Your blood is responsible for transporting all sorts of materials throughout your body, from oxygen, to hormones, clotting factors, sugar, fats, and the cells of your immune system.
There’s really no need to invest in an expensive cleanse diet or buy tons of detox supplements to help keep your blood clean and free of toxins and waste.
Your liver and your kidneys already do a great job of purifying your blood by removing and breaking down waste. So, your best bet for purifying your blood naturally would be to find ways to help these essential organs function most efficiently.
Read on for a list of the best foods and herbs to help keep these wonderful organs strong and healthy.
The blood serves three main functions:
- Transport. The blood transports gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the lungs and the rest of the body. The blood also moves nutrients from the digestive tract to the rest of the body, and transports waste products, hormones, and other cells.
- Protection. The blood contains white blood cells that destroy invading microorganisms, as well as platelet factors to clot the blood and minimize blood loss from an injury.
- Regulation. The blood helps to regulate your body’s pH, water balance, and temperature.
Your blood has a lot of important responsibilities, so it’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to keep their blood free of wastes and toxins.
Fortunately, your body already has a system to take care of the detox process and remove waste from the blood, namely the liver and the kidneys.
- Liver. The liver is found in the upper right part of the stomach. It helps convert food into energy. It also converts toxins, like alcohol, harmful metals, and medications, into harmless substances and ensures they are removed from the body.
- Kidneys. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs responsible for filtering the blood and removing waste.
Your body’s natural detox process also involves your intestines, skin, spleen, and lymphatic system.
You’ll see a lot of unfounded claims about detox supplements that can supposedly cleanse and purify the blood. While the ingredients in these supplements might help the blood indirectly by supporting kidney and liver function, there’s no evidence to show that they have a direct impact on removing waste and toxins from the blood.
There’s no single miracle food that will help your organs detox your blood. An overall healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is a great start.
The following foods in particular have been shown to positively affect the liver and kidney’s ability to cleanse and filter out waste and toxins from the blood:
By far the best way to boost your kidneys’ performance is to drink enough water. Your kidneys depend on water to help them eliminate waste from the body. Water also helps keep your blood vessels open so that blood can move freely. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney damage.
Your urine should be light yellow or colorless throughout the day. According to the National Kidney Association, you should be producing about 6 cups of urine each day.
An adequate water intake will be different for everyone. A general rule is eight glasses of water per day, but you may need more if you engage in hard exercise or you weigh more. Men generally need more water than women.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
Cruciferous vegetables are often recommended for people with kidney disease. They’re high in antioxidants and extremely nutritious. They have been shown to reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including kidney cancer.
Plus, they’re incredibly versatile. You can eat them raw, steamed, baked, grilled, or as part of a soup or casserole.
You can snack on blueberries fresh or frozen, or mix them into yogurt, oatmeal, or a smoothie.
Cranberries are often touted for their urinary tract benefits. They have been shown to prevent bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract, which in turn keeps your kidneys free from infection.
To access the benefits of this fruit, you can simply add a handful of fresh cranberries to oatmeal, smoothies, or even salads.
Drinking coffee may have protective effects on the liver. Studies show that drinking coffee lowers the risk of cirrhosis in people with chronic liver disease and may also reduce the risk of developing liver cancer.
Coffee is associated with a lower risk of death in people with chronic liver disease and an improved response to antiviral treatment in people with hepatitis C. The benefits may be due to coffee’s ability to prevent the accumulation of fat and collagen in the liver.
Garlic adds a wonderful flavor to any dish, whether raw or in powdered form. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. High blood pressure can harm the blood vessels in the kidney, so it’s a good idea to keep it in check.
Grapefruit is high in antioxidants and may help control inflammation in the body. Most studies looking at the effect of grapefruit’s components have been conducted in animals, but the results are promising.
These studies have found that antioxidants contained in grapefruit can help protect the liver from injury and the harmful effects of alcohol.
Apples contain a high amount of a soluble fiber known as pectin. Soluble fiber helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Since high blood sugar can damage your kidneys, anything that helps keep it in check will have an indirect, positive effect on kidney health. Apples make a great snack, especially with a bit of peanut butter.
Certain types of fish, like salmon, tuna, or sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease blood triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure, both of which can help out your liver and kidneys.
Keep in mind that fish are high in protein. If you already have kidney disease, you should limit the amount of high-protein foods you eat. Eating too much protein may make your kidneys work harder.
Many herbs have health benefits. However, you should avoid taking in excessive amounts of herbal extracts as they may be harmful to your kidneys. You should avoid all herbal supplements if you already have kidney or liver disease. Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or supplement plan.
Ginger may help improve your body’s control of blood sugar. Studies have also shown that ginger can help treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Fresh or powdered ginger can add flavor to certain dishes or you can drink it as a tea.
Studies show that drinking green tea may improve the health of the liver, reduce fat deposits in the liver, and possibly ward against liver cancer.
The biggest benefits are seen in people who drink at least four cups a day.
Roselle is a species of hibiscus with a cranberry-like flavor. It has been shown to have diuretic effects on the body and may assist with kidney filtration.
Hibiscus is available as a tea. If you’re lucky to grow this flower in your own home garden, you can add the calyces to your salads.
Research in animals suggests that parsley can also help protect the liver. Another study found that it may help with urinary volume, which helps the kidneys get rid of waste.
You can go ahead and sprinkle fresh parsley over many types of dishes, especially Italian food.
Dandelion acts as a diuretic, which means it increases the amount of water moving through your kidneys. This in turn helps filter out waste from the blood. At least one recent study has also found that dandelion could be beneficial for liver function.
The best way to enjoy dandelion is to brew a tea using dandelion leaves, flowers, or root.
There’s no need to buy detox supplements or embark on any drastic detox cleanses to keep your blood clean. The body is equipped with a detox system of its own. All you really need is a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and enough water. You should also limit your alcohol intake. This will ensure that your liver and kidneys are operating at their best.
Foods like cabbage, berries, coffee, and garlic have been shown to support liver and kidney health, but they aren’t going to do anything magical to your blood that your kidneys and liver don’t already do.
Of course, things can go wrong with your liver and kidneys that can’t be controlled with diet alone. If you’ve been diagnosed with a liver or kidney condition, talk to your doctor about any special dietary changes, herbal teas, or lifestyle changes you need to make in order to manage your condition.