10+ Potential Juice Cleanse Benefits (Plus Recipes)
If you’re considering a juice cleanse for health or weight loss, then there are some risks and benefits you need to know. This article shares some of the most important juice cleanse benefits including easily absorbed nutrition and enhanced weight loss. Learn about the potential risks and benefits of doing a juice cleanse.
A juice cleanse is a program where you consume only juiced vegetables and fruits for a period of time, usually several days. The length of your juice cleanse and the guidelines vary depending on the person, and on the program you’re following.
Some programs advocate for a 2-day cleanse, while others promote a 5-day or 7-day cleanse.
However, you don’t need to follow a specific program or buy a product to have an effective. While it can take some time and effort, you can create your own juice cleanse plan and juice your own veggies and fruits in the comfort of your own home.
In this article, I’ll share both the potential risks and benefits of vegetable juicing, and I’ll also share some of my favorite recipes.
Remember: you don’t have to do a cleanse or “detox” to enjoy the benefits of fresh vegetable juice. See below for my suggestions on how to incorporate green drinks into your daily routine without having to make drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Potential Benefits of Juice Cleanse
There are a lot of claims about juice fasts and whether or not it can be part of a healthy lifestyle or improve overall health.
There are some valid benefits that actually have science behind them, but be wary of claims that sound too good to be true or sound “sales-y.”
You’ll also want to make sure that you are at a good point in your health journey before embarking on any kind of cleanse, detox, or fasting protocol (see my related post on the risks of intermittent fasting for women).
Here are ten potential benefits of a juice cleanse.
1. Support the immune system via fasting
When you consume only juice and avoid solid foods, you’re likely in a fasted state. Fasting has a host of benefits, but one of the most notable ones is immune system rejuvenation.
In a fasted state where you are only consuming vegetable juices and no whole foods, your body begins to deplete glycogen stores. The biochemical processes involved in using stored glycogen promote healing throughout the body. In addition, fasting could signal the body to rid itself of damaged cells and produce new ones.
In this way, doing a juice cleanse can help mimic the fasted state and, therefore, can help boost the immune system.
2. Promote a healthy gut microbiome
If you’ve paid attention to the wellness space over the past couple of years, you’ve likely heard how important it is to have a diverse microbiome and overall healthy gut and digestive tract.
One study showed that a three-day vegetable and fruit juice-based diet led to significant improvements in the gut microbiome, due to the fermentable fiber found in juices.
You don’t necessarily have to do a juice cleanse to get the benefits of these fermentable juice fibers. Just adding in fresh vegetable juices (or more veggies in general) to your diet can help add diversity and strength to your gut microbiome.
3. Support detoxification
A juice diet can support your detox pathways twofold: by fasting and by providing antioxidants and nutrients.
When you fast by consuming only juice and no solid food matter including whole fruits, you are allowing your digestive system to take a break. Your body can then focus its attention on removing stored toxins instead of metabolizing food.
Fruit and vegetable juices are also rich sources of antioxidants, which help fight free radical damage in your body.
In these ways, detox diet such as a juice fast may be a good idea for some people.
4. Easily-absorbed nutrients
Juicing eliminates most of the fiber from fruits and vegetables, which allows for quicker absorption of nutrients including antioxidants.
Many people also find that they can consume more fruits and veggies in juice or liquid form.
This study specifically showed the potential for fruit and vegetable juices to improve cardiovascular health due to the increase amount of antioxidants. The scientific evidence seems to show that consuming juice can be helpful to prevent heart disease.
5. Easier weight loss
The potential for easy and fast weight loss is a common sales point for juice cleanses. A juice cleanse won’t necessarily make you drop a lot of weight in one week (not that you’d want to anyway!) but many report weight loss as a benefit of juice cleansing.
The weight loss from juicing likely comes from a restriction in calories and loss of water. Or, weight loss during a juice cleanse may from the loss of “inflammation weight.”
This quick weight loss is not necessarily a sustainable or necessarily healthy way to lose weight. Depending on your personal viewpoint, weight loss on a juice cleanse is either a benefit or a risk.
That said, even drinking more water has been shown to help with weight loss. So, even if you don’t do a full juice cleanse, you may want to consider hydrating more.
See my recipe for Cucumber Ginger Lemon Water which is sugar-free and calorie-free.
6. Improved energy
There is no scientific research that shows that a juice cleanse will increase energy, but some people report feeling more energetic while cleansing.
This could be due to the lack of eating unhealthy foods that you may have been consuming before the cleanse or for a variety of other reasons. It’s important to continue listening to your body even while doing a juice cleanse.
