What is the DASH diet?

Many leading health organizations are recommending the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet to help all health-conscious diners. Approved and recommended by the National Kidney Foundation, The American Heart Association and many others, the DASH diet helps decrease blood pressure, lowers the risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer, and reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.

What Can You Eat on the DASH Diet?

Research has shown that blood pressure can be reduced with an eating plan that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat, as well as a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. 

The DASH diet also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts, and reducing or eliminating red meat, sweets, added sugars and sugar-containing beverages that can put a strain on your body. The diet is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as protein and fiber, to give your body all the right nutrients it needs. 

How to Start Using the DASH Plan

The DASH eating plan calls for a certain number of daily servings from various food groups. The number of servings you require may vary depending on your caloric needs. Talk to your physician about your individual needs so that together you can develop a plan for which food groups, servings and serving sizes are right for your DASH Diet. 

Learn more about the DASH Diet and discover helpful tips and meal plan samples on the National Kidney Foundation’s website. The DASH eating plan, along with other lifestyle changes, can help you be your healthiest self!

Remember to consult your doctor and dietitian before you initiate any new diet.

Staying Fit With Kidney Disease

If you are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), staying fit and exercising regularly can improve your quality of life and help you feel your best.

Before jumping into any type of new exercise, though, check with your doctor on how much, often and long you should be working out. And if you recently changed your dialysis or medicine schedule, ate too much, or feel joint or bone pain, you should listen to your body and take the day off from exercise.

Below are a few aerobic, strength, and flexibility activities that can benefit your kidney health.

Aerobics

Aerobic activities use large amounts of oxygen and help strengthen your air flow. These types of exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, swimming, water walking and water aerobics, gardening, dancing, bicycling and chair exercises. You can also use equipment such as a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical to do these activities indoors. 

Strength

Strength training involves using your body’s large muscles to perform activities and help your endurance and overall strength. Some tools you can use are free weights or dumbbells, resistance bands and tubes, and medicine balls to aid in strengthening your muscles. You can also build strength through everything from Pilates to toe raises! 

Mobility

Mobility exercises move your joints through their full range of motion and help lessen your risk of injury when performing physical activities. Activities such as yoga or tai chi help with flexibility and reduce stress. Simple stretching exercises will help to lengthen and loosen your muscles and joints. Shoulder rotations or leg stretches are good first-time stretches for beginners.  

Remember to stop these activities if any signs of shortness of breath, chest pain, or leg cramps occur, and always speak with your doctor before starting any new activities. If you have the green light to get moving, then the important thing is to do it. Safe movements of any kind are good for the body and will only help strengthen muscles, improve balance, improve joint mobility and – believe it or not – improve your mood!

New to Dialysis? Tips for First-Time Patients

patient consulting with his doctor
patient consulting with his doctor
Close-up shot of male doctor filling in medical record, his patient sitting opposite him

Reaching a point in your health journey where dialysis is required can be intimidating at first, but KidneySpa has some tips and information for first-timers.

First-time dialysis patients should be ready to change their habits and routines, from your favorite activities to how you care for your body. But remember: you can always make changes and adjustments throughout your treatment process.

Everyone’s experience with dialysis is unique, but as experts in renal care and dialysis, we put together some helpful tips for first-time patients. 

Research & Ask Questions

Before starting your treatment, it’s good to understand how dialysis works. Ask your team about the process – how long, how often, what it involves, etc. Also ask about insurance coverage, transportation, community resources and anything else you want to know.

Focus on Your Wellness

Doctors recommend that anyone on dialysis consider dietary and lifestyle changes to improve their health. If you can, talk with a dietitian about the phosphate binders you might be taking, advice on what foods to avoid, how to track your eating habits and more.

Meet the Team Before You Go

Knowing your team and familiarizing yourself with the facility beforehand can make you feel more comfortable on your first day of treatment. Call ahead to ask for a tour and ask for recommendations on what to wear, what to bring and what to leave at home.

Know You’re Not Alone

You probably won’t be the only one going through dialysis on any given day, and soon your dialysis center will become a kind of home away from home. Bring an open mind to your first appointment, because you never know when you’ll meet a lifelong friend!

Our team at KidneySPA is ready to answer all your questions and guide you on your kidney care journey. Contact us to schedule a tour. 

Adopta un estilo de vida saludable para cuidar tus riñones

Aunque muy pequeños, los riñones realizan una gran tarea recogiendo y eliminando los residuos resultantes de todo lo que comemos y bebemos al filtrar la sangre y, a través de la orina, eliminar los desechos y el exceso de líquido que se acumulan en el organismo. 

Los riñones también ayudan a controlar la presión arterial y la acidez de la sangre, participan en la producción de glóbulos rojos y ayudan a mantener el equilibrio del agua y los electrolitos, como el sodio y el potasio que contribuyen a nuestra salud ósea. 

Mantener y preservar nuestra salud renal, y tener una buena calidad de vida, es una tarea a la cual podemos contribuir cotidianamente con buenos hábitos, como hacer ejercicio regularmente, reducir la ingesta de azúcar y sal, controlar la presión arterial, comer sano, mantener un peso saludable, hidratarnos bien y evitar el tabaquismo y la automedicación.

Buenos hábitos para su salud renal 

  • Una dieta saludable y el control del peso son grandes aliados de su salud y ayudan a la prevención. Mantenga un peso saludable y trabaje con su médico o dietista para crear un plan alimenticio a su medida.
  • Pregunte a su médico qué tipo y cantidad de actividad física es conveniente para usted. 
  • Duerma 8 horas cada noche. 
  • Evite el tabaco y limite la ingesta de alcohol.
  • Explore actividades para reducir el estrés, relajarse y mejorar su salud física y emocional. La actividad física puede ayudar a disminuir el estrés, así como las prácticas que involucran la mente y el cuerpo, como la meditación y el yoga.
  • Beba medio galón de agua al día. Mantenerse hidratado ayuda a la presión arterial y a la función renal.
  • Revise sus niveles de azúcar en sangre.
  • Tome todas las medicinas que le prescriba su médico y tenga cuidado con el uso de medicinas de venta libre. 
  • Mantenga sus niveles de colesterol dentro del rango establecido. 

Consejos para cocinar saludable

  • Consuma alimentos saludables como frutas y vegetales frescos, proteínas, lácteos descremados y disminuya la sal y azúcar añadidos.
  • Cocine con una mezcla de especias en lugar de sal, e incluya vegetales como espinaca y brócoli.
  • Prepare carne, pollo o pescado al horno o en el asador, en lugar de freírlos.
  • Evite las salsas o grasas añadidas.
  • Elija alimentos con poca o sin azúcar añadida.
  • Ingiera alimentos hechos de granos enteros.
  •  Lea las etiquetas de los alimentos y escoja aquellos bajos en grasas saturadas, grasas trans, colesterol, sodio y azúcares añadidos.