The human body has two kidneys. Your kidneys help remove waste and excess water from the bloodstream, while simultaneously regulating your body's chemical balance. When your kidneys aren't functioning properly, your body may form kidney stones and experience other health issues. Certain foods and drinks can help your kidneys cleanse themselves and help promote healthy organ function.
Read more: All About Kidney Disease
Healthy Diet for Kidney Function
Your kidneys help remove unwanted substances, just like your gastrointestinal system, liver, lungs and skin do.
If you've been experiencing kidney pain or have recently passed kidney stones, you may want to cleanse your kidneys through a kidney detox. However, before any sort of cleanse, assess your current diet. The Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention states that people need to consume a balanced diet. This consists of:
- Fruit. Three to four servings each day are recommended.
- Grains, including bread, pasta and rice. Nine to 11 servings per day are recommended. Whole grains are preferable to refined grains.
- Protein, including beans, fish, meat and nuts. Two to three servings per day are recommended.
- Vegetables. Four to five servings each day are recommended.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to start improving kidney function. Fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds are all important because of the vitamins and minerals they have.
It's easy to forget because it's so obvious, but water is essential to good organ function too. Staying hydrated and drinking at least 4 to 6 glasses of water per day will also help improve the health of your kidneys.
Kidney Detox Drinks and Foods
If you feel certain the foods you're consuming make up a balanced diet, you can then think about adding additional foods and drinks that can help flush your kidneys.
Rather than going straight into a fad diet or detox, like a coffee enema or fasting, try consuming healthy foods and beverages that can help boost the functionality of your kidneys. The following foods have positive effects on your kidneys and can help improve their function:
- Vegetable juices made of carrots and celery can be beneficial. Fruit and berry juices, such as blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate juices are also good for you. All of these fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. In particular, cranberry juice is good for kidneys because it can help prevent kidney stones.
- Algae, like chlorella, can help boost kidney function by removing toxins. A 2014 review in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics showed that chlorella can help remove lead, mercury and some persistent organic pollutants from your body.
- Eating sufficient foods containing calcium can help reduce the likelihood of kidney stones. In fact, calcium intake from foods and beverages has been inversely associated with kidney stone formation.
You can also avoid foods that negatively affect the health of your kidneys. This includes foods high in sodium, high-protein foods from animal sources (because of their uric acid content), and oxalate or phosphate-rich foods, like chocolate, rhubarb and spinach.
You don't have to avoid these foods altogether, but consider consuming them in moderation. All of these foods can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. In excess, these foods can be detrimental to kidney function.
- Harvard Health Publications: 5 Steps for Preventing Kidney Stones
- National Kidney Foundation: Potassium and Your CKD Diet
- BJU International: Influence of Cranberry Juice on the Urinary Risk Factors for Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stone Formation
- University of Wisconsin: Citric Acid and Kidney Stones
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: Calcium
- International Research Journal of Pharmacy: Basketful Benefits of Citrus Lemon
- BDA Nutritional Sciences: Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence
- Alive: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition: Liver & kidney cleansing
- Cleveland Clinic: 7 Secrets to Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
- Health.gov: Dietary Guidelines
- Medline Plus: Kidney Diseases