Sun up to sun down, your body’s organs are working together to keep you healthy. Your liver breaks down harmful substances in your body, excreting that waste into your blood; your kidneys cleanse your blood of that waste, and your heart pumps the blood throughout the body.
This means that people with a liver, kidney or heart problem also have an increased risk of having problems with another organ—diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking or being overweight can all add to the risk.
On the other hand, this also means that by making efforts to improve the health of one organ, you are simultaneously improving your overall health. Here are seven ways to keep your organs healthy.
Water helps kidneys remove waste from blood, so it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated by drinking at least four to six glasses per day. If you become dehydrated, toxins can build up and affect your kidneys and your liver. While hydration keeps your blood vessels open to help blood travel freely, dehydration can make your blood thicker and more difficult for your organs to detoxify.
Eat a balanced diet
Natural sources of sugar such as fresh fruit are easier than refined sugars for your body to metabolize without overwhelming your organs. It also helps to eat a lot of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
In addition to refined sugars, limiting high fructose corn syrup (soft drinks, baked goods, sweets) and foods with saturated fat and refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice and pasta) will keep your body healthy and functioning properly. Additionally, too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart and kidney problems.
Physical activity helps to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increase muscle strength, improve sleep, and control overall body weight. You don’t have to have an intense workout routine—just do something to get your heart rate up on a regular basis.
Be careful with supplements and over-the-counter medications
Mixing medications or taking more than the recommended amount can damage your liver, as it is where most drugs are broken down after being metabolized. Too much of certain vitamin supplements and even herbal remedies may be harmful to your kidneys, as they may build up and cause damage, or react poorly with prescribed medications.
If you’re unsure about which medicines may be more harmful than helpful, talk to your doctor.
Smoking causes hardening of the arteries, or even hardening of the kidneys, reducing blood flood in the kidneys and to the heart. It can also cause high blood pressure, which is a cause of both heart and kidney problems.
Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption can reduce damage to the liver.
Keep blood sugar controlled
High blood sugar can cause damage to heart, blood vessels and kidneys, among other essentials in the body. Monitor blood sugar levels frequently, and naturally lower them by following the steps listed above.
If you have heart disease, get your kidneys checked; if you have kidney disease, get your heart checked—especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Organs are precious – be sure to protect yours!