Is it possible to cleanse your body of toxins? Yes: Not through expensive, pointless supplements or gimmicks but by supporting the health of your organs. “If your body already has a working liver, working kidneys and working lungs, your body already has the balance it needs,” says Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietician at the Mayo Clinic. Here are five ways to show your hard-working liver and kidneys some love. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Drinking water is important for the health of your kidneys. “Water helps your kidneys remove waste from your blood,” says the Southern Massachusetts Dialysis Group. “Your body excretes these wastes and excess fluids in the form of urine that travels to your bladder before leaving your body. Water also helps keep your arteries open so that your blood can flow freely to your kidneys. This blood delivers oxygen and nutrients that help your kidneys function. Dehydration makes it more difficult for this delivery system to work.
What you eat has a tremendous impact on your liver health. “It’s one of the only organs that can regenerate itself,” says liver specialist Christina Lindenmeyer, MD. “If you have an infection or an injury to your liver, it’s possible that if you live a healthy lifestyle and eat the right foods, your liver may be able to heal itself.”
“We recommend the Mediterranean diet to our liver patients,” says Annie Guinane, RD, LDN, CNSC. “The Mediterranean diet is everything you would expect a dietitian to recommend – more fruits and veggies, more whole grains, more nuts and legumes, lean meats, less red meat and less sweets/added sugars.”
Excess fat is damaging to liver health, experts say. “Due to the rising epidemic of obesity in the United States, the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is rapidly increasing and is expected to overtake hepatitis C as the leading indication for liver transplant in the next 30 years,” says Tinsay Ambachew Woreta, MD, MPH.
Getting the right amount of sleep—at least 7 hours a day, according to the CDC—is incredibly important for liver health. “People with poor nighttime sleep and prolonged daytime napping have the highest risk for developing fatty liver disease,” says Yan Liu, PhD, of the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. “Our study found a moderate improvement in sleep quality was related to a 29% reduction in the risk for fatty liver disease.”
Regular exercise is key to supporting liver health. “As a transplant hepatologist and exercise researcher, I am often asked by my patients with chronic liver disease whether or not they should exercise,” says Jonathan Stine, MD MSc, FACP. “My answer is always a resounding ‘YES!’ and sometimes accompanied with a little fist bump they may or may not notice… When coupled with a modest weight loss of at least 7% of your body weight, regular physical activity can even improve scar tissue (fibrosis) in your liver.”