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How many times a week should you juice cleanse?

Juice cleansing has become an increasingly popular way for people to detox their bodies and reset their systems. By consuming only fresh fruit and vegetable juices for a period of time, many aim to give their digestive system a break while flooding their body with vitamins and minerals. But with juice cleanses ranging from 1 to 7 days, how often should you actually be doing them? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of different juice cleanse frequencies to help you determine what schedule is right for you.

What is a juice cleanse?

A juice cleanse involves replacing solid foods with freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juices for a set period of time. Most cleanses last between 1-7 days. During a juice cleanse you consume only juices, along with water, coconut water, nut milks, broths or herbal teas. The lack of solid food allows your gastrointestinal tract to rest while the phytonutrients and enzymes in the juices help remove toxins and improve digestion and absorption.

Some common goals and benefits of juice cleansing include:

  • Give your digestive system a rest
  • Flood your body with vitamins and minerals
  • Remove toxins
  • Improve digestion and absorption
  • Boost energy levels
  • Enhance clarity and focus
  • Promote weight loss
  • Improve skin health
  • Curb sugar cravings
  • Increase vegetable and fruit intake

Benefits of frequent juice cleansing

There are several potential benefits associated with juice cleansing more frequently:

More sustained detoxification

Toxins can build up in the body from food, stress, the environment and other sources. More frequent juice cleansing may lead to better elimination of these toxins by providing the body with a steady influx of phytonutrients that support the liver and kidneys.

Consistent nutritional boost

Juice cleanses pack in vitamins and minerals from a variety of concentrated whole fruits and vegetables, often much more than a normal diet. Regular cleansing ensures you continuously flood your body with all these beneficial micronutrients.

Aids digestion and gut health

By giving your GI tract a periodic rest, frequent juice cleansing can help reset digestive function and promote a healthy gut environment. The high fiber content in the juices also encourages elimination of waste and toxins.

Easier to maintain cleaner eating habits

Scheduled cleanses allow you to set aside dedicated time periods to focus on consuming only clean, nutrient-dense juices. This can make it easier to maintain disciplined eating compared to trying to eat perfectly healthy all the time.

More chances to hit reset

Frequent cleansing provides opportunities to clear unhealthy eating patterns and reassess your diet on a regular basis. After a cleanse you may be more motivated to eat healthier going forward.

Potential for greater weight loss

If weight loss is a goal, more juice cleansing could lead to greater progress by setting aside regular intervals where you consume very few calories.

Downsides of frequent juice cleansing

However, there are some potential downsides of juice cleansing too often as well:

Nutritional deficiencies

While juices contain a wealth of nutrients, they lack protein and healthy fats. Cleansing for multiple days very frequently could lead to deficiencies in these important nutrients.

Loss of muscle mass

The lack of protein in juices coupled with the dramatic calorie reduction during a cleanse may cause the loss of lean muscle mass if done too often.

Irritability and fatigue

As your body adjusts to the lack of solid food during a cleanse, you may experience headaches, fatigue, mood swings, food cravings and low energy. This side effect can worsen if cleansing too frequently.

Disordered eating patterns

Frequent juice cleansing could promote an unhealthy relationship with food, especially for those prone to eating disorders. Pay attention to your mindset about cleansing and food.

Difficulty sustaining long term

While periodic cleansing is generally safe for most people, perpetual cleansing is very hard to maintain in the long run. Make sure your cleansing schedule is sustainable.

Expensive and time consuming

Juice cleanses require a significant investment in ingredients, time for juicing and specialized equipment. Too frequent cleansing can become very costly, time-consuming and inconvenient for your lifestyle.

How often should you juice cleanse?

Most health experts recommend juice cleansing no more than once per month to reap the benefits while avoiding adverse side effects. Here are some general juice cleansing frequency guidelines:

1-3 times per year for a beginner cleanser

When you’re new to cleansing, spacing out your cleanses allows your body to easily adapt to the process without too much of a shock. This entry-level frequency still lets you take advantage of periodic detoxification and improved nutrition.

Once per quarter for the average cleanser

Cleansing about 4 times per year provides a balance of cleansing often enough to sustain benefits while still ensuring proper nutritional intake and lifestyle balance. This allows for a cleanse with each season change.

Quarter Timing
Quarter 1 Early January
Quarter 2 Early April
Quarter 3 Early July
Quarter 4 Early October

1-2 times per month for an experienced cleanser

If you’ve built up to it, cleansing twice a month is safe for most people and provides amplified cleansing perks. However, pay close attention to any side effects like fatigue, irritability or nutritional deficiencies.

1 time per week only if recommended by a specialist

Some functional medicine doctors or nutritionists may recommend weekly cleansing for a set period of time if you have specific health conditions that warrant it. This frequency should be supervised by a specialist to ensure nutritional needs are met.

Tips for frequent cleansing

If you plan on cleansing more regularly, here are some tips to make sure it’s safe and effective:

  • Always consult your doctor first, especially if you have any health conditions or are on medication
  • Watch out for symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, irritability or nutritional deficiency and reduce frequency if they occur
  • Make sure to take a probiotic supplement and eat probiotic foods before and after cleansing to maintain healthy gut bacteria
  • Don’t cleanse for more than 7 consecutive days
  • Follow a cleanse with plenty of fresh, whole foods
  • Consider working with a nutritionist to develop juice cleansing protocols specific to your body
  • Listen to your body and be willing to adapt your cleansing schedule as needed

The bottom line

Finding the ideal juice cleansing frequency comes down to your individual needs, preferences and how your body responds. While benefits can be gained from cleansing 1-3 times per year or as often as 1-2 times per month, cleansing more than that may pose some risks. Pay attention to any side effects and be sure to build in periods of healthy solid food eating in between cleanses. With a balanced approached, regular juice cleansing can be a great addition to an overall healthy lifestyle.