats and saturated fat. 

The DASH plan isn’t just healthy — it’s tasty and satisfying too. In fact, it can be a good change for the entire family. Combined with other healthy habits, the DASH way of eating can help keep your blood pressure under control and your kidneys in good working order.

What to do next

Munch wisely. Check out “9 snacks for healthier blood pressure.”  

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