How to Detox Your Liver and Kidneys

After dispelling the myth of detoxing in a previous episode, Get-Fit Guy explains how your liver and kidneys work to clear your body of harmful toxins. And how you can help those vital organs do their job well.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #217

Should You Detox?

Ultimately, as the article in The Guardian explains, your body has its own powerful methods of detoxification – and can activate these methods without the use of fancy diets or detox spa visits. These methods primarily come in the form of your liver and your kidneys normal functioning.

For example, your liver prevents pathogens from passing into your bloodstream, processes environmental toxins for safe removal, and helps to rid your body of excess nitrogen that builds up from the breakdown of proteins and amino acids.

Your kidneys filter blood, remove excess water, pass urea (which is a toxin that builds up as a byproduct of protein breakdown), and sends this all out of your body via your urine.

So if you eat foods that support your liver and kidneys, or avoid foods that stress your liver and kidneys, you’re already detoxing every day – and unless you’ve gone through something like a serious bout of alcoholism or heavy metal toxicity, you don’t really need any fancy herbal blends or colonic cleanses.  

How to Boost Liver Detoxification

For your liver, you can do things like avoid high amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats from processed and packaged foods like canola oil and French fries. Instead eat healthy fats from fish, meat, seeds, and nuts. You can avoid high amounts of fructose and sugar, limit alcohol, consume plenty of egg yolks (which contain choline that your liver uses to process fats), eat good, organic liver every now and then. Basically, follow the advice that my colleague Nutrition Diva and I have been doling out for years.

Additionally, pay attention to what kind of soaps, shampoos, and household cleaners you’re using. They can contain toxins that can tax your body. Check out the Domestic CEO's episode on transforming your home laundry into a toxin-free, environmentally-friendly process. Also, check out her episode called How to Use Lemons to Clean Your Home for a natural way to get your home sparkling clean without the use of harsh chemicals.

How to Boost Kidney Detoxification

For your kidneys, you can limit your intake of high fructose corn syrup, drink plenty of water, limit alcohol, and – if you are predisposed to renal issues - limit excessive protein intake (that is, eat no more than 200g per day). 

As The Guardian article notes, many popular detox and cleansing diets probably feel beneficial because of what they eliminate and not because of any magical ingredients. All that lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and fancy water is probably not doing much when it comes to actually cleansing and detoxifying your body.

But all the processed fats, high fructose corn syrup, alcohol, candy, soda, commercial meat and snack foods you’re eliminating while on a detox diet are actually giving your liver and kidneys a chance to step up and do their normal detoxification duties, since they’re no longer overburdened with bad food and not enough micronutrients and minerals to support their normal function.

So save yourself the trouble of following any special detox starvation plan. Instead simply eat fresh, healthy foods and drink plenty of water - your body will thank you.

Do you have more questions about detoxing? Head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy and ask your questions or join the conversation there! I look forward to hearing from you.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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