“Kidney detox” is something that you hear a little too often. Proponents of kidney detox claim they can help you cleanse your kidneys and body with certain specific beverages, food and diets. However, there is little scientific research to back such claims.
Many studies and health experts have stressed the importance of keeping your kidneys healthy. But there is no magic cleanse for kidney detoxing. However, the fact remains that your kidneys are important for your survival as they perform vital life functions. Here we will tell you why and how to take care of your kidneys to improve your health and overall wellness.
What is a kidney detox?
Human kidneys are the natural filtration system of the body. The two bean-shaped organs, located on either side of the spine, help your body to remove, toxins, waste and extra water from blood. They are also instrumental in maintaining a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals by removing acid produced by the cells.
Your kidneys can detox on their own, but they may not be functioning at their optimum level leading to health conditions like bloating, fatigue and sleep problem. By making a few changes in your lifestyle and following a kidney-friendly diet – comprising of healthy beverages and food – you can assist your kidneys to detox naturally. Additionally, by helping your kidneys detox, you are also assisting other organ systems of your body in their detoxification process.
Does your kidney need a detox?
Your kidneys are small, but they play a vital role in your survival. Most of us can keep our kidneys healthy by drinking adequate water and eating a balanced healthy diet. The key to healthy kidneys is being in tune with your body, mind and emotions. You may need a kidney detox if you’re experience one of these symptoms:
1. High blood pressure
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has stated that there is a direct relation between high blood pressure and poor kidney functioning or kidney diseases. This is specially the case, when you have high blood pressure as there is a greater risk of damaged blood vessels in the kidneys, interfering their ability to function properly.
2. Water retention in your body
Overworked kidneys and poor functioning kidney result in water retention, especially in your feet and ankles. It is visible as swelling in these areas, as there is fluid retention.
3. Excess fatigue
You feel tired and low on energy all the time. Also, you have concentration problem. Other symptoms that may indicate kidney problems include sleep problem, itchy skin, urge to urinate more often (especially at night) and poor appetite.
How to detox your kidneys
Most kidney detoxes guide people to eat specific food and drink specific beverages like smoothies, juices, teas, herbs and other infused concoctions. The food and drink recommended in most cleanses are healthy diets, yet there is little evidence, backed by research, that support the idea that kidney-detox food can actually remove toxins from our body. However, certain food and lifestyle habits support kidney health and assist the natural detoxification process.
Here are some tips to improve kidney health and lower risks of kidney diseases:
- Quit smoking
- Limit intake of alcohol
- Limit your intake of coffee
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, pasta, etc.
- Avoid added sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Limit intake of beef, pork and organ meat.
Adopt these habits to optimize the functioning of your kidney:
- Drink more water
Hydration is key to a person’s overall health. Water is needed for various bodily functions including digestion, absorption of nutrients, removing waste & toxins and for healthy skin. Many studies have shown that drinking lots of water can help prevent formation of kidney stones and other kidney problems.
Healthcare professionals typically recommend that healthy adults should drink six to eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water every day.
- Reduce intake of sodium
Salt or sodium is essential for the body but consuming too much increases risks of high blood pressure, which can lead to kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.
Healthcare professionals recommend less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day to reduce health risk like chronic kidney disease. You can easily reduce your daily consumption of sodium by eating fewer processed foods and opting for low-sodium or sodium-free products.
- Eat kidney-friendly foods
Eat a healthy balanced diet that supports kidney health. Many studies have shown that people with chronic kidney disease, who adjusted their diet were able to protect their kidneys from further damage. Findings from such research suggest that people with chronic kidney disease benefitted from a diet that included fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Here is some kidney-friendly food that you can add to your diet:
- Fruits – apples, blueberries, cranberries, juniper berries, strawberries, red grapes and cherries
- Vegetables – kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, chard, cauliflower, onions
- Fish with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids – salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring and sardines
- Herbs – cilantro, parsley
- Lean meat in limited quantities
- Hypoallergenic protein powder
- Egg whites
- Olive oil
- Drinking teas and juices
Plain water is the best fluid to keep you hydrated, but you can supplement it with kidney-friendly drinks. Boost your fluid intake with dandelion tea, green tea, green juices, alfalfa and alkaline water.
People who have a lifestyle that includes eating lots of processed foods, drinking alcohol, substituting water with soda, and not getting enough sleeping put extra stress on their kidneys. This pressurizes their kidney to work overtime. An improved diet and increased water intake can help your kidneys as well as your health to get back on track.