Each day, our bodies work tirelessly to keep us healthy and thriving. As blood is pumped from the heart and through our veins, and food is digested through our vital organs, the kidneys are picking up the slack.
Your kidneys are basically the most sophisticated trash collection service that was ever invented. These two small organs are about the size of your fist. They live at the base of your spine and are responsible for finding the waste we don’t need and getting it out of our bodies.
Throughout the day, as you’re going to work, school, hitting the gym (hopefully) and watching Netflix, your kidneys cleanse about 200 quarts of blood through your body. As the blood flows through, the kidneys find waste and water that is extra and transforms it into urine. That waste flows through tubes to the bladder where it is stored until you can’t hold it any longer and you gotta go. Just imagine all that happening while you’re pounding soda and chomping on popcorn during the latest binge-worthy series you can’t stop watching.
Tiny Waste Management Twins
There are around one million nephrons in each kidney keeping you healthy! What are nephrons? They are the little worker bees that find the waste from foods or muscle breakdown and move it where it needs to go.
These tiny powerhouses also release three hormones as they work, these hormones are responsible for regulating your blood pressure (renin), providing you with Vitamin D (calcitriol) and stimulating your bone marrow (erythropoietin). See? I told you they were powerhouses.
Clearly, without a healthy kidney (you need at least one), the waste in your body would continue to build up in the blood, and that story does not end well. Because our kidneys work so hard for us, it is important to take care of them as well with a healthy kidney cleanse.
What Is a Kidney Cleanse?
A kidney cleanse is basically power washing your waste management system so it can perform as it should. In our modern “chemical society” the kidneys have way more to manage than say, fifty years ago.
Today, they are bombarded with additional chemicals in everything from bananas to makeup. They have more preservatives to handle than ever before and even small amounts of cleaning products and pollution we breathe in affect our kidney function.
A kidney cleanse helps to protect your kidneys and remove toxins from the body to promote better kidney health. A kidney cleanse typically involves dietary changes for several days to detoxify and improve the health and function of your kidneys.
Signs You Need To Do a Kidney Cleanse
The following are common signs of toxin overload. Do you experience any of these?
- Skin issues like dry skin, skin rashes, hair loss, acne
- Vision problems including the inability to focus, fuzzy vision
- Tired feelings like fatigue, lethargic feeling, drowsiness
- Heart and blood issues including heart palpitations, high blood pressure
- Incontinence, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, decreased urine flow, increased nightly urination, burning or painful urination, dark-colored urine
- Severe itching, sleep problems, metallic taste in the mouth
- Ill feeling such as nausea, coldness, fever
- Problems with swollen joints, stiff neck, cramps, abdominal or lower back pain
- Poor appetite, diabetes, anemia
If this list sounds like your daily life, it might be time to hit the reset button through a kidney cleanse. You may also benefit from a kidney cleanse if you:
- Are prone to urinary tract infections or bladder infections (or if you’ve had more than 3 in your life)
- Have had more than 1 kidney infection in your life
- Have a history of kidney stones (and have been searching for a natural kidney stone remedy)
- Have chronic low vitamin D levels and supplementation is slow to work or ineffective
- Are older than 50
- Have diabetes
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a family member who has chronic kidney disease
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are exactly like they sound, small rocks that develop in the urinary tract. Of course, we’re not talking common rocks you find outside, but they actually look and feel similar. These pebble-like masses come from both genetic and environmental factors. There are four different types of kidney stones:
Types of Kidney Stones:
- Calcium stones: These are the most common and they are often seen in older women who take excessive calcium and vitamin D supplements (greater than 1000 mg. and 400 IUs, respectively).
- Uric Acid stones: These types of stones occur in people with a high urine acidity (as can happen with gout).
- Struvite stones: This type of stone may develop as a result of infection.
- Cystine stones: These are rare, they are genetic and tend to run in families.
Other than the rare Cystine stones which come as an unfortunate genetic package deal, a kidney cleanse may help prevent the other three types of kidney stones.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
When you have kidney stones, you will know. They aren’t hard to diagnose because they come with excruciating pain radiating from the back to the sides of your pelvis and into the groin area. In addition to this very clear and extreme pain, you may have other symptoms including:
- Urinary Urgency (the feeling you need to urinate constantly)
- Intense burning when you try to urinate
- Fever and chills
- Blood in your urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cloudy urine or urine that smells bad
- Loss of appetite
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. A natural kidney cleanse is not meant to treat existing kidney stones. Typically, kidney stones will be diagnosed through x-ray or ultrasound and at that point, the doctor can determine if they will pass naturally, or if they require additional treatment.
