The Kidney Flush Diet
The 2011 U.S. Renal Data Systems Report found that 15.1% of Americans over the age of 20 have chronic kidney disease (CKD) at varying levels. This adds up to more than 26 million people with CKD!
Kidney function declines with age, but you can take good care of your kidneys to prevent the risk of developing kidney problems.
The kidneys are among the most vital organs of our body. In fact, a well functioning renal system is essential for many aspects of our body’s daily functions! Most people attribute kidneys merely to the formation of urine, but they do far more. Your kidneys:
- Normalize blood pressure
- Stimulate red blood cell production
- Regulate water balance in the body
- Filter wastes from the blood
- Regulate sodium and electrolyte levels
- Balance the body’s pH
- Process vitamin D
When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, the body can become extremely out of balance; sickness and disease follow.
- High blood pressure is one of the most common results from a weak renal system.
- Unbalanced blood electrolytes can also occur from poor kidney function. Maintaining electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, within a normal range is absolutely crucial. Electrolytes generate electricity, contract muscles, move water and fluids within the body. Even the slightest change in electrolyte levels from kidney malfunction can result in heart arrhythmias, nerve dysfunction, muscle weakness and even death!
- Wastes and toxins that would normally be removed from the bloodstream continue to circulate throughout the body causing problems.
But I have good news! Just as there are natural preventive and treatment measures for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, there are also safe all-natural methods for keeping your kidneys healthy!
Signs of Weak Kidneys
Your kidneys work extremely hard as part of your body’s inherent detoxification system. Every day the kidneys filter 180 liters of plasma! This incredible job is not easy and over time, sediments can build up, which can eventually form painful kidney stones. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can also accumulate in the kidneys causing infection and damage to the kidneys.
Your body will often tell you when something is out of balance. However, many symptoms of kidney impairment or weakness go unnoticed or are attributed to other things. Some little known of signs of kidney impairment include:
- Low back pain
- Loss of balance or equilibrium
- Low sex drive
- Thin skin and nails
- Foggy thinking
- Bladder issues
Edema, which is an accumulation of water in the body’s tissues, is a telltale sign of weak kidneys. If you notice swelling in your feet or legs, or you have accumulated fluid in other areas of your body, then give your kidneys some TLC to help your body recover.
Kidney Cleanse Basics
A kidney cleanse is one of the best remedies for kidney health. A cleanse provides plenty of beneficial fluids, which flush out unneeded toxins and wastes from these vital organs. The foods and drinks consumed during this week-long kidney cleanse also supply nutrients needed to help maintain the delicate balance of blood electrolytes and keep hypertension at bay.
Because toxins can affect your entire body, there is no question that supporting your kidneys is crucial for keeping your overall health in check. Every adult could benefit from taking the time to nourish and restore their kidneys.
Nonetheless, those with hypertension, chronic electrolyte imbalances and edema desperately need this kidney cleanse to improve and reverse these conditions.
Cleansing the kidneys is a simple process and doesn’t require an exhaustive supply of tools or ingredients to work. There are 3 foundational principles of this kidney cleanse:
- Increase fluid intake.
- Eliminate kidney-harming foods and drinks.
- Consume kidney-nourishing foods and herbs.
Incorporating each of these three principles into a week-long kidney cleanse can provide lasting results for kidney health. Most of these principles can also be adopted into a life-long routine for healthy living! Regular kidney cleanses are now mandatory considering the stresses we put our kidneys under thanks to our “modern” lifestyles.
Kidney Cleanse Step #1: Drink more Water!
During this week-long kidney cleanse, it is very important to drink at least a gallon of water a day. Just drinking plenty of purified water is the first step toward an effective flush. Many of the herbs have natural diuretic properties and require extra fluid to properly flush the kidneys. Extra water helps avoid dehydration as well.
Kidney cleansing helps to flush excess uric acid out of the body as well as bacteria and other accumulations within the kidneys. Flushing excess uric acid from the kidneys can prevent or eliminate gout and kidney stone formation.
Not drinking enough water while using diuretics can worsen gout symptoms by causing uric acid to become more concentrated in the bloodstream. This is why drinking a gallon of filtered water a day during this kidney cleanse is extremely important.
Nonetheless, adequate water intake is always important, not just during a kidney flush. On a daily basis:
- Men should always drink close to 3 liters a day.
- Women should drink 2 liters of fluid a day.
The following kidney cleansing drinks may provide an extra cleansing boost.