If you feel unwell or your energy levels are not good, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider to determine if you need to stop the cleanse or if you require other medical intervention.
7. Improved skin clarity
Another anecdotal benefit of a juice cleanse (or even just adding more vegetables to your diet) may be the improved appearance of your skin.
This could be due to a variety of reasons including consuming more antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables in your fresh juice.
See my related list of the best green vegetables to consume.
8. Decrease in inflammation
Fruits and vegetables are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, due to their high antioxidant content.
By consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables, some people believe (and experience) that a juice cleanse can help reduce inflammation in the body.
You can likely get the anti-inflammatory benefits of fruits and vegetables from both eating them whole and juicing them.
See my full list of the best juices for inflammation.
9. Reset your diet and reduce unhealthy habits
Juice cleanses are sometimes used as a way to break cycles of unhealthy eating and reset one’s diet.
After a cleanse, it may be easier for some people to make healthier food choices.
On the other hand, some people may experience a worse relationship with food after doing a cleanse. In this case, it would be important to consult a registered dietitian or therapist trained in eating disorders who can help you maintain a more positive relationship with food.
10. Better mental clarity
Some people report experiencing increased focus and clarity during a juice cleanse.
This is thought to be due to the elimination of processed foods and added sugars, which can cause fluctuations in blood sugar and contribute to brain fog.
That said, some juices may result in blood sugar fluctuations in some people. So, it’s best to be cautious when doing a juice cleanse as results can vary greatly from person to person.
Potential Risks of Juice Cleanse
Just as there are plenty of claims about the benefits of a juice cleanse, there are plenty of potential risks to consider as well.
Filtering out the extremes of both sides is important when making your personal decision about juice cleansing.
Here’s six real potential risks of a juice cleanse.
1. Blood sugar instability
Juicing fruits and vegetables strips them of most of their fiber, leaving mostly nutrients and sugar behind.
Some may do fine with the natural sugars found in fruit and vegetable juices, but it’s important to be mindful when consuming juices. You’re consuming sugar and carbohydrates in the absence of adequate fiber, protein, or fat.
These natural sugars are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and can cause a dramatic increase and drop in blood sugar levels for some people.
One way to get around this it to consider adding protein to your juices. You can blend in any of the protein powders on my list of the best paleo protein powders to help add a more balanced profile to your juices.
You’ll get the benefits of the antioxidants in the juice, but you’ll also get protein to help slow down the absorption of the natural sugars.
2. Improper fasting
Fasting is not for everyone.
If you’re on a juice cleanse for the purpose of fasting, be mindful of your body’s unique stress response and reactions to energy restriction. Moreover, fasting with juice may not be the best way for some people to fast.
If you experience blood sugar swings and low mood, consider other methods of fasting that don’t involve juice. Or, you may not want to fast at all when doing a juice cleanse.
Instead, drink your juices with a balanced meal.
You don’t have to go 100% juice and no food. You can likely still get health benefits from eating a clean diet and adding in fresh vegetable juices (see my healthy grocery list if you need more ideas on what to eat).
3. Foodborne illness from unpasteurized juice
Bacteria and pathogens are a risk when consuming unpasteurized raw juice.
Always follow proper food safety tips when preparing and consuming unpasteurized juice to help reduce your risk, and be extra cautious if you have an already compromised immune system.
If you are immunocompromised, you may need to skip unpasteurized juices and only drink pasteurized juices instead. Ask your doctor if you have questions about your personal situation including pregnancy.
4. Lack of fiber in the diet
Because juicing fruits and veggies rids them of most of their fiber content, you may not be getting an adequate amount of fiber to support your long-term health while on a juice cleanse.
There is the potential for constipation or other digestive issues when you don’t consume enough fiber on a daily basis.
One way to get around this is to add smoothies into your cleanse where you are getting all the fiber in addition to the antioxidants.
5. Difficulty managing weight
Liquid foods like juices and smoothies make it difficult to gauge your caloric intake.
A large volume of food can be condensed into sixteen ounces of liquid, or you could accidentally underestimate the volume of food in your juice. In addition, liquid calories may not satiate or satisfy you like solid food.
The act of chewing and slowly eating a meal is necessary for proper digestion and hunger signals. If you severely restrict calories for too long, you will slow your metabolism and then potentially gain weight when you begin eating a proper amount again.
If you find yourself losing or gaining weight too quickly when doing a juice cleanse, then you should likely consider ending the cleanse and going back to eating a more balanced diet with whole foods.
