Juice cleanses have become a popular way to detox and reset your system. By drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices for a period of time, you give your body a break from solid food while flooding it with nutrients. A juice cleanse can help remove toxins, improve digestion, increase energy, aid in weight loss, and more. But with so many different juices to choose from, how do you know which ones to drink for the best cleanse?
Why Do a Juice Cleanse?
There are many potential benefits to doing a juice cleanse. Here are some of the top reasons people choose to cleanse:
- Remove toxins – Fruits and veggies are full of antioxidants and nutrients that can help flush out toxins from your system.
- Improve digestion – Juice cleanses give your digestive system a rest by providing nutrients that are easy to absorb and digest.
- Increase energy – With the extra nutrients and by avoiding heavy foods, you may feel more energetic during and after a cleanse.
- Lose weight – Eliminating solid foods can lead to quick but temporary weight loss, especially reducing bloat.
- Boost immunity – The vitamin C and antioxidants in fresh juices can support immune function.
- Support organ function – Nutrients in juices can help improve the health of organs like the liver and kidneys.
- Improve skin – Antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in juices can lead to glowing, healthy skin.
- Reset habits – A cleanse can help you reset eating patterns and break unhealthy food habits.
How Long Should You Juice Cleanse?
There is no set rule for how long to juice cleanse. Some cleanses last 24 hours, while others can go on for 5 days or longer. In general, beginners should start with shorter cleanses of 1-3 days. Anything longer than that requires planning to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. It’s best to gradually work your way up to longer cleanses.
Here are some common juice cleanse durations:
- 24 hours – Easiest cleanse for beginners.
- 3 days – Allows the body to start eliminating toxins while avoiding intense hunger or deprivation.
- 5 days – By this point, the body has expelled toxins and cravings tend to diminish.
- 10 days – An extended cleanse for experienced juice cleansers. Requires supplemental nutrients.
- 30 days – Only recommended under a doctor’s supervision to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
It’s best to listen to your body and not overdo it when cleansing. Try starting with 24-72 hours and build up from there.
The Best Juices for Cleansing
Nearly all fresh fruit and vegetable juices provide nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for a juice cleanse. But some ingredients are particularly cleansing and detoxifying. Focus on including these top cleansing juices:
Green juices are packed with chlorophyll from leafy greens that can help draw toxins out of your body. They also provide antioxidants and nutrients that support liver function and cleansing. Try juices with a mix of greens like spinach, kale, chard, parsley, cilantro, etc.
Beets and beet greens are powerful cleansers for the liver. The phytonutrients betalains give beets their dark purple color and support detoxification. Add beets to your juices along with carrots or apples to cut the earthy taste.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit provide the body with vitamin C. This antioxidant boosts immunity and aids the liver in flushing out toxins. Citrus juices also help digestion and bloating.
Cabbage juice helps cleanse the digestive tract and may also help prevent certain cancers. It contains glucosinolates that support detoxification in the liver as well. Combine it with apples, carrots or greens.
Known for aiding digestion and reducing inflammation, fresh ginger root makes an ideal addition to juice cleanses. Ginger promotes healthy liver function and cleansing. It also adds a little spicy kick to juices.
The cleansing power of cranberries goes beyond urinary tract health. Cranberries contain antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that protect liver cells and help detoxify. Cranberry juice adds tart flavor and cleansing benefits.
Hydrating and refreshing, watermelon juice provides the amino acid L-citrulline. This compound supports detoxification via the liver and kidneys. Watermelon works well mixed with lime or mint.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can stimulate the gallbladder and support liver detoxification during a juice cleanse. Mix small amounts of turmeric powder into juices like apple, carrot or celery.
For a nutrient boost, add vegetable juices like carrot, tomato, cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, or broccoli. The mix of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and electrolytes will help boost cleansing and provide energy.
Wheatgrass juice is a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It provides detoxification benefits by protecting the liver and kidneys. Wheatgrass has an intense flavor, so small amounts can be added to fruit or veggie juices.