How To Do a Natural Kidney Cleanse at Home
Most people can keep their kidneys healthy by staying hydrated and eating a balanced, healthful diet. However, there are some specific herbs and foods that are popular to use in a kidney cleanse to boost overall kidney health.
The first key to a kidney cleanse is hydration. The human body is made of up mostly water. Every single organ needs it to function, especially the kidneys. Because they are the filtration system, they need a carrier (water) to get the waste out. When your water intake is low, urine is low, and waste is high. This can often lead to a buildup and the creation of kidney stones. The recommended daily intake varies depending on who you talk to. Some say 3 liters, others say to drink half your body weight in ounces, some say at least 8 8-oz glasses. Whatever it is, you probably need to be drinking more than you are to support an effective kidney cleanse.
There are several foods that can aid in the functioning of your kidneys and prevent inflammation, which can lead to stones.
- Grapes, peanuts, and some berries contain a beneficial plant compound called resveratrol that was able to lower kidney inflammation in rats.
- Cranberries have often been praised for their bladder health benefits.
- Fruit juices with citrate help prevent kidney stone formation by binding with calcium in the urine. Brown seaweed has beneficial effects on the pancreas, kidneys, and liver.
- Calcium-rich foods like soy or almond milk, tofu, and fortified cereals.
- Very dark foods such as black walnuts and black beans.
- Kelp, seaweed, and fish.
- Asparagus, pineapple, kale, grapefruit, apples, lemons, ginger, garlic, and onions are all very good at helping to flush your kidneys of toxins.
Using natural teas and herbs can be beneficial in a kidney cleanse and can help the kidney perform at its highest level. Ingredients to look for in your tea include:
- Nettles: Nettles are high in vitamin C and are a natural detoxifier to filter out extra fluids in the kidneys. It’s also high in antioxidants, which help to protect the body and organs from oxidative stress.
- Dandelion Root: This is a diuretic that helps in a kidney cleanse.
- Ginger: This herb inhibits the spread of bacteria in the kidneys.
- Celery Root: Another natural diuretic, specifically to increase urine output and is a tonic for your kidneys due to high potassium content.
- Parsley: This is a well-known treatment for the kidneys that you can make yourself by boiling for 10 minutes, filter the parsley out and save the water for drinking one cup each day.
- Hydrangea: Extracts of Hydrangea paniculate offered a protective effect against kidney damage due to the antioxidants in the plant.
If you prefer to get a two-fer option, combining the best of foods and herbs along with hydration, you can try the “kidney love” cocktail recommend by Christa, a clinical and holistic nutritionist and author of The Whole Journey Food as Medicine cookbook. She recommends taking this drink daily for 7-14 days to give your kidney cleanse a boost.
The Whole Journey Kidney Cleanse Home Remedy Recipe:
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- Cranberries prevent bacteria (mostly E. coli) from attaching to the wall of the bladder. This means that infections cannot stick around inside your body. Cranberries also work by helping your liver remove excess cholesterol out of your blood while flushing out bacteria and toxins from your kidneys.
- 1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ¼ cup chlorophyll
- This is known as the “building blocks” of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll contains vitamin C, inorganic salt, and is alkalizing, which is the perfect combination to assist in a kidney cleanse.
- ¼ cup chlorophyll
- ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar helps detoxify the liver because it helps break down fats and remove bad bacteria.
- ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
- Juice of two freshly squeezed lemons
- Good old-fashioned lemon juice can increase citrate levels, which discourages kidney stones from forming.
- Juice of two freshly squeezed lemons
- Optional: 3-5 drops of dark liquid stevia (for taste only)
These four simple ingredients are Christa’s go-to formula for a powerful kidney cleanse to be taken on a regular basis, or at the first sign of a bladder or urinary tract infection to knock it out fast.
Some supplements, when used regularly can help to prevent kidney stones and aid in the overall function of the kidneys and support a healthy kidney cleanse.
- Vitamin B-6 is an important cofactor in many metabolic reactions.
- Omega 3’s can naturally decrease the metabolism of omega-6s, which may be a contributing factor in kidney stones.
- Potassium citrate is a necessary element of electrolyte balance and pH balance of urine.
