What Is a Juice Cleanse? The Pros and Cons
A juice cleanse or juice fast, involves drinking delicious drinks made ideally from a combination of vegetables and fruit and is normally carried out over a short period, anywhere between 1 and 7 days.
Whilst so called experts are keen to state the lack of published research or clinical evidence to support the virtues of undertaking such a detox, there is no doubting how great you can look and feel after completing a juicing programme. Just ask anyone who has undertaken a juice cleanse.
Having had experience of running juicing retreats for over 17 years and witnessing the transformational changes that quickly happen to people when their body is not bombarded with alcohol, sugar, nicotine, caffeine – the temporary withdrawal symptoms from stepping away from life’s excesses are certainly well worth it. Short term side effects as such as headaches, tiredness, nausea, low energy, irritability, are indeed all signs that you needed a detox in the first place. After all, your body will always end up handing you the receipt for how you’ve been treating it.
Interestingly, researchers at UCLA, (University of California), have published a body of work emphasising the health benefits of undertaking even a 3-day juice cleanse. Some of the positive effects are listed as increasing your levels of nitric oxide, (essential for heart health), reducing body weight and increasing beneficial gut bacteria anyone? Sounds pretty good to me.
Dr Mark Hyman, an American Physician states that juice cleanses offer a ‘roadmap for breakthrough wellbeing.’ Dr Woodson Merrell, Executive Director for the Centre of Health and Healing in New York shares in his book, ‘The Detox Prescription,’ plenty of clinical experience and academic research on how juicing can literally change your health and your life.
One of the most powerful benefits of juicing is that it gives your gut a rest. Feeling bloated, sensitive stomach, constipation, irritable bowel? A juice cleanse can literally help reset your gut health. Consuming juices filled with phytonutrients, (compounds found in plant foods that promote good health), are able to repair the gut lining. Also the digestion of food takes up a lot of time. Up to 40% of our everyday energy is spent on digestion. Y’know that energised feeling you get when you’ve had a well-deserved holiday, well your digestive track needs a holiday sometimes too.
The 4 top benefits we have seen from people undertaking a juice cleanse are as follows:
Boost Your Energy Levels
It makes sense that for good health you need to feed your body with plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. Juice cleansing literally does this. It floods your body with fruit and vegetable goodness in a natural usable state. The powerful nutrients are able to go straight to work in your cells, cleaning, repairing and healing yourself from the inside out.
Hydrating your Body to health
Once of the main causes of tiredness today is dehydration. If you are a regular tea or coffee drinker, these beverages simply exasperate the problem and can add to feelings of lethargy and the need for a quick sugary fix. When you step away from the caffeine and drink delicious juices and good quality clean water, you’ll be amazed at the positive change a cleanse can make to your hydration levels, leaving you with better skin, clearer eyes and improved energy levels. Remember it is the eighth glass of water that is needed to reach the skin. Stay hydrated and see lines and wrinkles disappear.
Kick start for Weight Loss
A juice cleanse can offers the chance to draw a line under any lifestyle habit that no longer serves your health or your life. Juice cleansing can give you a wonderful sense of a ‘clean slate’ feeling. It also is motivational to anyone who wishes to see a difference on the scales. Weight loss during a juice programme can be anywhere from 1lb to 3lbs per day. That level of result in a short space of time can be an incentivising gateway to healthier ways of caring for yourself and eating a more balanced diet, free from sugar, processed and toxic foods.
Re-balance Your Blood Sugar
Typical fruit and vegetables that are used to make juices will include dark leafy greens, cabbage, apple, curly kale, courgettes, cucumber, spinach and beets. By using nature’s own nutrient packed foods, you are naturally giving your body a break from the refined sugar and processed foods which inevitably make up so much of our western diet. By doing so, congratulation, you are lowering your chances of diabetes, fatty liver, cancers, stroke and heart disease. You will find that your taste buds will change dramatically after completing a juice detox.
Is Juice Cleansing Right for Me?
So with all these benefits, is juice cleansing right for everyone? Although we can say that everyone who lives in the western world would most likely gain benefit from a juice cleanse, not everyone should, or could participate. People with life-threatening diseases, pregnancy, or people struggling with eating disorders would not be advised to undertake a juice fast. In any case, it would be advisable for everyone to always check with their doctor or medical health care professional before they go on a juice cleanse no matter how short the duration.
Are there any ‘cons’ to juice cleansing?
It’s obvious that man cannot live on juice alone and we would certainly not recommend that juice cleansing was in any way a long-term way to live or a healthy eating plan – of course not. Juice cleansing is not the answer to long term weight management problems, neither will it teach you how to eat, or what to eat. However, approached with the right mindset, a juice cleanse can be a powerful kick start to a new beginning of a healthier, lighter, brighter version of you.