How to Cleanse Your Kidneys

Three Methods:Doing a Dietary CleanseDoing a Juice CleanseConsidering Important Factors

In general, the body does a a great job in detoxifying itself by the very nature of its own filtration systems. The kidneys, liver, and other organs and systems are all designed to filter out toxins and particles and to break down medications/drugs to help the body detoxify itself. For the most part, if you are feeding your body whole foods, limiting processed foods, and hydrating, you should have no need to attempt any additional detoxing. Still, some believe cleansing the kidneys may help prevent kidney diseases and energize and rejuvenate your entire body. There are several ways to cleanse your kidneys — choose the one that works best with your lifestyle.[1][2] Just be aware that there is little evidence that juice-based diets are effective in purifying the body, and that a healthy diet, exercise, and plenty of water should keep your kidneys working effectively.

Method 1
Doing a Dietary Cleanse

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    Understand your dietary cleanse. This cleanse is less intensive than juice-only cleanses. You’ll simply be cutting certain things out of your diet and adding others for a certain amount of time. You need to consider the following when planning your dietary cleanse:
    • Your calorie needs.
    • You’ll likely be consuming more food per volume than normally, since many fresh vegetables have fewer calories than the foods you’ll be cutting out.
    • In order for the cleanse to work, you need to stay away from listed foods and consume primarily fruits and vegetables.
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    Cut out certain foods. You’ll be cutting out unhealthy and processed foods that challenge your kidneys and bring in nutrients and chemicals that you want to get rid of. Many of the foods you’ll be cutting out increase levels of uric acid and as a result tax your kidneys. The foods you’ll be cutting out include:[3]
    • Animal protein
    • Processed food
    • Foods high in phosphorous or calcium, like dairy and nuts
    • Foods that are mainly made of carbohydrates
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    Include certain foods. You’ll be focusing on foods that will introduce nutrients and vitamins to your body that will increase the efficiency of your kidneys and help purge unwanted nutrients and chemicals. Foods you’ll be focusing on include:
    • Fresh vegetables
    • Fresh fruits
    • Organic fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are free from pesticides and other harmful additives
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    Increase your water intake. You need to increase your water intake to the appropriate amount. Most people walk around in a state of limited dehydration. This taxes your kidney and liver, and makes you more sluggish and tired. Drinking the appropriate amount of water will increase kidney function and help flush out unwanted chemicals and nutrients.[4]
    • Increase water intake to eight 8-oz cups of water (2 liters).[5]
    • Water should be filtered or spring water.[6]
    • Drink throughout the day.[7]
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    Load up on fruit. Some people even choose to eat only fruit. That's because fruits are highly recommended during the whole process of detoxification thanks to their abundance of nutrients. Not only are they great for your system, they'll also fight that sluggish feeling you'll undoubtedly be combating. There are a wide variety of fruits and vegetables you’ll be able to use for your cleanse. Here's where to start:[8]
    • Apples have a lot of fiber and vitamin C which are known to be antioxidants and help in the fight of toxins in the blood.
    • Lemons are also one of the popular fruits that are used because they have the ability to increase citrate levels which decreases kidney stone formation.
    • That being said, just about any watery fruit is fair game (though coconut flesh, avocado, and rhubarb should be avoided). And, as always, the fresher, the better.
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    Stock up on fresh vegetables. Fresh vegetables will be a very important part of your dietary cleanse. Most vegetables contain decent amounts of fiber and have nutrients and vitamins that will aid your kidneys during your cleanse. You can choose most any vegetable, but remember that you’ll be consuming a lot more than you typically do.
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    Bring home herbs, like parsley. Herbs are also used to help in the cleansing of the kidneys and one very popular herb is parsley. Parsley in particular is good, as it is considered to be a diuretic — something that makes you pee more. The more you pee, the more toxins or waste products are removed from the body. In other words, the more effective your cleanse.
    • Parsley can be eaten raw or made into a juice or tea.
    • Infuse it into your water or tea for easy intake that you'll barely notice.
    • You can also look to cilantro and other herbs that might be available locally.
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    Eat more garlic. Garlic may stimulate urine production and may aid in flushing out toxins from the kidneys. It contains allicin, which oxidizes heavy metals and makes them more soluble in water, meaning that it can help to flush out toxins. There are several ways you can increase your garlic intake:
    • Eat garlic raw.
    • Add garlic to your recipes when cooking.
    • Take garlic supplements.
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    Consume more onions. The polyphenolic compounds in onion may help to dissolve kidney stones. Its polyphenol content is higher compared to various other vegetables. Like garlic, there are several ways you can increase your onion intake.
    • Eat raw onions — try adding them to a salad.
    • Add onions to other food.
    • Take onion supplements.
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    Prepare your foods appropriately. You’ll gain the most nutrients and vitamins from fruits and vegetables when they are eaten either raw or lightly cooked. Avoid cooking your fruits or vegetables long. Consider the following tips:
    • Eat fresh and raw when you can.
    • Avoid cooking your fruits or vegetables until they lose their color or change color.
    • Don’t add oils or salt.
    • Avoid the temptation to add butter or sauces to your food.
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    Stop consuming processed junk food. Eating too much fatty and salty food will make the kidneys work harder. If there's a lot of waste in your blood, the kidneys have more work to do. The more you consume pure, healthy stuff, the easier of a time you'll be giving your kidneys.
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    Satisfy your temptations to cheat with healthy alternatives. You should stick primarily to fresh fruits and vegetables, but if you need to there are healthy alternatives, rich in fats and carbohydrates that you can consume. Consider the following:
    • Nuts.
    • Oat bran.
    • Whole wheat products.

