Health Benefits Of A Juice Cleanse: Is It Worth It?

Juice cleansing has become popular for weight loss and detoxing the body from unhealthy toxins. It is the process of consuming concentrated good fruit and vegetable juices while still providing you with the necessary nutrients to avoid inflammation. An intermittent juice cleanse consists of cutting out all solid foods for a specific period. All of your food intake comprises fruit and vegetable juices. 

However, juice cleansing is a controversial area and it is not the right solution for everyone. There is also no scientific evidence to show that it will give you lasting health benefits.  Promoters of juicing say it can help people kick start a healthy eating plan, as it creates a break from unhealthy  habits. 

Choose To Juice Your Own Way

If you are going to opt for a juice cleanse then you need to make the juice yourself. You need to be in control of what is going into your juicing plan. Do not out-source this, or even buy pre-packed juices as you do not know what has been put in them to taste better.   A lot of mass-produced juices contain unhealthy preservatives and also hidden additives like sugar. 

It is also more cost effective in the long run to do your own juicing.  And remember, you do not need to go on a juice cleanse to include juices in your diet.

Choosing the right juicer will ensure the ingredients are preserved for your cleanse. Not all juicers are created equal so it is important to buy a juicer that will preserve all vitamins and minerals from the vegetables during the juicing process.  

Why A Juice Cleanse?

 Here are some reasons to go on an intermittent juice cleanse or juice fast. 

1. Weight Loss

The most obvious reason for going on a juice cleanse is short-term weight loss.  In fact, this seems to be the main reason why it is so popular. People who go on a juice diet consume fewer calories, proteins, and carbohydrates so it is logical some weight loss will occur.  However,  medical scientists say this weight loss is due to water loss in the body and is not actual fat loss.

Fruit and vegetable juices if chosen well can provide nutrients to boost your overall body health. This results in short term weight loss as instead of eating cake or a bag of chips, you are opting for a glass of juice. Remember though, a juice cleanse is intermittent and you cannot live on juice alone. See it as a kick starter to better health and make sure you have a good eating plan to go to. Read more below on this.

2. Vitamin Intake

Including natural home-made juice in your diet is a given. Our lives have become fast paced and in this hustle bustle, we often forget to take care of ourselves due to which essential vitamins are not absorbed in our body. For example, you need vitamin A to help you with eye disorders and skin infections. B vitamins help with pregnancy issues and chronic pain. Similarly, vitamin C and D are good for your skin and immune system. Home made juice can provide you with essential vitamins that your body requires as fruits and green vegetables are enriched with various types of vitamins. 

Get to know which juices are good for your specific health requirements.  For example, beetroot juice is good for high blood pressure.

3. Cleanse Your Body

Your body is capable of detoxing itself naturally without a juice detox. However, an intermittent juice fast will assist your body in its natural process of detoxing.  It gives a break to your stomach from all the solid foods and therefore, instead of digesting food. Through detoxification, your body organs get a chance to rebuild themselves.

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Your energy levels will increase and you will feel lighter given your body excretes more water. If you opt for fruit and vegetables over starchy and other unhealthy foods over time, you will find that your cholesterol plaque  improves and mucus is cleaned-up. 

How To Sustain a Healthier Lifestyle in the Long Term

This includes the following:

  • Consume a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruit daily. Sure, veggie juices can be enjoyed as part of a daily healthy eating plan and are ideal for boosting your intake of fresh vegetables and fruit. However, it should be in addition to your whole veggies, not in place of. (More on veggie juices below).
  • Select foods which are whole and unprocessed without synthetic production for example snack on a fresh fruit instead of a protein bar, enjoy a freshly made vegetable soup instead of an instant cup a soup.
  • Consume at least a glass of water for every 10 kg you weigh. Add on more than needed for exercise/activity. You can include decaffeinated teas like Rooibos or herbal tea as part of water intake (ideally without milk or sugar) or jazz up water with slices of lemon or orange, mint leaves, cucumber slices, and berries – whatever you wish. In cooler months, enjoy a cup of hot water with a good squeeze of lemon juice.

