How to Prevent Kidney Stones

Having a kidney stone is an unforgettable experience because the pain associated with urinating can be really unbearable. Just imagine passing the stone from your kidneys through your narrow ureters and to your urethra. Some people who have had kidney stones are likely to have it again.

Preventing kidney stones from developing is easy but you have to be dedicated if you really want your kidneys to be healthy.

Some chemicals in our diet become too concentrated that they form to become crystals, which can develop into bigger stones. These stones can get stuck in the urinary tract and block the normal flow of urine. This causes pain and discomfort.

Stones develop when the calcium mixes with either phosphorous or oxalate. They need to be removed because these stones can also result to the formation of uric acid and eventually gout.

So for you to prevent kidney stone formation, you must put a stop to the conditions that support its development.
You can do so by following these tips:

Drink Lots of Water

By drinking plenty of water, you dilute the chemicals in the urine that forms stones. Make it a habit to consume at least 2 liters of water. You can alternate water with orange juice or lemonade as the citrate in these drinks helps in blocking the formation of stones.

Get Enough Calcium

When your diet has only a little calcium in it, it can lead to high levels of oxalate in your urine and promote kidney stone formation. To avoid this, it would be best to know your dietary calcium requirement for your age.

Generally, you can acquire calcium from your diet but if this is not possible, you can take calcium supplements. Just make sure that you also get 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D to aid in calcium absorption. Calcium must be fully absorbed your body because calcium supplements have been shown to be associated with kidney stone formation.

Slow Down on Sodium Intake

If you are prone to have kidney stones, it is best to adhere to a low-sodium diet. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to increased levels of calcium in the urine. Guidelines recommend that daily sodium intake must be limited to 2,300 milligrams. If you have had sodium-related kidney stones before, limit your intake to 1,500 milligrams per day.

Cut Down on Animal Protein

Red meats, seafood, poultry and eggs contribute to increased levels of uric acid that may lead to stone formation. Studies have also shown that consumption of high-protein diet results to reduced levels of citrate.

If you cannot absolutely avoid animal proteins, try to consume less of it. If possible, it should be only about the size of a standard playing card. By doing this, you are not only preventing kidney stone formation but you are also promoting a healthy heart.

Stop Consuming Stone-Forming Foods

This is something basic. You don’t want stones to form so stop consuming food items that would form it. Chocolates, tea, beets, spinach, nuts and rhubarb are all food items rich in phosphate. If you have had stones in the past, your physician would most likely advise you to stay away from these foods.

If you have no history of kidney stones, you can limit your intake of the said items. Recent studies claim that men have higher risk of developing kidney stones if they consume high doses of vitamin C supplements. This is due to the body’s natural process of converting the vitamin to oxalate that triggers stone formation.

If you believe you are suffering from kidney stones, it is highly suggested to visit your physician so you can be screened and advised accordingly.

Tips for a Better Sleep

Are you feeling a little restless lately? Do you feel burnt out? Are you easily irritated? If you answer yes to all these questions, you may be one of the thousands who have not had a good sleep in a long time.

Focus on all the reasons that are keeping you up at night. Are you constantly thinking about work responsibilities, family issues and personal challenges as you are about to retire for the day? If yes, a good night’s sleep may really be hard to achieve.

While it is quite difficult to manage all the factors that affect your sleep, there are various ways you can do to give you a better sleep.
Here is a list of some useful tips for a better sleep:

Make a Sleep Schedule and Stick to it

Sticking to a sleep schedule will allow your body to “re-synchronize.” For example, make it a habit to sleep at 10 in the evening and wake up at 6 in the morning. Set an alarm for this, if necessary. Your body will learn to sleep and wake up on the same time every single day, including weekends and holidays.

But be wary. When you are in bed for more than 15 minutes and you still find it hard to sleep, get up and do something that would take your mind off how hard it is to fall asleep. Only go back to bed when you are worn out already and you will doze off in no time.