Method 2
Doing a Juice Cleanse

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    Limit your intake of solids. Ensure that you do not eat solid food. Eliminating solid food is thought to help your body to focus on flushing the toxins out rather than digesting what comes in. While this might be challenging, the whole point of the juice cleanse is to give your kidneys some time to rest.
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    Decide if you want to mix juices or just use one. Some people suggest sticking to only one juice during your cleanse, while others say drinking several different juices throughout the day is more healthy. This is a decision you need to make for yourself. Consider:
    • If you do decide to go with just one type of juice, make sure to review if that juice is appropriate for a prolonged amount of time.
    • By drinking different fruit and vegetable juices, you will come closer to getting your required amounts of nutrients and vitamins.
    • By sticking to one juice, you might save money and you might save time by being able to prepare more juice at one time.
    • Your juices should be fresh and free of additives and preservatives.
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    Cleanse with watermelon juice. The diuretic properties of watermelon may aid in producing more urine. This helps in the removal of more wastes from your body. Watermelon may help to wash away toxins in your kidneys as it is high in potassium.
    • Juice two cups of watermelon.
    • Add a teaspoon of lime juice.
    • You can drink the juice two or three times a day. Some people prefer watermelon juice as their sole juice.[9]
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    Drink lemon juice. Lemon juice may be very effective in cleansing your kidneys. The citric content in lemons may reduce the level of calcium in your urine, thereby reducing the risk of kidney stones.
    • Juice a small lemon.
    • Add it to a cup of warm water.
    • Drink it in the morning on an empty stomach.[10]
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    Try drinking radish juice. Radish juice may prevent the formation of kidney stones and is thought to be able to remove existing kidney stones. The diuretic properties of radish may help kidneys to effectively process waste and improve urine flow.
    • Take a cup of radish pieces and put them in a juicer.
    • After extracting the juice, you may add some honey to taste.
    • Drink this juice once a day.[11]
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    Try blackcurrant juice. Consider blackcurrant juice as part of your juice mix during your cleanse. Blackcurrant juice may aid in treating uric acid stones. The alkalizing effect of blackcurrant may aid in acidifying urine and treating urinary tract infections. You’ll only want to drink this once a day.[12]
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    Up your intake of carrot juice. Carrot juice is a great all-around juice for your cleanse. The carotene content in carrot may aid in preventing kidney stone formation. It is also rich in other vitamins and nutrients that will help you.
    • Take three carrots and wash them thoroughly in running water.
    • Cut them and juice them well.
    • Add water to liquefy the juice before you drink. Drink this mixture once a day.
    • If you're going to rely on carrot juice as your sole juice, consider mixing up your recipes and adding celery, kale, or other vegetables for important vitamins and nutrients.[13][14]
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    Consume cucumber juice. The diuretic properties of cucumber may aid in flushing uric acid. As a result, cucumber juice will help dissolve kidney stones and improve overall kidney health.
    • Keep the skin on if it was grown organically (but make sure you wash it), remove it if it was not.
    • Take three to four cups of cucumber pieces and juice them.
    • Drink this juice once or twice a day.[15]
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    Drink grape juice. Grapes are rich in potassium, which ensures that toxin-free blood is passed through the kidneys. Grape juice is also readily available in many types of varieties, and buying store-bought grape juice might save you time and money.
    • Don't rely on grape juice as a single juice cleanse, but drink it perhaps once a day or every other day.
    • Those on a dialysis are not supposed to have foods rich in potassium, so avoid grape juice if this is the case.
    • If you’re going to be drinking store-bought grape juice, make sure to get juice that is free from refined sugars and other additives.
    • Feel free to experiment with different varieties of grapes.[16]
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    Try drinking parsley juice. Parsley contains a number of nutrients and vitamins that will aid in your cleanse. Specifically, parsley is rich in apiol and myristicin and will help increase urine production and may aid in flushing out germs through the urine, thereby cleansing your kidneys.Try drinking parsley juice once a day.
    • Take a handful of parsley leaves, clean them well and add two glasses of water.
    • Boil the parsley and water mix for roughly 10 minutes.
    • Filter the liquid and drink once a day.[17]
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    Add wheatgrass juice. Wheatgrass is a rich source of alkaline minerals, which means that the juice may help to cleanse your kidneys. It is thought to flush out toxic metals including cadmium and mercury.
    • Try drinking wheatgrass juice once or twice a day.
    • Juice a handful of wheatgrass.
    • Add water to dilute the juice if you like.
    • To enhance the taste, juice a few pieces of apple along with the wheatgrass.[18]