- Kidney support is a whole kidney supplement that provides all the benefits of Cranberry Extract, Astragalus, Birch Leaf Powder, Gravel Root Powder, Goldenrod Herb Powder, Uva Ursi Leaf & Java Tea. All of these combine to provide bladder, urinary tract, and kidney health.
Other Kidney Help:
In addition to increasing your water, making dietary changes, teas, and supplements, there are a few lifestyle changes that can also help your kidney cleanse.
Acupuncture stimulates certain acupoints and improves functioning inside the body. Other similar therapies like massage, cupping, and heat therapy can also be good ways to nourish the kidneys and support a kidney cleanse.
Kidneys, along with other vital parts of your body can be damaged by stress. Reducing the stress in your life is an important way to nourish your kidneys. Meditation, yoga, massage, or a relaxing hobby are all good ways to reduce stress and help with your overall physical and mental health and promote relaxation and rejuvenation.
The Two-Day Kidney Cleanse
Any type of cleanse should not be continued for an extended period of time. For those with relatively healthy kidneys, a two-day kidney cleanse can have significant benefits. This 2-day kidney cleanse plan was published in Medical News Today. This is just one example of a kidney cleanse plan that may be beneficial to those looking to give their kidneys a boost:
AM: Start the day with an 8-oz glass of warm water containing 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of fresh lemon juice.
Breakfast: Blend the following ingredients to make a 12-oz smoothie:
- 1 beetroot
- half a cucumber
- 2 apples
- the juice of half a lemon
- 1 inch (in) grated ginger
Lunch: Eat a large, mixed green salad containing:
- grilled chicken or tofu
- half a red onion
- 1 cup chopped apple
- one-quarter cup grapes
- Top the salad with sliced almonds.
For the dressing, combine:
- one-third cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Dinner: Make an 8-oz smoothie containing:
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 cup blueberries
- one-half cup mango
- 1 cup kale
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
AM: Start the morning with a cup of green tea containing 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice.
Breakfast: Blend the following ingredients to make an 8-oz smoothie:
- 1 cup almond milk
- one-half cup spinach
- one-quarter cup mixed berries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
Lunch: Combine the following ingredients and then sauté together in olive oil:
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- one-half cup cooked beans
- one-quarter cup green beans
- one-quarter cup chopped carrots
- 1–2 tsp minced garlic
Dinner: Make a vegetable soup using the following ingredients:
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 cup carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 cup tomato
- 1 can kidney beans
- one-quarter cup parsley
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Add salt and pepper according to taste
Of course, any kidney cleanse should always include at least 3 liters of water a day, or half your body weight in ounces of water for adequate hydration.
Signs Kidney Cleanse is Working
When you have healthy kidneys, you’re urinating about 6-9 times per day, your electrolytes are stable, you have enough Vitamin D to support strong and healthy bones and your blood pressure is stable.
Kidney Cleanse Risks
A healthy kidney cleanse should include healthy foods including fresh vegetables and healthy meats. Kidney cleanses that require a person to fast or severely restrict their calorie intake can lead to headaches, fatigue, and nutritional imbalances. If you are considering a kidney cleanse, be sure to consult a doctor first. Pregnant or nursing women and children and people with kidney disease shouldn’t try a kidney cleanse. Always be sure you’re getting enough electrolytes and calories to support your body’s needs during any kidney cleanse.
How To Care For Your Kidneys Daily and Prevent Kidney Stones
To maintain adequate health of your kidneys and reducing your risk of kidney disease, incorporate elements of a healthy lifestyle including:
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine
- Maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Keep your cholesterol in check
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Drink more water
- Restrict your intake of cola or any drink that contains phosphoric acid.
- Eat less animal protein and refined sugars.
- Increase your natural intake of citric acid, particularly from lemon or lime juice.
- Avoid foods containing high fructose corn syrup.
Taking Out the Trash Might Save Your Life
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), causes more deaths than breast cancer or prostate cancer in the U.S. More than 1 in 7 adults are affected and 90 % of us don’t even know that we have it. CKD occurs when your kidneys are so damaged, they can no longer keep you healthy. Unfortunately, there are little to no symptoms until the damage is so far gone that you start to feel sick from toxins in your blood.
Our kidneys are literally screaming out for help and no one can hear them. Taking out the trash every once in a while with a kidney cleanse can extend their life (and yours) to keep you functioning at the highest level possible.