The Effects of Salt on Your Kidneys and How to Cleanse Them

It’s essential that you stay hydrated in order to help deal with excess salt in your body. To do this, You should try and drink at least four glasses of water a day.
The Effects of Salt on Your Kidneys and How to Cleanse Them
Karla Henríquez

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Karla Henríquez.

Last update: 10 August, 2022

Salt is such a common condiment, that it’s hard to think of eating food without it. In fact, we even tend to moan if we find out a dish doesn’t contain any as it makes our food so tasty and enjoyable. However, the effects of salt in the long term (if you abuse it), can be harmful to your health. Therefore, it’s well worth considering controlling and reducing its consumption.

Next, we’ll explain the effects of salt on your kidneys and, at the same time, offer you some natural and simple alternatives to help you cleanse them without too much effort.

Various studies tell us about the importance of taking care of our kidneys. For example, this study entitled Your Kidneys and How They Work. It explains that the kidneys are a pair of vital organs that perform various functions to keep the blood clean and chemically balanced. It also suggests that understanding how our kidneys work can help us keep them healthy.

The effects of salt on the kidneys

The organs that usually suffer the most damage from the effects of excessive salt consumption are the kidneys. They’re in charge of filtering and purifying between three and five liters of blood.

A woman with back pain which could depict poor kidney health.
Lack of appetite, anemia, and pain in the lumbar region are all signs of possible kidney failure.

There’s a certain tendency to recommend reducing the consumption of table salt and, in some diets, to replace it with Himalayan salt. In other cases, it’s recommended to remove it completely. This is because many of the foods you eat every day already contain a certain amount of salt, which is just the right amount for your kidneys to be able to purify and filter.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that the daily consumption of sodium in adults should be less than two grams per day, which is equivalent to five grams of salt per day.

All habits can be changed, and excessive salt consumption is no exception. When you first reduce your salt intake, you’ll notice the difference, but as time goes on, you’ll start to enjoy the naturalness of the flavors.

The American Heart Association noted that studies have demonstrated that when people start following a low-salt or no-salt diet, they tend to stick with it.

However, what consequences does salt intake have on your kidneys?

You also might like to read:  6 Basic Care Tips to Protect Your Kidneys

1. Salt accumulates in your body

When you consume more than five grams of salt per day, it accumulates in your tissues, organs, and blood. Thus, a process of ‘salt retention’ begins in your body, as this study explains.

The consequences of excess salt (acidified) in your body could be:

  • Allergies.
  • Infections.
  • Hypertension.
  • Joint pain.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Chronic tiredness.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Difficulties in concentrating.
  • Feeling cold and exhausted.
  • Heart and kidney problems.
  • Risk of different types of cancer.
A leg with water retention, one of the effects of salt on your kidneys.

2. May prevent purifying of the blood

The effects of salt on the body begin to be evident after the age of 40 when many people suffer from hypertension, high cholesterol, a more striking body fat index, and metabolic changes, among others.

These can be symptoms of a kidney problem caused by excess salt coupled with insufficient consumption of water. Therefore, it seems that excess salt can prevent or make it impossible for us to purify the blood correctly.

60 percent of the body is made up of water. As this study shows, when there’s an excess of salt in the body, it accumulates in tissues and organs. This prevents the kidneys from adequately filtering the blood. Consequently, we suffer from fluid and toxin retention and certain parts of our bodies become swollen. Here are the most visible effects of a kidney problem and the fact that the blood isn’t being purified properly:

  • Feeling cold.
  • Chronic tiredness.
  • Swelling of the feet.
  • Tight and bulging abdomen.

3. It hinders the proper functioning of the renal system

The more excess salt the body stores, the harder the kidneys will have to work to purge it, as evidenced in this article, which focused on Costa Rica. When added to low consumption of water, excess salt causes an overload that’s highly capable of causing kidney damage.

4. Indirect effects of salt on the body

In addition to the above, these are some of the effects that excessive salt consumption can cause in the body:

  • Excess weight.
  • Constipation.
  • Renal colic.
  • Hair loss.
  • Skin problems.
  • Rheumatism and arthritis.
  • Intestinal problems.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Damaged veins and arteries: arteriosclerosis.

Salt substitutes

Salt isn’t the only element that can be used to flavor foods and make them tasty. There are other healthier options that can enhance the flavor of food, from aromatic herbs to spices. For example:

  • Parsley.
  • Cumin.
  • Mustard.
  • Pepper.
  • Oregano.
  • Ginger.
  • Basil.
  • Turmeric.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Garlic and onion powder.

You can take advantage of all these options and prepare delicious meals while, at the same time, cleansing your kidneys naturally.

You might like to read:  Excessive Salt or Sugar Intake: Which Is Worse for Your Health?

Drink water to eliminate excess salt in the body

One of the main strategies to remove excess salt from the body is to drink more water. In fact, you should drink whenever you feel thirsty.

Although you often overlook it or simply don’t give it the importance it deserves, we advise you to try always carrying a bottle of water with you and occasionally taking a few sips.

Try this parsley remedy to cleanse your kidneys

Parsley in a glass with water.


  • 1 liter of water.
  • Juice of a lemon.
  • Fresh parsley (50 g).


  • Boil the water.
  • Add the parsley.
  • Cook for 30 minutes and let it stand for half an hour.
  • Add the juice of the lemon and strain.

If you have doubts about how to progressively reduce your salt intake, we recommend that you consult your doctor or a nutritionist.

Keep in mind that, if you’re going to substitute salt for spices, you should be informed of what their contraindications may be (especially in the case of ginger and cinnamon).


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Marrero, G. V., Escandón, M. C., Soto, R., & Mendoza, A. (2004). Instructivo tecnico del cultivo de la albahaca (Ocinum basilicum L) en Cuba.
  • Colivet, J., Marcano, G., Belloso, G., Brito, D., & Gómez, E. (2012). Efecto antimicrobiano de extractos etanólicos de albahaca (Ocimum basilicum L.) sobre el crecimiento de Staphylococcus aureus. Revista Venezolana de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos.
  • Cardoso-Ugarte, Sosa-Morales. (2012). Propiedades del aceite esencial de albahaca (Ocimum basilicum L.) y sus aplicaciones en alimentos.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.