Be Conscious of What you Consume

Once you have a sleep schedule, work your meal schedules along it. Never eat close to your scheduled sleep and never starve yourself as well. When you are hungry or full when you go to bed, the discomfort might just keep you awake.
If you can, do not drink too much before going to sleep so you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night just to urinate.

Stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine must be avoided as well. Caffeine is best consumed in the morning or late afternoon but never in the evening as its effects may take a while to wear off and make it harder for you to go to sleep.

Devise a Bedtime Ritual

When you do the same things each time, your body interprets this as a signal that you are about to rest. Relaxing activities can help you achieve better sleep by gradually transitioning your body from its awake state to drowsy or sleepy state.

You can take a warm bath, read a shower or listen to some music to help you relax. Never lie down in bed and watch TV or use electronic devices as the emitted light from these items disrupts sleep.

Reduce Daytime Naps

Taking a nap during early afternoon is a good way to recharge your body as you accomplish your day-to –day activities. But make sure to limit it to only 30 minutes maximum because longer than that would already interfere with your nighttime sleep.

If you are going to work at night, however, daytime sleeping must not be interrupted as well. Use curtains to shield sunlight and prevent your body clock from adjusting.

Make your Bedroom Conducive to Sleep

Better sleep starts with having an environment that encourages it. Make sure your bedroom is cool and quiet. If you can, do not put your work items inside the bedroom so you don’t have to think about them when you are lying on your bed already.

Your bed and pillows also should be conducive to sleep. Choose pillows and mattress that feels comfortable for you.

Get Out and Get Moving

Engaging in a regular physical activity is also highly recommended in achieving better sleep. When your body is tired from all the movements, you will sleep a lot faster and you can indulge in a deeper sleep. But never ever exercise when it is almost your bed time. Your adrenaline levels are still high and you will feel energized for quite some time making it harder for you to fall asleep.

Manage your Stress

If you are constantly thinking about the things that you must do, your mind can wander and your sleep would be greatly affected. Work on ways on how you can restore your inner peace to deal with your stress. Yoga and meditation are effective ways of teaching you how to calm down.

Sometimes, difficulty of sleeping may be a symptom of a more serious health issue. If you feel it is necessary, contact your doctor to identify possible causes and provide appropriate treatment.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body that protects from harsh elements and microbes from the environment. Unfortunately, as the skin protects, it is often taken for granted.

When your skin is not aptly protected, it becomes dry and dehydrated. Do you feel your skin is aging way too fast? It is because it is not hydrated enough. Fret not as we list down some tips on how you can keep your skin hydrated.

Drink Plenty of Water

Consuming at least two liters of water is a good way of hydrating the skin from the inside. When your heart and kidneys are functioning well, it will show on your skin.

Massage Skin with Olive Oil

Olive oil is packed with antioxidants and fatty acids that are also proven to keep the skin hydrated. To prevent soap and water from drying your skin, you can massage olive oil before you take your shower.

Treat Skin Gently

Using harsh soaps can strip off the natural oil of your skin and make it dry so it is best to use gentle soaps and cleansers.

After each shower, never scrub your skin with towel. Just pat it dry so it remains moisturized. Applying moisturizers after each bath would also help in trapping the natural oils.

If you are going to shave, make sure to use shaving creams or lotion. Your razor should be clean and sharp and you must shave in the direction of the hair growth.

Regulate Shower Temperature

Hot water also removes your skin’s natural oils. While it is relaxing to bathe in hot water, it would be best to use warm water instead.

Protect your Skin

Every dermatologist will tell you that you should always protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Age spots, wrinkles, melisma and even skin cancer increases every time your skin is exposed to the sun.

Sunscreens with at least an SPF 15 would be a good protection already, but you may need to reapply every two hours especially if you will be exposed to direct sunlight like when you are out swimming or when you are perspiring.