Foods to Avoid During a Juice Cleanse
To get the most out of a juice cleanse, there are some foods that should be avoided:
- Solid foods – Stick to juices only to give your system a rest.
- Alcohol – Avoid alcohol, as it taxes the liver.
- Caffeine – Caffeine can be dehydrating and cleansing aims to flush fluids.
- Dairy products – Dairy takes longer to digest and can clog detox pathways.
- Meat – Meat sits in the digestive tract and can putrefy during a cleanse.
- Processed foods – Anything manufactured is higher in sodium, oil, and preservatives.
- Sugar and desserts – Simple sugars get absorbed too quickly compared to fruit sugars.
By eliminating these taxing foods for a period of time, your body can focus its energy on cleansing and restoration.
Making Your Own Juices
To get the most freshness and nutritional benefits from juices during a cleanse, it’s best to make them yourself. Here are some tips:
- Get a juicer. This allows you to juice vegetables as well as fruits. Models like centrifugal, masticating, and triturating juicers all work well.
- Wash all produce. Give fruits and veggies a good scrub before juicing to remove dirt and chemicals.
- Juice organic when possible. Organic produce has less pesticides and higher antioxidant levels.
- Mix up ingredients. For nutrients and flavor, combine fruits and veggies like apples, berries, kale, spinach, beets, carrots, parsley, cucumber, etc.
- Drink juice immediately. To preserve nutrients, drink juice right after making it.
- Store properly. If storing juice, use an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours maximum.
Essential Nutrients for Juice Cleansing
When following a juice-only diet, it’s important to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. The body requires proper amounts of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Here are some key considerations for a nutrient-dense cleanse:
Fruit and vegetable juices provide carbohydrates for energy. However, without fiber from solid foods, blood sugar levels can spike and drop rapidly. To help stabilize blood sugar:
- Include greens like spinach, kale, and chard which have fiber.
- Mix high glycemic fruits like grapes and pineapple with low glycemic like berries.
- Drink juice slowly instead of gulping down large amounts.
Protein helps maintain muscle mass and strength while cleansing. To add vegan protein to juices:
- Use protein powders like soy, hemp, rice, pea, or whey.
- Add yogurt or milk alternatives like almond milk.
- Juice high protein vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, peas.
Juices lack the healthy fats your body needs for nutrient absorption, blood sugar, hormone function, and more. Good options include:
- Nuts – Add a spoonful of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds to juices.
- Oils – Use coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, or avocado oil in small amounts.
- Smoothies – Make smoothies with avocado, nut butters, protein powder, or yogurt.
Vitamins and Minerals
Fruits and vegetables provide many key vitamins and minerals. But you may need to supplement certain micronutrients, especially with longer cleanses. Consider adding:
- Vitamin B12
Talk to your doctor about the right vitamins and dosage for your individual needs.
Sample 1-Day Juice Cleanse
Here is an example of what a daily juice cleanse plan could look like. Feel free to customize with your favorite cleansing juice ingredients.
|7 AM||Lemon water – Squeeze of 1/2 lemon in warm water|
|8 AM||Green juice – Cucumber, kale, parsley, celery, ginger, lemon|
|10 AM||Fruit juice – Apple, berries, pineapple, spinach|
|12 PM||Veggie juice – Carrot, beet, tomato, broccoli, garlic|
|2 PM||Detox juice – Lemon, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, water|
|4 PM||Anti-inflammatory juice – Pineapple, turmeric, coconut water, chamomile tea|
|6 PM||Zesty juice – Orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, ginger|
|8 PM||Herbal tea – Chamomile, peppermint, or green tea|
The Best Juice Cleanse for You
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to juicing. Consider factors like your health status, lifestyle, diet, and goals when planning a cleanse. It’s also wise to consult your doctor before undertaking an extended juice fast. In the end, listen to your body’s signals and don’t push too far past your comfort zone. With the right juices and approach, a cleanse can be a great way to boost your nutrient intake, energy levels, and overall health.