What You Need To Know Before You Try A Juice Cleanse

If you are facing a health stump, feeling fatigued, or generally aren't feeling your best, you may have considered doing a juice cleanse. Juice cleanses have grown in popularity because they are a holistic home remedy known to provide many health benefits, often offering a body reset of sorts. Some people opt for a juice cleanse when they are looking for a boost of energy, weight loss, or simply a jolt of necessary nutrients. In the medical industry, however, it may be considered a controversial approach. Just like with anything else involving your health, there are definitely pros and cons to consider when you are thinking about doing a juice cleanse (via Healthline).

Juicing involves extracting raw juice from fruits and vegetables into one convenient drink. This is usually done with a juicing machine that turns the fruit and vegetables into pulp. Then, it separates the juice from the fiber. Juicing is not to be confused with a smoothie, which involves blending whole fruits and vegetables into one — and maintaining their fiber. Juicing is best done at home because store-bought juices may contain added sugars and ingredients, while homemade ones won't. Juice cleanses usually involve some form of fasting, too. Depending on your needs, this fast can last anywhere from one to 10 days, or even up to three weeks. Some fasting techniques may involve drinking only the juice, while others may include some sort of food element in addition to the juice (via WebMD). But what do you need to know in order to form your opinion on these cleanses? Let's dive in.

Benefits of a juice cleanse

Fruits and vegetables are probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think about healthy eating. This is because they contain many essential nutrients that contribute to your overall health. As noted by Healthline, fruits and vegetables contain phenolic compounds, or plant compounds, with antioxidant, immune-supporting, and antibacterial benefits. Juicing provides a convenient way to help consume these nutrients, which can then help with weight loss, gut health, and even skin health. Many people who partake in juicing also do so with the belief that it helps remove toxins from the body. Ultimately, some benefits of juicing provide an excellent source of antioxidants, antimicrobial properties, and, most importantly, nutrients that help boost your immune system.

A study published in Scientific Reports showed examples of fruit and vegetable juice blends that provided an intake of 1,310 calories per day with six bottles of the blends each day. There were a variety of blends, including one made from apple, cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce, lemon, spinach, kale, and parsley as one blend; one made from apple, lemon, ginger, and beet; a third made from apple, pineapple, lemon, and mint; and a final one made from filtered water, cayenne, lemon, almonds, dates, sea salt, and vanilla bean. However, as with any diet or lifestyle change, there may be risks involved.

Risks to consider

While juice cleansing may provide some amazing benefits, it does carry some risks you need to keep in mind. As shown in the previous juice blend examples, it is important to consider your calorie intake because juice cleanses pose a risk of not meeting your daily calorie needs. Juice cleanses can be low in calories, which may help with weight loss, but it is only temporary. Think about which fruits or vegetables you need to add to your juice to get a sufficient number of calories. Some juice cleanses consist solely of juice and no food, so a low-calorie intake can also cause low blood sugar, leading to weakness, dehydration, hunger, feeling tired, and possibly fainting (via Medical News Today).

You may also experience protein deficiency. The daily recommended protein intake for men is 59 grams and 46 grams for women. Juicing alone may not provide the necessary amount needed to promote health, healing, and brain function. Medical News Today also states that malnourishment can be a result of eliminating essential food groups from your daily diet for extended periods of time. Additionally, some fruits or vegetables, like spinach and beets, are high in oxalate, which can increase the risk of kidney problems.

If you're interested in gaining all the health-boosting benefits of cleanses without committing to one, many medical professionals suggest eating a well-balanced diet with whole fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber, cutting down on processed foods, or trying a plant-based diet (via Healthline).