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.


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 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 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!

Little things you can do to feel happier

Illness, work or financial problems can worry us to the point of making us sad, which can have profound negative effects on our physical health. Feeling down is normal and can happen to anyone. If it persists, ask a professional for help. Try these simple tips to boost your day and improve your mood.

  • Take note of all the small things you’ve accomplished today.
  • Immerse yourself in another world by reading a book.
  • Allow yourself a moment to cry and let it all out.
  • Think about getting a pet companion.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Clean and organize your home.
  • Think about trying some yoga.
  • Watch something funny on TV or the internet.
  • Get up and move. Exercise!
  • Listen to music that makes you feel good.
  • Go outside, enjoy nature.