Juice Cleansing: Benefits and Risks

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Fruits and vegetables are like nature’s magic pill — loaded with vast amounts of nutrients and a wonderful source of dietary fibres. No wonder it is commonly assumed that a juice cleanse carries numerous health-boosting benefits.

The biggest declared benefits are the release of toxins from the body, weight loss, and glowing skin. But something about consuming only liquids for several days doesn’t sound right, so here we present a balanced view of the research on juice cleansing to explore the risks and benefits and how best to reap its rewards.

Benefits

  1. The U.S. department of agriculture recommends filling up half your plate with fruits and vegetables, so what could be better than getting vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, and beta carotene from juice if you are too lazy to prepare and eat fruits and vegetables or dislike some vegetables? 
  2. Some research suggests that the nutrients in fruits and vegetables have the potential to be taken in and absorbed more easily in juice form due to the absence of fibre.
  3. Fruit and vegetable juices are linked to reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body, as well as promoting heart health.
  4. A juice cleanse may lead to reduction in weight due to the promotion of healthy gut bacteria.

Risks

  1. While juice cleansing can help people lose weight, that is mainly a result of reducing the consumption of calories, which, in turn, leads to an incomplete profile of nutrients necessary for proper functioning. The risks can present in the form of low blood sugar levels, weakness, headaches and even muscle loss and weakened bones over prolonged periods of juice cleansing.
  2. Removing fats and proteins from diet is very risky as they are the basic building blocks of the human body. Without them, there are chances for malnourishment and poor health.
  3. Detoxification is a natural process carried out by the body’s organs (liver, kidneys, lungs and intestines). Marketing tactics seem to glorify juicing as a detox mechanism to sell more juices, which may not even be completely natural, often having unhealthy reserves of added sugar and preservatives.

Verdict

Juicing on its own, when not part of a cleansing program, can be very beneficial. On a daily basis, plant juice — especially one that is a mix of vegetables (one may even sneak in those considered personally unpalatable) and fruits — can help provide essential nutrients to the body. Still, nothing can take away the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked.

A way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet is by introducing one or two to your meals as sides. Consider, for instance, orange slices next to your sunny side up breakfast eggs, or sliced cucumber on its own or in a Greek salad along with your pita bread lunch. Another way is to replace unhealthy snacks with fruit and veggie sticks that can be cut the night before and packed for on-the-go.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

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