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Cleanses to Detoxify and De-Stress
Written by Dorothy Lyons   

cleanses to detoxify and de-stressWe all know there's no such thing as a magic pill or fountain of youth that will solve all our health problems, so why should we believe that cleanses or detoxes can help restore vitality and improve our health? There are a lot of people out there who consider detoxes and cleanses a "hoax," but before you join the ranks, stop for a moment; try to be open-minded and consider the good points about cleansing. While our bodies have their own detoxification mechanisms built in, we often impair their ability to work properly. A cleanse or detox is by no means a substitution for getting enough sleep or regular healthy eating – it won't undo the damage of long-term poor lifestyle habits, but it might do you some much needed good. Most people don't eat well enough most of the time, don't drink enough water, and tend to overexert and burn themselves out far more often and more severely than their bodies can handle. They suffer from frequent headaches and bloating, have trouble concentrating and lack energy, but they don't know why. Cleanses can help with that.

Cleansing with Juice

Arguably the most popular type of cleanse available today is the juice cleanse. A juice cleanse or juice fast is like an avalanche of vitamins and minerals obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables (and even nuts and seeds) that you take over a two- to seven-day period in addition to lots of water. It's kind of like taking an all-natural multivitamin and mineral supplement in juice form. The ingredients used in juice cleanses – like dark leafy greens and berries – are among the healthiest foods for us when it comes to preventing a slew of chronic diseases.

Eating whole fruits and vegetables may deliver the same nutrients to your body, but with juicing, you're likely to consume and make use of much greater quantities of these nutrients. This is great news for people who find it hard to eat enough fruit and vegetables each day. Many essential nutrients are locked within the fibres and macromolecules of solid fruits and vegetables, which means that those structures need to be broken down for our bodies to make use of what's inside for nourishment. Cooking is often used as a means to break down plant fibres, but it can also destroy key nutrients as well as enzymes needed for the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

A juice extractor frees nutrients from their fibres so they can be absorbed and used by our bodies directly. As a result, these nutrients enter the bloodstream much more quickly and in a much greater concentration than from solid food, so they can be used right away by the liver, kidneys, urinary tract, skin, gallbladder, brain, and immune system. The same is true for key phytonutrients and antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress, promote cardiovascular wellness, support a healthy immune system, and help protect DNA. The cold-pressing method of juicing retains living enzymes and nutrients in fruits and veggies which boost the immune system and energy levels.

The Skinny on Cleansing

Plenty of scientific evidence suggests that sporadic fasting can help people manage their weight and perhaps even live longer. There are a few reasons for this. While the main goal of juice cleansing or fasting is not weight loss, this may happen as a result of a calorie deficit (depending on how many days you do it for). Since the calories in juice cleanses are usually low, users are advised to take it easy, relax, give their bodies a break and try not to expend too much additional energy. Not everyone gives themselves this luxury often enough, so juice cleansing is one way that people can intervene, de-stress and give their bodies a break, which may in turn help them live longer.

Cleanses probably won't have a life-altering effect when used for only 2-7 days, but they can at least kick-start and help establish a healthier pattern of eating, and can help get you on track (or back on track) after a stint of poor eating. They can also be used as supplements or for maintenance by regular cleansing. While cleansing, you can rest assured that everything you're consuming for that period of time is healthy and natural, and you're avoiding the adverse effects of processing, cooking and ingesting toxins. At least for a few days, your diet will be free of added sugars, sweeteners, preservatives, and other added chemicals. What's so bad about that?