6. Potential for oxalate poisoning
Certain fruits and veggies like spinach and berries are naturally higher in oxalates, which are crystalline molecules that can cause issues like kidney stones when overaccumulated.
You’d need to consume a large amount of high-oxalate foods very often to see an issue, unless you have a genetic predisposition interfering with oxalate metabolism. Please be sure to consult with your healthcare provider for more information.
One way to get around this is to avoid high oxalate foods like spinach and beets when juicing.
7. Other risk of juice cleanses
There may be other risks to your health in doing a juice cleanse. That’s why it’s important to consult with a licensed healthcare provider before doing any type of drastic diet or cleanse.
Some additional risks include: an increase in negative feelings about food or eating, an unhealthy focus on weight or appearance, increased risk of digestive distress, or others.
Remember: a juice cleanse is considered a drastic approach. A more conservative way to get both the benefits of juice cleansing without all of the risks is to add 1-2 vegetable juices to your regular diet that is made up of clean, whole foods.
Who Should Not Do a Cleanse
Pregnant women, children, elderly people, and those with compromised immune systems are not good candidates for doing a juice cleanse.
The FDA recommends against juicing for children, elderly people, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems due to the risk of foodborne illness from unpasteurized juice.
Additionally, it’s good to be cautious of a juice cleanse fast if you fall into one of the following populations:
- You’re a woman with hormonal imbalances or you’re trying to conceive. While fasting can have great benefits for some women, if you’re dealing with hormonal issues or trying to conceive you may want to avoid it. Fasting can be stressful for the body, and as women’s hormones are more sensitive to stress, fasting can exacerbate hormonal imbalances and even make conception more difficult. See my related articles on how to reduce estrogen dominance or the best fertility diet recipes.
- You’re an athlete or very active person. Fasting can impair recovery and performance due to underfueling your body. If you want to do a juice cleanse, take those days off from physical activity.
- You have blood sugar regulation issues. While on a juice cleanse, you’re consuming pure sugar and carbohydrates without fat, fiber, or protein to slow its absorption into your bloodstream. If you are sensitive to blood sugar spikes and drops, it’s best to avoid a juice cleanse.
- You have SIBO or other gut dysbiosis issues. The fermentable fiber that is left over from juicing can exacerbate gut dysbiosis.
- You’re very stressed. Fasting and any caloric restriction will only exacerbate stress. Wait until a calmer period in your life to embark on a juice cleanse.
Alternatives to Juice Cleansing
If you’ve determined that a full juice cleanse is not right for you or doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, you can still reap the benefits of juicing! Here’s some alternatives to support your long-term digestive and cellular health.
- Intermittent fasting. This has become a trend recently, and for good reason. Intermittent fasting, when done properly, helps stabilize blood sugar, reduce digestive issues, and improve brain performance. There are several different ways to intermittently fast–choose what works best for you and your daily routine.
- Drinking juice 30 minutes before a clean eating meal or with a meal. Juicing isn’t all or nothing! You can still incorporate juices on a daily basis in order to get the nutritional benefits without the fasting. By drinking juice with or close to a meal, you blunt the blood sugar spike that could come with consuming juice alone on an empty stomach. One of my favorite juices is my celery juice recipe that I like to drink a few times a week.
- Smoothies. By blending fruits and veggies rather than juicing, you keep the fiber intact. A smoothie can be light enough for a snack or hearty enough for a meal, depending on your add-ins. A smoothie cleanse might be a gentler way to get the benefits of juicing without being as intense. See the Clean Eating Kitchen entire index of dairy-free smoothie recipes.
Recommended Juice Recipes
If you want to try a juice cleanse or simply want to add juicing to your routine, then here are some great recipes to check out.
Easy Celery Juice Recipe (Juicer or Blender)
Here’s an easy Celery Lime Juice recipe that is nourishing, fresh, and delicious, with directions for making it in a juicer or a blender. Celery juice is a nourishing beverage that you can drink in the morning, or at any time of day.
Beet Juice Recipe (Juicer or Blender)
This Sweet Beet Juice recipe is a refreshing drink that is so easy to make and tastes great with no earthy flavor. You only need six ingredients for this healthy recipe. Make this juice in a juicer or a blender!
Celery Cucumber Green Juice Recipe
This Celery Cucumber Green Juice Recipe is full of vitamins and micronutrients, and is perfect for those times when need a hydrating and refreshing drink.
