Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the middle of your back, one on each side. They are responsible for excreting just under 2 litres a day of toxic, waste-filled water from of the body via the urinary system. They are also accountable for a balanced blood pH and the regulation and production of blood cells.
When there is high concentration of stone-forming mineral salts and uneven balance of acid in the urine, the kidneys are unable to eliminate waste materials. This results in the build up of crystals that may become toxic and painful kidney stones.
A ‘kidney cleanse’ sets out to detoxify the kidneys in order to prevent stones from forming, to encourage healthy kidney function, boost immunity and clear toxins from the body. These benefits however have only been anecdotally recorded and lack the scientific evidence required to substantiate their beneficial claims.
The term ‘kidney cleanse’ itself refers only to a natural kidney cleansing program based on a healthy diet, assisted with herbs or specialized detoxification kits throughout the process. Most choose to do the kidney cleanse over a period of three weeks, which should be repeated up to three times a year when possible.
Specific herbs are encouraged to be used when kidney cleansing. These include dandelion, nettles, ginger root, tumeric, marshmellow root, juniper, parsley, red clover and goldenrod, which all can be simply added to your cooking or used to make theraputic teas.
Certain foods also contain kidney-cleansing properties and should be consumed heavily during the three week cleansing period. Some of these include:
It is worth noting that foods rich in protein can hinder blood sugar conditions or kidney problems. When metabolised by the kidneys, protein causes the kidneys to enlarge and may adversely affect the detoxification process.
Certain foods and drinks should also be avoided during the cleanse, including anything white, processed, alcoholic or caffeinated. It is also recommended to avoid foods high in sodium and rich in oxalate, such as chocolate, sesame seeds, nuts and sweet potatoes.
Vitamins such as B2, B6 and Magnesium may also be integrated with the special diet and herbs to also help flush out the kidneys and protect from kidney stones.
If you’re considering the natural approach of a kidney cleanse to improve your kidney health, please first consult a naturopathic physician or nutritionist.