Is a kidney cleanse right for you? Benefits, tips and considerations
01/16/2020 / By Bobbi Bruce / Comments
Is a kidney cleanse right for you? Benefits, tips and considerations

From fitness gurus to Hollywood celebrities to social media influencers, the terms “detoxing” and “kidney cleansing” have become buzzwords for the health-conscious. But what are they, really?

Judging by what’s on social media, “cleansing” and “detoxing” typically mean drinking and eating certain drinks and foods to supposedly facilitate the removal of accumulated toxins from within the body.

It’s an interesting premise, but experts warn that while commercial cleanses may seem to work in the short term – people have sworn by the 10-day Master Cleanse’s alleged miraculous weight loss and “cleansing” properties – they pose far too many risks, not the least of which are nutrient deficiencies, muscle breakdown and even an increased risk for heart disease and liver failure.

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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health – the government’s lead agency on medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine – even states that “there isn’t any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health.”

Furthermore, according to a 2017 study published in Current Gastroenterology Reports, while it is true that cleansing and “detoxification” diets may cause initial weight loss in a person, it’s only because of the individual’s extremely low intake of calories. Not only that, but the diets also lead to weight gain once the person resumes a normal diet.

In a statement published in, Margaret MacIntosh, an acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, says many of these commercial detox or cleansing programs can do more harm than good, and that she is in favor of healthy diets and lifestyle choices as opposed to “…extreme cleanses designed to eliminate loosely defined toxins from the body.”

The human body has many processes to eliminate so-called toxins from the body” MacIntosh added, corroborating a statement made by nutrition consultant Karen Ansel on SELF.

Any tea that claims to detoxify your system is pure hype. Your body has its own built-in detoxification system that works 24/7—your liver, which dismantles toxins, and your kidneys, which flush out these waste products. There’s nothing in tea (or any other food product) that can detoxify you,” Ansel said in her statement.

Ivanka Prichard, a behavioral psychologist and Social Health Sciences lecturer at Flinders University, in a statement published in, says the appearance-focused “fitspo” – short for “fitness inspiration” – images often used to market some of the more popular detox products can be just as dangerous as the products themselves.

“The use of ‘fitspo’ images by detox tea brands sends the message…that drinking these teas is associated with health and fitness and reaching an appearance ideal,” Prichard said. 

British actress Jameela Jamil – best known for her role in the comedy The Good Place – has also joined in on the call against commercial detox and cleansing programs touted by celebrities on social media.

“I was the teenager who starved herself for years, who spent all her money on these miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities on how to maintain a weight that was lower than what my body wanted it to be,” Jamil posted on her personal Twitter page. “I was sick, I have had digestion and metabolism problems for life.”

It’s best to go all-natural with detoxing

Here’s some good news though, for those who want to optimize their body’s natural detoxification system: It’s as easy as drinking water and eating balanced and healthy meals.

Furthermore, there are fruits, vegetables, fish and herbs you can add to your diet in order to improve your overall health without risking any of the complications brought about by commercial “detox” mixes, such as apples, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, kale, beets, spinach, celery, salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring, sardines, parsley, ginger and turmeric.

Want to undergo a truly natural – and physical – detox? Experts recommend sweating it outAccording to the National Kidney Foundation, regular exercise benefits people by improving their muscle function and strength, improving their blood pressure control, lowering their cholesterol levels, as well as improving their sleep patterns and body weight.

Here are other tips to improve your kidney health, according to the National Kidney Foundation:

Kick-start your journey to healthier kidneys with this health-boosting meal.

Triple Berry Smoothie

Antioxidants are your kidneys’ best friends and no other fruits pack the most antioxidants than berries.  This tasty recipe from Delish which we think is the perfect smoothie for those who like to drink their vitamins.


  • 1 medium-sized banana
  • 1 cup frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen organic blackberries
  • 1 cup frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • Organic maple syrup, to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Divide smoothie between two glasses and top with extra berries for garnish.

Greek-style Salmon Salad 

No, detoxing your system doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Check out this tasty and healthy Greek-style salmon salad from The Mediterranean Dish.


For the salad:

  • 8 oz hearts of organic Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 10 oz organic cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 organic bell pepper, cored and sliced into rounds
  • 1 organic cucumber, sliced into rounds
  • 2 organic shallots, sliced
  • pitted Kalamata olives, to taste
  • Greek feta blocks, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large organic lemons
  • 2 organic garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 20 to 30 fresh organic  mint leaves, no stems
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika

For the salmon:

  • 1 lb wild-caught salmon fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • Organic sea salt and black pepper
  • Dried oregano, to taste


  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, before preheating the oven to 425 F.
  2. Pat dry the salmon on both sides and season with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Place seasoned salmon on a lightly oiled sheet pan and brush the tops with extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Bake salmon for 8 to 12 minutes or until done. 
  4. In a large salad bowl, add lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, shallots and Kalamata olives.
  5. To prepare the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, fresh mint, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper, and blend in a food processor until well-combined.
  6. Assemble the salad by drizzling ½ of the dressing over the mixed vegetables. Toss to combine and crumble the feta on top. 
  7. Transfer salad to individual serving bowls and top each with one salmon fillet.
  8. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Detox diets and cleanses have become extremely popular over the past few years. And while it’s tempting to hop on the bandwagon and order commercial mixes and methods peddled by your favorite celebrity, we think it’s still best that you stick to safe, natural and healthful ones.

Sources include: 1 2 3 4

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