Throughout history, cultures across the world have partaken in fasts that promote the idea of cleansing. Given the increasingly toxic world in which we all live today, periodic detoxification has become even more crucial to health maintenance. Juice fasting in particular is an excellent way to help your body detoxify and heal.
A good juice fast consists of a well-selected variety of vegetable, fruit, and spiced beverages, which give your body and instant boost of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Detoxification requires B vitamins and antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E so a smart cleanse program will include these crucial compounds.
Juicing removes fiber, which gives the gastrointestinal tract time to rest and heal. Since the digestive organs are the largest in the body, their routine operations consume large amounts of energy. Fasting rests the system and frees up energy for the body to use towards healing and building stronger immunity.*
Dr. Andrew Weil, MD suggests fasting as a "good home remedy for colds, flus, infectious illnesses, and toxic conditions of all kinds."* In addition, naturopathic doctors Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno acknowledge that fasting is "one of the quickest ways to increase the elimination of wastes and enhance the body's healing processes." Scientific research further demonstrates the value of fasting in the treatment of chronic conditions from obesity to rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis, IBS and mental health issues like depression and schizophrenia.**
Juice fasts are the preferred form of fasting because they contain nutrients to support the body throughout the detoxification process. Toxins are stored in our fat cells and can be released during fasting. Since juices offer such a potent nutritional cocktail, they are a better option to support detoxification than water or "dry" fasts. Juice cleanses also reduce the side effects of circulating toxins and low blood sugar.**
A wonderful time to give your body a break and try a fast is after the indulgent holidays. We may not be able to completely undo our sweets and cocktails, but taking a few days (or more!) to cleanse can detoxify and rebuild our nutrient profile. Now that's a resolution you'll actually want to keep.
Happy New Year!
-Emily Wade Adams
*Weil, A. (2004) Natural Health, Natural Medicine. New York: Houghton Mifflin. **Murray, M. & Pizzorno, J. (2012). The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Third Edition. Detoxification and Internal Cleansing. New York: Atria.