Method 3
Considering Important Factors

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    Consult your doctor. Before you do start a kidney cleanse, you should consult your physician in order to make sure that a cleanse will be alright for you. Cleanses are not necessarily right for all people at all times, so you need to clear this with a professional.
    • Juice cleanses can be very difficult to do and the body may go into variety of stages during the process. Headaches and fatigue may be noted initially as the toxins are being flushed out. Towards the end of the cleanse, increased energy is noted.
    • This time should be used to think about goals. Limit stressful exercise — try going for walks or doing gentle yoga. Avoid anything that exerts a lot of energy, like running.
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    Determine your daily calorie needs. Before starting the detox, you need to determine how many calories and what sort of nutrition you will need. Consult your doctor about your minimum needs during your cleanse.
    • Calorie needs vary based on your lifestyle, age, level of activity, weight loss goals, and other individual factors.[19]
    • Most adult men need between 2,400–2,600 calories per day to maintain their weight.
    • Most adult women need 2,000–2,200 calories per day to maintain their weight.
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    Choose the duration of your cleanse. Kidney cleansing can be done safely anywhere from three days to seven days about once or twice a year. Keep in mind that it's unwise to cleanse for any longer. Kidney cleanses depart from the idea of a balanced diet and are meant only to be temporary. If you've never done it before, it's advised to begin with three days.
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    Avoid caffeine. Foods and liquids with caffeine increase calcium oxalate or uric acid in the kidneys and could lead to the development of kidney stones in some cases. The caffeine puts your kidneys on overdrive and leads to more work, with less effective waste removal overall. This is why sticking to water is your best bet.
    • Don't forget that some teas and chocolate have caffeine, too.
    • Rhubarb is also a source of caffeine.
    • Before you consume anything, make sure it's caffeine-free; it may contain the stuff and you don't even know it.[20]
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    Avoid alcohol. While an increase in liquid intake is advised, alcohol should be avoided. Alcohol is a toxin that poisons the blood. It messes with your system and, in abundance, can wreak havoc on your body (and mind). Stick to water and tea to give your kidneys the vacation they need.
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    Consider taking supplements during your cleanse. Certain supplements will increase the efficiently of your kidneys and help purge unwanted chemicals and nutrients. While supplements can help your cleanse, they are not required, and you should consult your doctor before taking them.[21]
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin B12
    • Curcumin
    • Silymarin
    • l-Taurine


  • In general, healthy eating should mean you have no need for cleanses. Focusing on a healthy diet and eliminating junk food should make a cleanse unnecessary.

Sources and Citations

  1. Tortora G. and Derrickson B. 2006 Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, John Wiley and Sons Inc.
  2. Smeltzer S. and Bare B. 2005 Brunner and Suddarth's textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing 10th edition., Lippincott Williams &Wilkins
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Article Info

Categories: Urinary Health