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Benefits of doing a Juice Fast Cleanse
What is a Juice Fast Cleanse?
A juice cleanse, which is also called a juice fast, is a detoxifying diet that involves drinking only vegetable and fruit juice for usually 1, 3 or 5 days.
Drinking only nutrient dense raw juice floods the body with healing nourishment while also flushing toxins and waste.
A juice cleanse is also known as an elimination cleanse and supports the body’s natural detox processes by eliminating toxins from the diet such as sugar, caffeine, refined foods and other substances that drain energy from the internal organs that would otherwise be put to use in the process of autophagy.
Autophagy literally means ‘self-eating’ and refers to a the body’s natural process of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
What Can I Drink and Eat?
Ideally raw, cold pressed, organic juice is the main ingredient of a juice cleanse. Room temperature water and warm herbal teas can also be drank between each juice or meal to help with the process of flushing toxins out of the body.
Smoothies and some unprocessed easily digestible foods can be included or substituted if you feel that a liquid only fast may be a bit too hard. Many people combine their juice cleanse with a combination of raw vegan food.
A typical cleanse has three stages:
- Preparation: For 3 to 5 days before the cleanse, it’s recommended to gradually eliminate coffee, sodas, sugar, meat, dairy products, wheat, alcohol, and nicotine to reduce headaches, cravings and other withdrawal symptoms during the cleanse. At the same time it’s helpful to increase your intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and hydrating fluids, such as water, coconut water and caffeinated teas.
- Cleanse: For the one to three days of the actual cleanse, drink at least 32 ounces of juice or smoothie daily. At least half should be green vegetable juice. If hunger pangs are persistent or uncomfortable, vegetable broth or a small snack such as carrots, celery, a salad, or a piece of fruit is often suggested.
- Post-cleanse: Eat lightly for a few days, gradually adding foods back in over the course of several days.
What to Eat
- Raw, fresh juice made from fruits and vegetables
- Almond milk
- Gluten-free vegan meals
- Vegetable broth
- Raw vegetables, like carrots or peppers, to snack on
What Not to Eat
- Processed foods
- Meat, poultry, or dairy
- Sugar and sweetened food
What we include in your cleanser
Fruits and vegetables used to make juices often include celery, kale, carrot, apple, spinach, beetroot, and leafy greens. Avocados and bananas have low water content and don’t juice well, but work well in smoothies.
Proponents of juice cleanses prefer organic produce. If it’s unavailable, a fruit and vegetable wash (often available in health food stores) may help to remove pesticide residues
What You Need to Know
Juice cleanse advocates claim that nutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants are more readily absorbed by the body in liquid form. However, research on the bioavailability of raw juices versus that of whole fruits or vegetables is mixed.
To optimize nutrient absorption, proponents recommend drinking juice slowly rather than gulping it down. Juice is typically consumed a couple of hours apart, with the final drink of the day at least three hours before bedtime.
A schedule might look like this:
- When you wake up: Lukewarm water with a splash of fresh lemon juice
- 8 to 9 a.m.: Juice, such as a green vegetable juice
- 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Juice (or smoothie/cleanse food)
- 1 to 2 p.m.: Juice (or smoothie/cleanse food)
- 3 to 4 p.m.: Juice, such as beet, carrot and apple juice
- 5 to 6 p.m.: Juice (or smoothie/cleanse food)
- 6 to 8 p.m.: Smoothie or almond or cashew nut “milk”
During a juice cleanse, you should also:
- Stick to light physical activity. While it’s a good idea to tone down your exercise routine during a juice cleanse, normal activities such as walking may help boost blood and lymphatic circulation.
- Book a massage. Try massage therapy (such as Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, deep tissue massage, and Thai massage), contrast showers, and skin brushing, which can be done as part of a regular shower.
- Practice mind and body wellness. Allow the mind to rest by incorporating mind/body practices such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation. Try to get plenty of rest. Go to bed as early as you can and take naps if possible.
- Prepare for emotions that may arise. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with anger, the kidneys with fear, and the spleen with worry. Proponents of juice cleansing believe that old emotions may arise and be cleansed from the system as the corresponding organs are cleansed, but evidence supporting this is lacking.
Breaking a Juice Cleanse
The day after completing the cleanse, eat mostly vegetables, either raw or lightly steamed, and fruit or nuts. Portion sizes should be small and the diet should be very similar to what you did to prepare for the cleanse—no sugar, coffee, wheat, gluten-containing foods, processed foods, or dairy.
The next day, include more plant foods, such as beans, brown rice, or quinoa. Continue to add back foods that you’d like to have in your regular diet. By the fifth day after the fast, resume eating regular meals.
Some people use the days after a cleanse to try to identify their reactions to foods. To do this, keep a journal and reintroduce foods systematically, noting any changes in energy, digestion, cravings, or other symptoms.
For example, on the first day, gluten may be introduced in small amounts. Then note what happens over the 24– to 48-hour period after reintroducing each food. Dairy is another food category that is often reintroduced carefully and tested.
We recommend that you consult with a health care professional prior to a juice cleanse if you have any prioir health condition.
Is a Juice Cleanse a Healthy Choice for You?
Following a juice cleanse can provide a short-term boost for starting a new healthy eating program or a quick reset after a few days of indulging, but it is not recommended as a long-term weight loss program. While following a juice fast for three days may provide short-term weight loss, it does not teach skills, like healthy meal planning and preparing, needed for sustained weight loss.
While proponents of a juice cleanse tout the benefits of this fasting plan, there is limited research to back the health claims. However, increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be part of a normal healthy diet.
Since fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients, drinking fresh juice boosts the intake of vitamins, minerals, and other anti-inflammatory compounds. These micronutrients may help support immunity and improve overall health.
Some people report that they feel more energetic after a juice cleanse. This could be, in part, due to the energy-boosting nutrients in fruits and vegetables combined with a decrease in “energy zappers,” such as sugary coffee and foods with added sugars.
Another way a juice cleanse might increase energy is by reducing dehydration. Many people don’t drink the recommended amount of fluids (9 to 13 cups per day). This can leave you feeling fatigued. Drinking juice all day can help reduce this effect.
An additional suggested health benefit of a juice cleanse is helping the body get rid of toxic substances. Several fruits and veggies are recognized as natural detoxifiers. Among them are cruciferous vegetables, celery, grapefruit, and berries.
Still, some researchers question how to properly test whether detox diets actually improve bodily function via eliminating toxins. Until more research can be conducted, it’s difficult to say what effects this type of diet has long-term.
Raw juice contains enzymes that may improve digestion. Freshly squeezed orange juice, for instance, influences pH and acidity in the digestive system. Leafy greens have also been found to improve gut microbiota.