When you think of detoxing, what comes to mind first? Healthy eating plans? Juice cleanses? Detox teas? Detox supplements? There are so many options for detoxing your body that it can be hard to sort through it all and know what’s best.
This article will help you decode the best ways to cleanse and detox, plus offer tips for getting the most of out of your cleansing and detoxing regimen.
How Long Should a Cleanse or Detox Diet Last?
How long you should cleanse or detox depends on your goals, your current health, and the type of plan you decide to follow. Some cleanse and detox programs include five to seven days of intense detoxing, some are more gradual and span a month or longer, and others focus on detoxing a day or two each week. Before beginning a plan that involves major dietary changes for long periods of time, it’s best to consult your doctor or nutritionist.
Food & Diet Tips When Cleansing & Detoxing Your Body
A good detox plan almost always involves a change to your diet, but how drastic of a change depends on how you typically eat. Most food-driven detox diets focus on food that is natural, nutritional and easy to digest. The best detox diets include whole foods that are in season, meet all your daily dietary needs and keep you hydrated. Check out our article Spring Body Cleanse Diet: 25 Detox Recipes & Drinks for some ideas!
If you’re planning a diet change for the detox benefits, focus on steamed or raw vegetables, soups and broths, organic or free-range chicken and wild-caught fish. Steer clear of processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and added sugars. Be sure to use a food journal or nutritional diary to keep track of what you’re eating and make sure you’re getting the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and calories that you need every day. Don’t forget to hydrate by drinking plenty of water during the day.
Your 5 Cleanses for Detoxing
1. Juice Cleanses for Detoxing Your Body
Juice cleanses have become popular in recent years. It seems like juice bars are popping up on every corner these days, but is this a healthy way to detox? The jury is out on the benefits of juice cleansing1, and it’s easy to find support for both sides of the argument.2 But if you don’t like eating fruits and vegetables you are probably missing out on a lot of key nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs to stay healthy, so juicing just might be the answer.3
As with any diet, balance is key. The best juice-based detox plans include a varied mix of vegetable and fruit juices, as well as nut milks to ensure a good balance of nutrients. But go heavier on the vegetables than fruits, because most fruits are naturally higher in sugar than vegetables. While fruit sugar in moderation isn’t usually a bad thing, drinking mostly fruit juice may provide too much sugar.
Another important thing to keep in mind with a juice cleanse is that most juicers strip out the pulp, which means you won’t get the fiber and other nutrients in the pulp you would get from eating whole fruits and vegetables. If you’re juicing at home, you can mix some of the pulp back in to get more fiber, or use a blender instead, so the fiber isn’t filtered out. As with any juicing plan, it’s best to check in with your primary care physician and a nutritionist.
2. Detoxing with Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar with mother is fermented juice from crushed apples and a popular ingredient in many detoxing and cleansing recipes, especially since it contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some nutrients in apple cider vinegar include acetic and folic acids, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, minerals such as potassium, iron and magnesium, plus polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. There are many home remedy and historical apple cider vinegar uses, ranging from comforting a sore throat to supporting skin and hair health. Additionally, apple cider vinegar has been linked to studies that show it may have benefits for weight management, blood sugar health and heart health.4 For a quick and easy whole-body detox recipe, see Ginger Detox Tea with Apple Cider Vinegar.
3. Liver Cleanse & Detox Diet Tips
It should come as no surprise that a liver cleanse is a common cleanse and detox regimen. After all, your liver is your body’s internal detox system and you want to keep it as healthy as possible. It works hard to rid your body of toxic chemicals, and it converts nutrients in your diet to usable matter and stores it until your cells need it.5 Your liver also plays a role in metabolizing carbohydrates and regulating blood glucose, and performs plenty of other vital functions.5
Given the processed foods and unhealthy substances many of us consume on a regular basis, our livers have a lot of work to do. Detoxing the liver helps support healthy liver function. The best liver detox diet consists of removing processed foods, hydrogenated oils, added sugars, alcohol, and other substances from your diet, and eating plenty of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits and whole foods. Also, consider taking supplements that contain detoxifying herbs like milk thistle, turmeric and dandelion root.
4. Cleanse & Detox Herbs & Supplements
Cleanse and detox herbs and supplements can be taken alongside your regular diet, or during a detoxification regimen to get the most out of your detox plan. Detox supplements are available for focused cleansing, such as with a liver detox or colon detox, as well as whole body cleansing. They’re available in many forms from capsules to powders, liquids and drops.
The best cleanse and detox supplements help eliminate toxins with natural ingredients, like Full Spectrum Milk Thistle or dandelion root for liver cleansing, or antioxidant vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium.6 Activated charcoal is found in many cleansing drinks, juice blends and supplements, and it's been used for more than 150 years to absorb unwanted substances in the body and help rid the body of toxins. Read What is Activated Charcoal? for more on its proven detoxifying qualities and how to add activated charcoal to your cleanse and detox routine.
When choosing detox supplements and herbs, opt for supplements that come from a trusted source to ensure high grade, pure ingredients, and be sure to read the directions. If you’re taking any prescription medications, check in with your doctor before adding detox supplements to your diet.
5. Cleanse & Detox Tea
Teas of many kinds have long been lauded for the healthy flavonoids and antioxidants they contain.7 An antioxidant known as Epigallocatechin Gallate (ECGC), which is found in some teas, helps fight free radicals that contribute to certain health concerns.8
Many of the ingredients found in detox supplements can also be found in teas, like organic dandelion root tea, turmeric tea. Some detox teas are made up of combinations of herbs believed to facilitation detoxification.
Here are some of the most popular detox teas we offer and their uses:
- Swanson Organic Turmeric Tea - supports cleansing and helps soothe the stomach
- Yogi DeTox Tea - supports healthy liver and kidney function and contains a blend of detoxifying botanicals, including dandelion root
- Triple Leaf Detox Tea Caffeine Free - a traditional Chinese formula to help cleanse the body of toxins associated with environmental pollutants
- Reishi Liver Guard Herb Tea - with reishi mushroom and other natural ingredients to support detoxifying and toning, and to support the immune system
Ready to flush out toxins and cleanse your body? Take a look at our natural cleansing and detoxification products, and sign up for our emails for special offer, health tips and inspiring wellness news.
You can find more detox information and tips here: 25 Detox Smoothies to Cleanse Your Body.
About Lindsey Bristol, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products
Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for ice cream. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.
Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health Products.
1 Juicing: Body Cleansing or Nutrient Depleting?: UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. https://exploreim.ucla.edu/wellness/juicing-body-cleansing-or-nutrient-depleting/ (Accessed 10/31/2017)
2 Juicing 101: Nutrition Tips for Consumers. Food and Nutrition Information Center. https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/juicing-101 (Accessed 10/31/2017)
3 Juicing for Health and Weight Loss. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/juicing-health-risks-and-benefits#1 (Accessed 10/31/2017)
4 Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Health. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/apple-cider-vinegar-and-your-health (Accessed 12/11/2017)
5 How does the liver work?: PubMed Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072577/ (Accessed 10/31/2017)
6 Liver Detoxification -- Fact or Fad?: WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/men/features/liver-detoxification----fact-fad#1 (Accessed 10/31/2017)
7 Health Benefits of Tea: Green, Black, and White Tea: WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits#1 (Accessed 10/31/2017)
8 Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) Is the Most Effective Cancer Chemopreventive Polyphenol in Green Tea: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509513/ (Accessed 10/31/2017)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.