Avoid going out between 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon as it is when the sunlight is at its strongest. If you must head out, use protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Watch What You Eat

Your food intake also affects your skin. Having a healthy diet can be great for your skin. Include vegetables, fruits and lean proteins if you can. Foods rich in vitamin C helps promote young, supple skin.

Stop Smoking

Smoking makes the skin capillaries narrow, which lessens the blood flow. When this happens, your skin will not get enough oxygen and nutrients to keep it healthy. Prolonged exposure to smoke and its components hastens the aging process.

Collagen and elastin is also severely damages your skin and contributes to the development of wrinkles.

Ease up on the Make-Up

When you always put too much make-up, your skin is exposed to a lot of harmful chemicals. Make sure to wash your face before sleeping to remove all the chemicals and allow your skin to breathe.

Indulge in Skin Care

Having facials and skin treatments once a month is something you should include in your schedule. Let your skin take a rest and rejuvenate. Set this time to see your skin doctor so you would get a better idea on how you should take care of your skin. Remember, not all over-the-counter products would be ideal for you.

If you will use a face mask, always go for products using natural and organic ingredients. If you can’t buy one, you can make a homemade all-natural face mask just for you!

Take Control of your Stress

Unwelcome stress can make your skin more sensitive to having acne breakouts and other skin problems like skin asthma and hives. So it would be best to stay calm, be positive and meditate to take control of your stress.

Useful Tips for Optimal Health

The key to achieving optimal health is by looking at your health holistically. It starts from adhering to a daily healthy routine that would eventually become your lifestyle.

Eat Right

Eating right means you have to be mindful of what you are putting inside your system. It is no longer about the individual nutrients that you should get. Your goal should be focused on having the right perspective of what makes up a healthy meal.

To help people make that move towards a healthy diet, nutritionists at Harvard School of Public Health devised a Healthy Eating Plate, which gives individuals an idea of the rough proportions of food groups that should be included in a healthy meal. The proportions do not take into account the caloric value of each serving. Caloric value should always be based on the individual requirements based on age, body size and activity level.

Aside from eating healthy portions, you can start your habit of eating right by avoiding consumption of sugary drinks like soda and juice powders. You can hydrate with water or fruit-infused waters. It would also be best to cut down on pre-packed meals as they have lots of added sugars and refined carbohydrates.

Studies have shown that processed meats are made up of ingredients that increase your risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Get Moving

Once you are eating right, you can complement it with exercise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), having a sedentary lifestyle results to serious health implications. In fact, as much as 2 million deaths each year are related to physical inactivity. Having a sedentary lifestyle doubles your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, depression and anxiety and osteoporosis.

Experts agree that engaging in moderate activity for at least 150 minutes each week. Walking is a great form of exercise to help you maintain your weight and health. To start your walking journey, it would be best if you have a buddy so you will have someone to motivate you and even hold you accountable when you feel like defaulting on your scheduled walks. As a form of motivation, track your progress. This way you will now whether you need to increase intensity or length of each exercise.

Indulge in Quality Sleep

Oftentimes, sleep is the most overlooked aspect of health. Many believe that getting the required 7-9 hours of sleep is enough. But experts believe that aside from hitting these hours, you should also be having a quality snooze so you can be energized.

You can start by making your bedroom as relaxing as possible. You should also have a bedtime routine. When lying down in your bed, put all of your electronic devices away so you will not have distractions.

Connect with Others and Be Positive

Having an optimal health is not only about the body. It also includes having a sound emotional and mental health. To achieve this, you must not forget that you have friend who can help you when you are feeling down or troubled. They are also the ones who can give you encouragement when you feel you are falling short of your goals. As you build your relationship with your family and friends, you will have a better perspective on your life and health.

Love Yourself

You owe it to yourself to become healthy. You are working on to be healthy not for other but for yourself. When you have worked hard, celebrate each progress and reward yourself.

If, on the other hand, you feel you are failing your goals; don’t be too hard on yourself. Just take a step back and instead look at all the good changes you have achieved so far – no matter how small they are. It is important to treat yourself with kindness.

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