There are a number of juice cleanses available that promise fast, foolproof results. From the Blueprint Cleanse, which promises no uncomfortable side effects to the Zen Cleanse which aims to flush toxins from your body.
With juice cleanses becoming more mainstream than ever, it’s important to do your homework and research what kind of cleanse is right for you before you begin. While some cleanses include whole foods and offer nutritional benefits, others suspect that cleanses and fasts are little more than diet hype.
“A juice cleanse is very safe and easy to do. One of the best ways to start gently detoxing the body is to add fresh vegetable juices to a good diet,” said Cherie Calbom, MS, author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet and Juicing for Life. “This will start the body on a gentle detox. Then you can progress to a day or two of vegetable juice fasting where you give your digestive system a rest. This helps your body rejuvenate and repair damaged areas.”
When a juice fast is done safely and properly, it can help aid the body’s digestive system, improve hair and skin quality and give you more energy, in the long-term.
“During a short juice fast cleanse, people may experience detox symptoms such as a headache or flu-type symptoms,” said Denise Mari, founder of the Organic Avenue Cleanse. “That’s due to toxins being released. The symptoms usually pass fairly quickly and then the person feels lighter and more energized.”
Experts warn that for people used to eating foods high in fat, sugar or sodium, detoxification symptoms can occur, such as minor skin eruptions, headaches or digestive discomfort which pass quickly.
“You should always consult with your doctor before you begin a cleanse or fast,” said Mari . “It’s always good to talk with someone who has done a cleanse before.”
Some cleanses incorporate raw food in addition to fresh pressed juices, and all the programs can be modified if necessary for your dietary needs.
If you’re making homemade juice for your cleanse or fast, bear in mind that some ingredients are better suited for homemade juice than others. Some items deliver powerful nutrients, like kale, chard, collard greens, beet tops, radish tops, spinach, and parsley.
“Lemon is high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, ginger is an anti-inflammatory that’s also rich in zinc and carrots or green apple are nice for sweetness,” said Mari. “Juices are a great way to use leftover veggie pieces such as broccoli or asparagus stems.”
When you’re making juice, Mari recommends that you steer clear of high-sugar fruits like pineapple, watermelon, grapes or red delicious apples. “Most fruit juice provides too much sugar without the fiber, which slows down sugar absorption.”