It seems like everybody knows somebody who’s done a juice cleanse. Or somebody who’s planning one, or somebody who’s about to do their third. Juice cleanses aren’t exactly new, but their popularity seems to peak at random times throughout the years, especially in the warmer months when produce thrives. So what exactly makes juice cleanses so popular?
Many people are attracted to the idea of a juice cleanse because, if you stick to it, it will likely make you drop a couple of pounds quickly. But there’s a lot more to it than that. We did the research for you to find out what exactly a juice cleanse actually does, and how you could benefit from it beyond the waistline.
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Reset Your Gut
If you’re prone to constipation, bloating, other bowel irregularities, or just a sensitive stomach, sometimes all your gut needs is a hard reset. And a juice cleanse can give it just that. Digesting food is a lot of work for the body; it’s like a high-functioning, highly-efficient factory in there. But when you’re working that hard day after day, you’re prone to a little burnout, and your gut is no different. Maybe certain ingredients in food give it some grief, or maybe it’s just been working in overdrive. But giving your body a juice cleanse is like giving your gut a little vacation from all of the digestive work it takes on each day. By feeding yourself mainly liquids (that still contain necessary and beneficial vitamins and minerals), you reduce your gut’s workload and stress levels, giving it a chance to function at its best.
It’s also important to understand that the average person consumes a lot of toxins and preservatives and other not-so-kosher ingredients every single day; even if you eat a healthy diet, they’re simply nearly impossible to avoid, not only coming from the ingredients in our food but also the air we breathe. By juice cleansing, you can at least cut out those bad ingredients from your food for a few days and allow your digestive system to work with only the most natural ingredients: fruit and vegetable juices. So in general, from reducing workload to cutting out bad ingredients, a juice cleanse is a little vacation for your gut and a chance for it to totally reset itself.
What About Fiber?
Juicing a fruit or vegetable is known to strip it of much of its fiber content. And while fiber is essential, there are some benefits to dropping your intake during a cleanse. Fiber takes longer than other kinds of carbohydrates to digest (yes, fiber falls under the category of carbohydrate), as it can’t be absorbed in the same ways. So consuming juices as meals with just trace amounts of fiber will give your digestive system a bit of a break, as we mentioned above, and may allow the other notable effects of the juices to kick in quicker.
Juice cleanse veterans report this to be the most noticeable in their energy levels. The lack of fiber allows the numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that the juice contains to be absorbed more quickly. This means that within less than 30 minutes after you consume a juice, you may feel a noticeable boost in energy – and probably a much needed one, since your food consumption is typically significantly less than the norm when on a juice cleanse. So sure, the lack of fiber isn’t lauded long-term, but for the purpose of the juice cleanse, it actually helps out.
Catch Up On Vitamins
Let’s face it: most of us consume a lot of processed foods. Snacks, treats, drinks, dining out, and even the ingredients we buy to cook with are often processed. Unfortunately, processed foods contain significantly fewer nutrients than natural, organic foods – particularly fruits and vegetables. In our everyday diets, it can be easy to get swept away in the convenience of the processed foods that surround us (even the ones that appear healthy, like some protein or snack bars). And when we’re not getting enough fresh produce, we can all benefit from a boost in our intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and all other nutrients that we get from organic produce. That’s where you can benefit from a juice cleanse.
Though it varies per source and per person, several experts recommend adults consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day to get the vitamins and minerals you need to support you in a long, healthy life. Fruits and vegetables give you vitamins A, C, and E, along with other minerals like zinc and magnesium, and a slew of antioxidants that can help protect your body’s cells. No one fruit or vegetable contains all of the vitamins and minerals you need, so it’s best to have a mix, which is why juice cleanses are perfect for catching up on your intake. Not only do you get several servings of fruits and vegetables in each juice, but you also get significant amounts of some that you might not regularly include in your diet, like ginger or beets, both of which boast numerous health benefits.
How Does a Juice Cleanse Help Hydration?
It’s way, way too easy to forget to hydrate properly. I do it all the time. But one excellent benefit of a juice cleanse is that forgetting to hydrate is nearly impossible, and not just because your meals are liquid, though that in itself makes a big difference. But additionally, most juice cleanse instructions recommend you start your day with a few glasses of water or lemon water, and while you can easily do that any day of your life, you’re much more likely to when you’re following a strict regimen. Then, throughout the day, you’ll likely notice that drinking water isn’t quite so forgettable when you’re on a juice cleanse. Many juice-cleansers find that when all you’re consuming is juices, clear liquids, and maybe some vegetables like celery and cucumbers, you’re more attracted to water than ever before. It’ll be your saving grace. And as many of us have been taught, the benefits of hydration are numerous, from regulating body temperature to aiding in organ function.
While a major reason many people decide to try juice cleansing is weight loss, it’s certainly not the only reason, and it’s not the only benefit of them, either. At the end of the day, juice cleanses are a simple and delicious way to get a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, to hydrate, and to give your gut a break from all its hard work. If any of this sounds appealing to you, maybe it’s time to give a juice cleanse a shot.