Improved health consciousness has led many to adopt alternative techniques to help improve the functioning of their organs, like the kidney, that keep our body systems in perfect balance.
An alternative medicine trend that is growing popular is kidney cleansing, which involves following a diet of only water and teas for as long as five days.
The kidney is a vital organ of the body, which is essential for the healthy functioning of the body. Among other important functions, your kidneys:
remove toxins and waste products from your body,
help maintain electrolyte balance,
regulate blood pressure.
When healthy and functionally optimally, kidneys act as a natural body cleanser that removes excess water, filters toxins and waste products from the blood, and excretes them out in the form of urine.
Is it good to flush your kidneys?
We need our kidneys to be working optimally for us to keep healthy. And if we drink enough fluids, these vital organs will self-cleanse.
But, noting how much our bodies depend on these important organs, can we seize the initiative and cleanse them ourselves? Is it effective, or safe?
Advocates of alternative medicine believe kidney cleansing helps in preventing and treating kidney disease. It involves the consumption of specific foods and herbs that remove toxins and promote kidney health.
Proponents also believe that certain foods, beverages, and diets can detoxify kidneys and the body. However, there is not enough evidence to support this claim.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “there isn’t any convincing evidence that the cleansing program actually removes toxins from your body nor that it will improve your health.”
There are strict rules for how kidney cleansing is done. It varies from person to person but usually involves following a restricted diet for several days.
Smoothies, herbs, juices, and teas are the common food items used in the detoxifying program. Some of the herbs and food items used in kidney cleansing are chosen for their qualities in promoting kidney health.
Is kidney cleansing safe?
Though there are not many side-effects associated with kidney cleansing, an elderly person is said to have developed hyponatremia while on the program.
Hyponatremia is a potentially life-threatening condition that presents with symptoms like weakness, tremors, restlessness, nausea, and fatigue. The cause of these symptoms is the electrolyte imbalance that’s been blamed on the strict adherence to kidney cleansing.
Kidney cleansing involves consuming large amounts of water and tea for five consecutive days without eating any other thing. This starves the body of critical nutrients, with dangerous implications on health. Symptoms related to nutrients’ deficiencies may also develop.
How to naturally improve kidney health
The kidney cleanses itself. Among others, here are healthy living tips that will improve kidney health:
Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Water is essential for functions like digestion and absorption of nutrients, removal of waste and toxins, and moisturizing the skin.
Lower your intake of sodium to less than 2300 milligrams per day. Increased salt or sodium intake increases blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and kidney problems,
Modify diet with food items that promote kidney health, like berries, citrus fruits, low-fat dairy, vegetables, whole grains, and seafood.
Limit or avoid processed foods, refined carbs, sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, smoking, and caffeine, which are not good for your kidneys.
As long as you drink enough fluids, your kidneys will self-cleanse and will not require any flushing. Before trying kidney cleansing, discuss it with a physician, especially if you have any pre-existing kidney disease. When you decide to try it, make sure to maintain enough calories and electrolytes.