With all the hype surrounding the benefits of juicing for not only preventing but treating and even curing some diseases, as well as being hailed for detox and weight loss, the question must be asked: is juicing really an effective way to detox, or is it just the latest diet trend? An article from CNN titled, Juicing: Healty Detox or Diet Trap? sought out to investigate just how beneficial juicing is as a detox method. The conclusion: for short time frames like three days, juicing is not bad to help cleanse your body, but, as a diet plan, juicing actually lacks many of the nutrient rich properties that are essential and beneficial for your body overall.
Most people associate juicing with detoxing, which is the latest trend in health. Why detox? Well, detoxing helps the body remove/eliminate the toxins from the tissues in the body where they tend to collect. Toxins tend to build up in organs like the liver and kidneys which sort through most of the toxins that the body encounters, but toxins can also be stored in the GI tract and colon, in the adipose or fat tissues of the body, in the lymphatic system, and in the skin. Toxins tend to accumulate over time and when they do, they tend to tax the body’s normal functioning capacities, especially when it comes to the capacities of the liver and the kidneys, which can ultimately lead to health complications.
Often times, when individuals feel sluggish, tired, are having trouble sleeping, experiencing digestive issues, start to put on weight, or develop physical ailments like pain throughout the body, it is due to a build up of toxins which are starting to take it’s toll on the body. Just reading through that list is probably enough to make anyone think that they need to detox, and the fact is that everyone certainly could use a little detox from time to time.
Generally speaking, the body is busy “detoxifying” itself day to day, and our bodies are quite efficient at ensuring that waste products are removed regularly. However, the typical Western diet which is full of processed food, preservatives, chemical additives, artificial ingredients, excess sugar, and heavy proteins which strain the organs of the body that are responsible for separating the nutrients from the waste.
When the body can not effectively rid itself of waste through the proper channels, it sends it to “back up” systems like the lymph system and fat tissues, where it collects and later contributes to a weakened immune system, as well as impaired metabolic function. At that point, the body is working over time, like a car that needs it’s oil and filter changed. It is simply not performing as efficiently as it would if the oil and filter were fresh. Detoxing is like changing the oil filter.
So, is juicing an effective method to chose for a good detox? Well, not entirely.
To really detoxify the body, the three main areas of focus are the liver, kidney’s, and the colon. For individuals who do not have a lot of toxic build up in their bodies, doing a water fast is enough to stimulate those organs and encourage them to push out any extra residue that they might be holding on to. But for individuals who are looking for something more intense, cleansing can be accomplished through fasting, the use of herbal remedies, teas, and to an extent juicing.
Juicing can offer some detox benefits if the right types of vegetables are used. Some vegetables or fruits like dandelion, parsley, milk thistle, beets, cabbage, grapes and grapefruit, all of which can be juiced, are great for stimulating and cleansing the liver and kidneys. However, juicing in general, while incredibly rich in nutrients and useful in promoting weight loss, is not necessarily useful as an effective form of detoxification.
The reason for this is two fold: for one juicing removes almost all of the fiber from the vegetables, which is essential for stimulating and cleansing the GI tract and colon where a lot of toxic build up occurs. Moreover fiber is already something that people do not get enough of in their daily diets, thus removing it, while allowing rapid nutrient absorption, robs the body of the benefits that fiber has to offer such as satiety, gastrointestinal regulation, and lowering cholesterol. The second reason is that because the fiber content is really low and many fruits and vegetables have moderate amounts of naturally occurring sugar, juicing could potentially spike blood sugar levels which can cause food cravings and also weight gain, not to mention give the liver a hard time in the process.
There are other more effective ways to detox besides juicing, like using herbs or teas which are good for cleansing the liver and extracting toxins from the body. Ayurvedic herbal remedies are a great way to promote a more intense detoxification. Some of those herbs include: cabbage rose, sandalwood, neem, andrographis, licorice/fennel, ashwagandha, Indian barberry, coral, vidanga, and turmeric. Or simply sticking to water for a couple days straight which will encourage the body to flush out excess toxic build up. Then, once the detox is finished, juicing is a great way to replenish nutrients, kick start your body into better health and reset your taste buds. Juicing may also help avoid the need to do an intense detox regimen again in the future by encouraging the proper function of the bodies natural toxic regulating systems.
Juicing regularly can help boost energy levels, promote digestion and nutrient absorption, improve the quality and health of skin, and make it easier for people to consume a wider variety of vegetables that they would not otherwise consume. Additionally, because juices are so nutrient rich, they often help to regulate the body’s appetite and reduce hunger or cravings. They are effective in this way because cravings, hunger, and appetite are usually are a result of consuming food that is majorly lacking in nutrients, which results in the body wanting to eat more and more frequently in order to sustain itself.
Juicing certainly provides a variety of wonderful health benefits, but should generally not be considered as an effective detox method or diet for that matter. Vani Hari, who has a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to eating healthy, offers juicing tips on her website Foodbabe. Hari suggests that rather than juicing as a method of detox or as a diet, to incorporate juicing as a part of one’s daily diet in order to ensure that the body is receiving the proper nutrients that it needs, but also to maintain the health benefits of juicing.
By Natalia Sanchez