Juice Cleansing – Hype or Helpful?

detox smoothie

It is uncanny how many different companies are offering juice cleaning products made from a special combination of ingredients that is supposed to clear your body of toxins and help you live a more healthy lifestyle. Scratching the surface of these claims, however, shows that they really aren’t all that they are cracked up to be.

Before going too deep into things, it’s important to note that the body has a number of organs, including the kidneys and liver, that are “detoxing” your body as you are reading this. This is the only way to detox the body. No combination of diuretics, antioxidents, and vitamins will remove vague and undefined “toxins” from the body. Keep that in mind as you read this.

That being said, there are juices that you can use to support the organs that detoxify your body.

How the Body Naturally Detoxifies Itself
The first thing to understand is what a “toxin” actually is. At its root, a toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms. That means that things like pesticides are not actually “toxins,” though something like alcohol, which is sugar that’s been processed through the body of living yeast, is. Your body is designed to be able to take these generally mild poisons and break them down.

This is primarily done in the liver, which uses oxygen and enzymes to burn toxins, making them more water soluble and able to be excreted by the body. Most environmental toxins, such as Benzene, are fat soluble up until this point, which makes them much harder to break down and get rid of. The liver supports this process, sometimes giving them another round of enzymes called conjugation to ensure that the toxins can be turned into bile and removed another way.

Similarly, the kidneys perform a vital detoxifying function. They each possess several things called nephrons that contain filtering units called glomeruli. These will run blood through them at about 200 quarts every 24 hours and remove waste products through a combination of chemicals that are regulated in the body. The resulting mix of chemicals and waste are excreted as urine.

The other side of excretion comes with the intestines that remove solid waste products from the body. In this case, your gut bacteria break down whatever you’ve eaten in your stomach and the resultant slush is slowly filtered as it moves through the intestines so that all that’s left at the end is stuff that can’t be used.

Juicing to Support Detoxification
Now that we’ve covered what organs in the body actually do remove toxins, it’s important to understand that our bodies do not “hold on” to toxins that must be forcibly purged. Rather, the worst that can happen is that your body can’t keep up with the amount of toxins you’ve put into it and will need you to stop for a while so it can catch up. This is what happens when somebody drinks so much it makes them sick: the body is trying to get rid of those extra toxins that it can’t process at the moment.

What a juicer can do is regularly drink items that will support the functioning of the detoxifying organs in the body.

For example, beets and beet greens and excellent for the liver. They can help it repair any damage more quickly as well as increase enzyme production. Similarly, carrots, celery, and ginger root are all great for keeping the liver in excellent shape. Finally, making sure you get enough protein in your drinks will encourage the production of glutathione to help remove specific types of toxin.

Watermelon and other water-heavy ingredients are excellent for keeping the kidneys in good working order by contributing to the cleaning of the blood. Greens, for much the same reason, also contribute to good kidney health. Some more unique but no less effective ways to make sure that your kidneys are scrubbing at full capacity are parsley, radishes, and dandelion leaves.

To keep your gut in check, try adding fennel to your juices. It’s a natural diuretic that will help grease the wheels of your digestion. The roughage in apples can help break down food more in your stomach, meaning that your intestines don’t have to work as hard, and mint leaves can kill microorganisms associated with digestive problems and soothe cramping naturally.

The Bottom Line on Juice Cleansing
There is no silver bullet that can get you healthy. Diet and exercise are the best way to maintain good health. That being said, while juice cleanses are often fairly useless, regularly drinking juices that support the parts of your body that actually remove toxins can improve their functions and give you the long-lasting health you’ve been working toward.

Don’t fall for juice cleanse hoaxes. Make juices that are good for you instead.

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