The idea of juice fasting may make you want to run in the opposite direction. Or maybe you dismiss it as another health fad, but hear us out…
Juice fasting is more than a hyped-up trend. The science shows that juice fasting can boost your overall health and cardiovascular system. You don’t even need to commit to a multi-day juice fast (though you can if you choose) to reap incredible benefits. Even intermittent fasting can be helpful! To achieve optimal results, make sure you juice fast the right way with support from a trusted practitioner, if needed.
What is juice fasting?
Juice fasting simply means replacing solid foods with cold-pressed juice made from fresh fruits and vegetables for a time. It’s recommended to juice fast for up to three days. You may also choose to try intermittent juice fasting – drinking only juice for the fasting period (12-16 hours per day) and consuming solid foods during non-fasting times.
Many think that fasting isn’t a natural way to eat, but we were actually built for it. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had periods of food abundance followed by periods of scarcity, and their bodies adapted to this eating pattern. A fasted state can promote healing, as specific cellular processes can only occur when you’re not digesting food. Juice fasting provides nutrients to your body with the metabolic benefits of fasting.
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of nutrients, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. You may be wondering – why not eat fruits and vegetables in their whole form? By juicing your produce, the nutrients are separated out from the fiber, which means that your body has to do less work to absorb the nutrients. This gives your digestive system a break, allowing for rest, repair, and many health benefits.
We recommend a three-day juice fast several times per year, especially when you’re feeling sluggish or looking for a reset. At the end of your juice fast, we recommend starting on a whole foods diet to support your health.
5 benefits of juice fasting
Reduced stress on the digestive system
Your digestive system rarely gets a break. Juice fasting can be powerful because it provides a break from the work of digestion while delivering essential nutrients. Cold-pressed juice provides enzymes and prebiotics which benefit the gut microbiome. Science shows that better gut health supports weight loss, so juice fasting may be a great way to start shedding some extra pounds.
Boosted immunity and reduced inflammation
Your immune response largely depends on the health of the gut microbiome. Inflammation is often caused by poor gut health and dysfunction of the immune system. Most people live in a chronic state of inflammation without even realizing it. Inflammation can drive many diseases, such as arthritis and allergies. By balancing the microbiome, juice fasting improves your immune response, protecting against disease.
Toxic substances are in the food, water, and even the air. Unless you live in a bubble, it’s impossible to avoid exposure. Toxins can cause many diseases and can wreak havoc on cardiovascular health. Cold-pressed juice not only provides extra hydration but it’s also packed with antioxidants and other key nutrients. These can support the liver’s detoxification pathways and prevent toxin buildup.
Mental health and clarity
There’s a close connection between the gut microbiome and brain health, known as the gut-brain axis. Gut health can have a huge impact on cognition, mental health, focus, and energy. Juice fasts can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain, reducing symptoms of depression and fatigue.
Improved heart health
Juice fasting reverses heart disease risk factors, including leaky gut, obesity, inflammation, toxic burden, and stress. Don’t take our word for it – this is reflected in the research.
Fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols, which are antioxidant-rich and known to reduce the risk of heart disease and many other conditions.
Fasting alone can prevent artery-hardening and reduce blood pressure. Evidence shows that consuming cold-pressed juice can reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Juice fasting packs a powerful punch because you get the benefits of fasting and heart-healthy juice!
The best type of juice: homemade vs. store-bought
You’ve likely seen plenty of cold-pressed juices online or on the shelf of your local grocery store. While you may feel inclined to buy store-bought juice for convenience, homemade juice is the gold standard.
Store-bought juices often contain tons of added sugar and artificial preservatives. The high sugar content can cause spikes in blood sugar and cravings, making your juice fast more difficult and less beneficial.
Store-bought juice may be necessary at times if you’re in a pinch, but always look closely at the ingredients and sugar content. It should only include cold-pressed juice, nothing else.
What to include in your juice
Always buy organic produce and herbs for your juice to get the most nutrients possible and minimize toxin exposure. Make sure your homemade juice includes the following four ingredients for optimal benefits.
- Low-glycemic fruits (lemon, lime, green apples, berries): Choosing these fruits will keep your blood sugar stable, preventing swings in hunger or sugar cravings.
- Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard): Contains chlorophyll, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
- Water-rich vegetables (cucumbers, celery, lettuce): Boosts electrolytes and hydration, supporting detoxification pathways.
- Herbs (turmeric, ginger, cayenne): Adds a kick while reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Potential side effects of juice fasting
The most common side effect of juice fasting is hunger. This will ease over time as your body transitions into consuming ketones for energy rather than glucose. Choosing low-glycemic fruits will help curb hunger and keep blood sugar stable.
When you first start a juice fast, you may experience some fatigue or headaches as your body detoxifies and repairs itself. If are on a multi-day juice fast, plan for extra rest and avoid strenuous exercise.
After an extended period of juice fasting, you may need to eat smaller meals to help your body transition back to solid foods.
For many people, juice fasting is safe and free of adverse effects. If you have diabetes, liver, kidney disease, or other health concerns, you’ll want to talk to your holistic practitioner before starting a juice fast.
Make sure you get the most out of your juice fast by seeking support from a trusted professional. This is especially important if it’s your first fast, or if you’re struggling with chronic disease, food sensitivities, or toxin exposure.
At Natural Heart Doctor, our practitioners and coaches are well-versed in the science of fasting and heart health. If you’re hoping to optimize your health through fasting, we can provide extra guidance and support.
We can also test to confirm your progress by checking for inflammatory markers and toxin exposure at intervals. This will help us ensure that your efforts are effective as you get on the road to your 100 Year Heart!
Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well
Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD