In the same way air filters remove dust, pollen, and other allergens, the kidneys remove wastes and toxins from the blood. Modern environmental pollutants, UTIs, and drugs like NSAIDs can lead to serious damage to the kidneys, and processed foods only increase the risk. Since we simply can’t replace our kidneys like we might an air filter, regular kidney cleansing can go a long way in protecting the health of these vital organs. Here are 10 essential facts for receiving the most from a kidney cleanse.
1. A Good Cleanse May Include Symptoms
Any good detox program will cause the body to experience symptoms similar to that of the flu or the cold. This is good! Although it may seem counterintuitive, these symptoms indicate the body is flushing toxins out of the blood and tissue. Symptoms may include fatigue, headache, nausea, moodiness, gas, difficulty sleeping, and increased thirst. In some cases, symptoms may also include general aches and pains and possibly even a rash. The type and experience of any symptom varies from one individual to another.
2. Passing Kidney Stones is Normal
The increased water consumed during a kidney cleanse increases the chance of flushing kidney stones. This is very beneficial as passing them eliminates the intense pain associated with lodged stones. Unfortunately, the crystals can stress the urinary tract and lead to nausea and pain in the groin area when they pass from the body. If you develop a fever and similar chills, it may indicate an infection and the need for medical attention.
3. Don’t Eat Solid Food
To ensure a successful cleanse, it is wise to consume only liquids. Strictly consuming liquids encourages the removal of excess food from the intestines. While this may not seem related to the kidneys, it reduces the food-accumulated toxins in the intestines and the rest of the body. Plus, the increased liquids provide more fluids to flush and cleanse the kidneys.
4. Eat Watermelon
OK, so this might be somewhat contradictory to the last recommendation, but stay with me. Watermelon is not a typical solid food as it contains more than 90% water, providing essential fluids the body needs during a cleanse. The remainder of the food is fiber which helps clean away buildup in the intestines, thus reducing toxic stressors. Watermelon is also a diuretic, encouraging urine flow that aids the removal of toxins from the kidneys. The high potassium content helps break down kidney stones so wastes can be removed through normal urination. The potassium content of watermelon contributes to lowering blood pressure, an important aspect of kidney health.
5. Plan for a 3-Day Cleanse
Three days is the minimum amount of time needed to cleanse the kidneys and encourage toxin removal. For those three days drink plenty of water, organic vegetable or fruit juices, and herbal tea. Foods like watermelon and certain herbal supplements can help the body remove toxins and improve the effectiveness of the cleanse.
6. Consume Plenty of Water
Too much water can be just as bad for you as too little. Drink too much and electrolytes flush from the body, creating dangerous chemical imbalances. As a general rule, consume roughly half of your body weight (in ounces) of water daily. So, if you weigh 150 pounds you should aim for 75 ounces, or about nine 8-oz glasses of water. Although clean, clear water is ideal, fluid can come from a variety of sources, such as juices or broths.
7. Prevent Electrolyte Loss
Drinking only water during a cleanse could increase electrolyte loss, possibly leading to an electrolyte imbalance. Avoid this problem by drinking homemade organic vegetable broth. Take a variety of chopped organic vegetables such as carrots, beets, onion, celery, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens and simmer in water for over an hour. Consume this broth several times a day.
8. Quick Relief is Possible
While a three-day cleanse is ideal, the pain of a kidney stone may alert us to the need for a quicker response. Try this prior to a full kidney cleanse to treat and begin cleansing the kidneys.
At the first sign of pain, mix 2 ounces of organic olive oil with 2 ounces of organic lemon juice. Drink this straight and follow with 12 ounces of purified water. Thirty minutes later squeeze half a lemon into another 12 ounces of purified water and add a tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar. Drink. Once the pain diminishes, plan and follow a cleanse to get the remainder of kidney crystallization and toxins out of the system.
9. Use Lemon Juice
Add lemon juice to water, or any other juice or broth you plan to consume. The citrate in lemons helps break down calcium oxalate stones. As a guide, use at least 4-5 lemons daily. Drinking a cup of hot water with the juice of half an organic lemon refreshes, supplies citrate, and tastes great.
10. Take Herbs Known for Freshening the Kidneys
Several herbs have a long history of use and application as kidney supporters. Most of these plants can now be found in supplement form, and some can also be found whole and dried to be made into a tea. Some of these herbs include:
This North American herb has been used for centuries by Native Americans and early settlers for supporting kidney health. The biochemicals in the root appear to smooth the edges of some calcium-based kidney stones. This makes passing these stones easier. Hydrangea also supports the body’s use of calcium, a key mineral to stone formation.
Commonly called Joe-pye weed, this is another Native American herb. It contains euparin, a plant chemical shown to promote kidney and urinary health. Euparin encourages the breakdown of calcium deposits.
Marshmallow may soothe the tissue in the kidneys and urinary tract, possibly providing relief from painful symptoms associated with common kidney ailments. The root also encourages urination, thereby initiating a natural release of kidney stones.
A Final Thought
Even after a kidney cleanse, it is crucial that you always keep your kidneys healthy. A cleanse may be helpful for removing accumulated toxins, but it doesn’t necessarily stop them from accumulating again. Consuming a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, monounsaturated fat, and lean protein can be helpful for keeping the whole body in check. When you choose to do a cleanse, make sure to include juices and broths to maintain health throughout the process. And lastly, before beginning a cleanse of this sort, consult with your doctor to ensure your health can support this activity.
Have you tried a kidney cleanse before? What was your process and how did it work? Please let us know your experiences in the comments!