If you’ve ever searched for ways to lose weight or boost your energy levels, you’ve likely heard of detox cleanses. But recent overuse of the word “detox” can make it difficult to identify the best detox cleanses as well as those you should avoid.
While you can find many detox cleanse options, not all of them are legitimate. Some “detox teas” promoted on social media can harm you, containing more caffeine than you can safely ingest in a day or other questionable ingredients that can produce unwanted side effects like diarrhea and heart palpitations.
The best detox cleanses have a foundation of healthy ingredients and nourishing nutrients. They don’t provide a quick fix to fast weight loss by depriving you of vital calories and creating a laxative effect. That’s called crash dieting, which typically delivers short-term benefits along with the potential to cause health problems. Instead, healthy detox cleanses assist your liver and kidneys in removing toxins from your body while helping balance your digestive system.
Do you want to try a detox cleanse, but feel unsure of where to start? Read on to learn about five of the healthiest and best detox cleanses available today.
The Whole30 Program
The wildly popular Whole30 program might be a good beginner option because it doesn’t require you to eliminate solid foods altogether. Instead, you cut out foods that might cause cravings, digestive problems, and inflammation for 30 days in an effort to reset your digestive system. The restricted foods include added sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, junk foods, most legumes, and additives like MSG and sulfites.
The Whole30 website provides many helpful resources, including an app, shopping lists, and meal planning ideas. These tools help dispel any confusion about what to eat while ensuring you don’t end up eating the same thing every day.
The Quantum Wellness Cleanse
The Quantum Wellness Cleanse is another option that doesn’t require you to eliminate all solid foods. The rules of this vegan, detoxifying cleanse include cutting out all animal products, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, and added sugar for three weeks. This cleanse serves a dual purpose: to remove toxins from your body while making you a more conscious eater. The main differences between this cleanse and the Whole30 program include a one-week shorter time period, elimination of meat, and inclusion of legumes.
Created by Vegan Author Kathy Freston, the Quantum Wellness Cleanse also is called the 21-day Cleanse. This popular cleanse grew even more popular when Oprah tried it and blogged about her experience. Kathy Freston published a book dedicated to this cleanse and offers other food and nutrition-related books on her website.
The Juice Cleanse
When people refer to a detox cleanse, they most often mean a juice cleanse. Juice cleanses usually last anywhere from one day to one week or longer and involve ingesting nothing more than liquid juices and water.
The best juice cleanses use juices made from organic fruits and vegetables to ensure you don’t ingest pesticides as you cleanse. Juices with lower sugar content are the most appropriate — especially if you plan to cleanse for a longer period of time. Be sure to either follow a reputable juice cleanse or carefully calculate the sugar content of a do-it-yourself juice cleanse before you start. Juice cleanses with too much sugar can overwork or even damage your kidneys, which would hinder your overall cleansing goal.
The Soup Cleanse
Soup cleanses are the veggie-heavy cousins of juice cleanses, which often contain more fruit and, as a result, more sugar. Soup cleanses make a great option for people seeking a low-sugar cleanse, and they range from those that feature all-vegan soups to those that involve eating bone broth.
If you decide to try a soup cleanse, don’t just go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of standard canned soups. That would likely result in you ingesting too much salt as well as other additives, defeating the purpose of a detox cleanse. Instead, either create your own soups from whole ingredients or buy a soup cleanse from a reputable juice cleanse company. The Splendid Spoon ships vegan soups nationwide and Soupure offers multiple soup cleanses that include both veggies and bone broth.
The Sauna Approach
While it’s not a traditional cleanse that restricts consumption of certain foods, the sauna approach is another excellent and popular option that relies on the power of sweating. Sweat is one way toxins exit the body, and saunas, with their high heat, increase sweating. While a regular sauna heats a small room in which you sit, an infrared sauna heats your body directly. Infrared sauna companies claim infrared saunas promote at least twice the sweat production of a regular sauna and, as a result, an increased rate of detoxification.
You can use a sauna on its own or in conjunction with another food cleanse for increased detox results. While studies document health benefits stemming from the use of traditional saunas as well as infrared saunas, there’s growing promotion of the infrared variety for detoxification purposes. Search for “infrared sauna” and the name of your location to find nearby spas with infrared saunas. When you first begin using an infrared sauna, limit yourself to 15 to 30 minutes at a time in order to give your body time to adjust. If you have heart issues, consult a doctor before trying an infrared sauna. Like other saunas, the heat of an infrared sauna can increase your heart rate.
Detox cleanses can provide useful, healthy paths to increased wellness when conducted safely. As with any cleanse, start off slow and consult your doctor before you begin if you have any concerns or health issues.