Keep Your Kidneys Cleansed

Detoxification diets are all the rage, and like medieval self-flagellants, there is no denying we derive a certain smug satisfaction from the pain we inflict upon ourselves with these. Unfortunately, there is currently no real scientific evidence that there is any benefit other than smug satisfaction to any of these cleansing rituals. Instead, here are a few tips for keeping your body's real de-tox champ – your liver – clean and in top working order.

You can aid the detoxification of your kidneys by drinking certain teas. Drink 1 to 2 teaspoons of dandelion root in 8 ounces of nearly boiling water to stimulate urine production. Or you can make a tea that's a mix of peeled ginger root and turmeric powder that not only flushes toxins from the kidneys but also helps with digestion.

If tea is not your cup of... tea, try lemon juice. It's a natural remedy for kidney stones. Mix it with olive oil and water, or apple cider vinegar and water, for a most effective ward against kidney stones.

Cranberries especially support your kidneys. They provide quinine, which is converted to hippuric acid in the liver and helps remove urea and uric acid from the kidneys and urinary tract. They also discourage bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract walls.

Garlic is a natural diuretic that helps stimulate urine production and flush out the kidneys. It also contains allicin which has been proven to act as an anti-bacterial agent in the kidneys and the bladder.

Cucumbers are another natural diuretic and can help dissolve kidney and bladder stones. They also help to regulate uric acid in the body, thereby preventing certain kidney and bladder stones.

Here's one you may not have heard of: Uva Ursi, also known as “bearberry,” is a powerful herb that grows in the northern U.S. and Europe and has diuretic, astringent and antiseptic properties. It also is used for urinary tract infections, but comes with some caveats. Your urine must be alkaline for Uva Ursi to be effective, so don't use it in conjunction with cranberries which make your urine acidic. It is also toxic in high doses, and should be avoided if your are pregnant.

Eliminate as many refined carbohydrates from your diet during your kidney de-tox period as you can. These include sweets, chocolate, cake, biscuits, sugary drinks, white breads and pasta.

Throughout any kidney de-tox procedure, be sure you are staying maximally hydrated. Drink eight glasses of water daily, or whatever it takes for your urine to assume a pale gold color.