And it is not limited to:

  • Ensure optimal gut function by consuming high fibre foods such as whole grains (barley, quinoa, corn, rolled oats and wild/brown rice) and legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils).
  • Few people appreciate that fat is metabolized in the liver, so a high fat diet puts extra pressure on the liver, especially when the sources of fat are not the healthy kind, like saturated fat from fatty cuts of meat and chicken skin, or lots of deep dried foods. Choose lean protein (chicken breast, fish, ostrich), cutting away the fat from meat and skin off chicken, watching added fats like dressings on salads or butter to bread, and eating less fatty foods like chips, crisps, chocolate, pastries, muffins, biscuits, etc.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin, so watch your intake. If you currently drink, aim for no more than 1 drink per day. One drink is the same as ½ glass wine, 1 beer, or 1 tot of spirits. Aim for a few alcohol-free days a week.
  • Kicking the smoking habit. Smoking is associated with a huge variety of health problems other than lung cancer or  higher cholesterol. Smoking also produces toxins which harm the body. If you smoke it would be a great idea to stop. If not, try to stay away from second-hand smoke from others.

A note on veggie juices

Some people find that they really don’t eat many fruits or vegetables but drink the juice, so juicing is a great way for them to get some produce in their diets and some nutrients that they’d otherwise likely skip. However, if you juice, don’t think you’re off the hook and don’t have to eat your fruits and veggies. A juicing machine extracts the juice from whole fruits or vegetables. Juicing also removes the pulp, which contains fibre, hence we don’t want to rely solely on veggie juices for our veggie intake. To help with this, you could add this pulp to soups in the winter, so you don’t lose out too much of the fibre.

That being said, vegetable juices are still a good way to sneak in some of your vegetables for the day. Technically, any vegetable can be used to make a vegetable juice and it is all about the creative combinations that you enjoy. All vegetables can form part of a healthy diet, especially when it comes to lowering blood pressure. Vegetables are low in salt and high in potassium and magnesium – making them the perfect trio for lowering blood pressure.

Important Points to Consider Before you Go on A Juice Detox

According to Medical News Today, doctors have identified several risks of juice cleanses, including those below:

  • Drinking large quantities of juice may be harmful to those with kidney disorders. Certain types of juice contain oxalate, an acid that can contribute to kidney stones and other kidney problems.
  • Cleansing diets are usually low in calories. A reduced calorie intake may result in temporary weight loss, but this change is rarely long-lasting.
  • If a person consumes juices that are unpasteurized or have not had another treatment to remove bacteria, they are at greater risk of illness. This is especially true for very young and older people as well as those with weakened immune systems.
  • If a juice cleanse includes laxatives or other methods of bowel stimulation, a person could lose too many nutrients in their stool. This can lead to dehydration and imbalanced electrolytes.
  • Consuming an insufficient number of calories can cause a person to experience symptoms relating to low blood sugar because the body does not have enough energy. Examples of these symptoms include fainting, weakness, dehydration, headaches, and hunger.

A person should also be wary of pre-packaged juice cleanses that promise significant results, such as reversing diseases or providing dramatic health benefits. There is usually a lack of research to support these claims.

In Conclusion

If you are set on a juice cleanse, understanding that it is not a long term solution, then please consult a medical professional before a juice cleanse.   Also, for every body-type, the need for nutrients is different thus you will need to understand which fruits and vegetables are best for your specific daily requirements. There are no short term miracle weight loss programs. Rather, choose a long-term sustainable healthy eating program for the best results. And yes, of course, include your own fresh home-made juices in your daily regime. 

The right vegetables and fruits for a juice detox will yield the best results. If you want to read more about juice cleansing recipes, read this.

Want to know more?

Clean eating is a massive topic worldwide nowadays. However, when it comes to weight loss, there is such a large emphasis on intense exercise. Unfortunately, people often get caught up in this hype, and they end up hurting themselves. This occurs as a result of them attempting to lose weight quickly. Honestly, the only thing that truly gets sustainable results is cleaning up your diet. Click here for more on clean eating.

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