Beet Carrot Juice (Juicer or Blender)
Beet Carrot Juice is a yummy drink you can make at home. This juice is packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can help improve your overall well-being. Plus, it’s easy to make and tasty too! Let me show you how to make it with a blender or juicer.
Green Vegetable Detox Juice Recipe
This Green Vegetable Detox Juice recipe is made with veggies including celery, cucumber, parsley, and leafy greens that are full of antioxidants. This hydrating juice is a great way to start the day!
Carrot Celery Juice
This healthy Carrot Celery Juice with ginger and apple is perfect for hydrating. This recipe is also great when you want to use up extra produce. Make this fresh vegetable juice recipe in a juicer or a blender!
Cabbage Juice Made in Juicer or Blender
Cabbage Juice is a great vegetable juice that can help with tummy troubles including ulcers. This recipe includes apple and carrots to help add natural sweetness and balance the flavors of the juice. Make this juice in a blender or a juicer.
Fennel Juice is a mild green vegetable juice that you can make using a blender or a juicer. It has a mild licorice or anise flavor and can help with inflammation. Try this delicious green juice today!
Pineapple and Cucumber Juice
This Pineapple and Cucumber Juice recipe is a delicious way to get nutrients and minerals like vitamin C and potassium. This juice is also hydrating, so it’s perfect for quenching your thirst on hot summer days. Learn how to make it in a juicer or a blender!
- Prep the ingredients by washing them and cutting them into sizes small enough to fit through the feeding tube of your juicer.
- Juice the ingredients, ideally alternating vegetables and fruits with soft and hard consistencies. This helps the juicer work the most efficiently.
- Serve the juice immediately.
- BLENDER INSTRUCTIONS: You can also make fresh juices in a blender. Simply combine the chopped ingredients in the pitcher of a high-speed blender. Add water to cover. Blend on high for 30-45 seconds or until the ingredients are fully combined. Then, strain the juice through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Discard the pulp and serve immediately.
- Nutrition data will vary depending on the type of juice and the amount consumed.
- A serving of juice ranges between 4-16 ounces. This depends on your individual needs.
- Juices can be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Juices
- Method: Juicer or Blender
- Cuisine: Healthy
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 53
- Sugar: 9.1 g
- Sodium: 25.5 mg
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.8 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: juicing recipes, juice cleanse, recipes for juice cleanse
Many of these recipes are also on my list of juices to reduce bloating.
Possibly. A juice cleanse could either help you lose weight or gain weight, depending on your approach and your unique situation. Typically, you lose weight on a juice cleanse due to severe caloric restriction and/or water weight or inflammation loss. However, this weight loss is temporary and can have the adverse effect of slowing down your metabolism if continued for too long.
Rapid weight loss and caloric restriction also spikes cortisol, which signals to your body that fat should be stored rather than burned. On the other hand, if you are not inadvertently restricting calories on a juice cleanse, you may be overconsuming calories!
A large volume of food is condensed into a small serving that is consumed quickly, so you may be consuming a lot of calories, sugar, and carbohydrates without feeling satiated. This can cause you to overconsume in an effort to feel full.
Rather than considering juice cleansing as a quick weight-loss method, consider it as a digestive and hunger signal reset that can improve your metabolism and appetite in the long run. You might also want to check out this article on the best weight loss tips for women.
The benefits of a juice cleanse must be weighed against any potential risks. There is no blanket recommendation for juice cleansing–it is beneficial for some while it could be harmful for others. Certain populations of people including pregnant people should steer clear of juice cleansing.
If you’re unsure if a juice cleanse would be beneficial for you, you can work up to a full cleanse! Start by incorporating juice on a daily basis, and then slowly intermittently fast with juice. If you’re enjoying benefits from intermittent fasting with juice, you can proceed to a full day, then a few days, of fasting with juice until you feel comfortable with a full juice cleanse.
Many of the benefits of a juice cleanse come from fasting. Fasting can improve digestion, support the immune system, offer mental clarity, and regulate hunger signals.
Aside from the benefits of fasting, a juice cleanse also ensures you’re getting plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet and supplies you with essential nutrients and antioxidants. Taking a few days off from heavy digestion of solid food allows your body to focus on detoxification, especially with the help of antioxidants from the juice.
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As with most health trends, there is some truth to the claims, but it’s not the whole story. A juice cleanse has a wide array of benefits for many people, including immune system support and better nutrient absorption. There are also a variety of potential risks, such as blood sugar instability and foodborne illness. You must weigh the potential benefits with the potential risks and determine if a juice cleanse is right for you.
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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with over 10 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.
Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.