Lemon and water
Each morning, begin your day with the juice of one lemon in a cup of warm water. Lemon has natural pH balancing properties, which contributes to healthy pH of the urine as well as the blood. It also contains citric acid which prevents the formation of kidney stones.
For a quick lemon kidney cleanse, squeeze 4-5 lemons into a quart of cold water and drink up. Or, for a warming beverage, squeeze one quarter to one half a lemon into 8 ounces of hot water daily.
Dandelion or Corn Silk Tea
Drink one cup of either dandelion or corn silk tea in the morning, as well as another cup midday. Dandelion and corn silk both have natural diuretic properties, which help to flush the kidneys of accumulated toxins and wastes. Dandelion leaf is also a good natural source of potassium, and will replenish any potassium that may be lost due to the diuretic action of other herbs. You can purchase these teas at your local health food store or online.
Kidney Cleanse Step #2: Foods to Avoid
It is very important during this kidney cleanse to eliminate foods and drinks that put unneeded stress on the kidneys. Many of these foods and drinks increase oxalate and uric acid levels in the body, which then lead to kidney stone formation.
The following foods and drinks should be eliminated from your daily diet during your one-week kidney cleanse.
- Processed, packaged and fast foods (these foods are high in sodium and contain chemical additives)
- Coffee (try Dandy Blend herbal coffee substitute instead)
- Grains (aside from quinoa)
- Sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Red meat
Kidney Cleanse Step #3: Recommended foods
When it comes to kidney health, it pays to eat foods high in antioxidants and other properties that support good health. These foods contain active enzymes that help in their digestion, rather than needing the body to manufacture extra digestive enzymes for breaking down the food. Digestion requires a tremendous amount of energy and that energy could be better used in supporting the kidney detox.
The list below contains those foods which are highest in antioxidants, vitamins, and electrolytes that contribute to health and detoxification of the kidneys.
- Red clover
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cranberry juice
- Olive Oil
Before you begin your cleanse, plan out your meals for the week and purchase all the foods you will need for 7 days.
An example of a day of the cleanse is as follows:
- Upon waking: 1 cup of warm water with the juice of one lemon.
- Breakfast: Dandelion tea and an omelet with asparagus and onion.
- Snack: ½ cup blueberries or watermelon
- Lunch: Mixed greens topped with grilled chicken or salmon, assorted veggies and lemon and olive oil.
- Snack: A handful of almonds
- Dinner: Corn silk tea with baked fish served over quinoa with a side of sautéed veggies.
Remember to always drink at least one gallon of water throughout the day as well!
Juicing is also highly recommended while cleansing. If you have a juicer, try the following blends for their ability to purify the renal system.
Purifying Parsley Blend
- ½ cup parsley
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 cucumber
- ½ green apple
Watermelon is often touted for its ability to cleanse the kidneys. It helps the liver process ammonia, a waste product from protein digestion, into the safer form of urea. This eases the burden on the kidneys. Like the name implies, watermelon contains lots of water keeping the kidneys flushed and the body hydrated.
Below is a recipe that can be used as a meal during the week-long kidney flush or anytime for that matter! Fish is a great protein that is easy on the kidney and pairs well with fruit such as the watermelon salsa below. The easy-to-prepare meal leaves you feeling fresh and full of energy, not tired and bogged down.
Watermelon Salsa With Broiled Mahi Mahi
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1 jalapeno minced
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 cup mango chopped
- ¼ cup red onion minced
- 2 ½ cup watermelon (seeds removed) chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
In a large bowl, combine watermelon, mango, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt, to taste.
Broiled Mahi Mahi
- 6 mahi mahi fillets
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Lemon wedges
- Arrange the oven rack so that it is about 4 inches from the broiler. Preheat broiler to high and line cookie sheet with foil.
- Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry.
- Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the fillets on the baking sheet and squeeze lemon juice over them.
- Broil on high for around 8 minutes.
- Serve alone or over quinoa topped with the fresh watermelon salsa.
Healthy kidney function is just as important as heart health, bowel health and even brain health. Our body is a system made of parts that function as a whole. If one part isn’t healthy, the entire system falls apart. This is why it is important that every system in the body get the proper care and support it needs and deserves.
Give your kidneys the time and attention they require for optimal health by taking a kidney cleanse. Flush out wastes, banish high blood pressure and prevent kidney stones by cleansing this important part of your body’s elimination system.
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Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.