We all start juice cleanses for the same reasons: To stimulate healthy weight loss, reduce inflammation and bloating, get more energy, and aid in digestion. But all juice cleanses aren’t created equal.
In last week’s blog, we covered why fiber is essential to a juice cleanse - otherwise your cleanse could be keeping you out of the bathroom for 7 days!
But fiber isn’t the only essential ingredient to a juice cleanse. Each and every ingredient in a juice cleanse should have a specific purpose, helping you achieve your unique health goals.
Yet, many juice cleanses fall short in the ingredient department. Too often, a juice cleanse’s front label writes a check the ingredients label can’t cash.
There are so many food products out there that sound, look, or even claim to be healthy that really aren't. It's easy to be misled by what's on the front label of a product, and that's the first reason why many diets fail before they ever get started.
In this same vein, it's easy to look at calories as the secret to losing weight. While calories do in fact play a significant part in weight loss, it’s not the only number to pay attention to.
Just because two foods have similar calorie counts doesn't mean they offer your body the same nutritional benefits. In fact, two foods with the same calorie count but different ingredients can impact your body in completely different ways.
As an example, let's compare proteins and complex carbohydrates. Your body uses proteins to repair and build tissue as well as to make hormones, enzymes, and other vital body chemicals. Protein is also a well-documented building block for muscles, bones, cartilage, blood, and skin.
On the other hand, complex carbohydrates deliver essential energy to your body, aiding digestion and the metabolism of fat and protein.
Proteins and complex carbohydrates are both important parts of a healthy diet, but they play different roles in the way your body operates. If you focus solely on calorie counts and not on the ingredients in your diet, your body may not be getting enough of some essential nutrients.
This is also why it’s important to look beyond the name or label of any juice cleanse you try. You don’t want to be thinking you’re doing everything right only to become constipated in addition to still feeling bloated.
Juice cleanses are nutritional for the most part, but some companies like to cut corners in order to save money or artificially improve the taste of their juices. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
Sugar isn't all bad. Fruits and vegetables all naturally contain sugar that your body uses for energy. The trouble comes with added sugars, which are sugars or syrups that are added to food products during processing. Many food products make use of added sugar because it helps make them more appetizing. However, added sugars will contribute extra calories to your diet without providing any additional nutritional value.
Food fillers are additives that help bulk up a food's weight with cheap ingredients to keep the price of a product down. Fillers are most commonly found in meats - and even vegan meat alternatives - but all kinds of products make use of fillers.
Non-meat fillers tend to be quite starchy, so they're high in carbs but low in nutritional value.
These are more straightforward. Artificial ingredients are man-made and usually come in the form of artificial flavors, coloring, preservatives, or other food additives. Since they aren’t natural, these obviously also lack in much nutritional value
How can you know if your favorite juice cleanse is trying to slip some of these ingredients by you? Check to see if their juices are USDA certified organic. If they’re not, then there’s a good chance you could find something better for your body.
While there are some ingredients to make sure you avoid, there are also plenty of ingredients you should make sure a juice cleanse does have.
Annie, one of the founders of SMART Pressed Juice, has perfected our juices over the past 20 years to develop an award-winning program that quickly gets people back on track with their health.
Let’s take a look at some of Annie’s favorite ingredients and their many benefits:
Flaxseed and chia seeds can both be found in our Pineapple Chia Cleanse because they contain high mucilage (gelling fiber) content, which is great for improving your body's nutrient absorption and colon detoxification.
These superfood seeds are packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are essential to digestion. These seeds also have very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health, and lignans, a type of antioxidant.
Plus, they both contain significant amounts of micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin B1. SMART Pressed Juice's powders only use organic-certified and cold-milled flaxseed and chia seeds. Cold milling means that no heat is used during processing, so they keep their nutrients in powder form.
Annie considers turmeric to be the queen of superfoods because it’s loaded with powerful antioxidants for your heart, skin, liver, and body in general. Turmeric is also a potent anti-inflammatory spice that provides pain relief, an energy boost, and improves digestion.
Maca root can be found in our Vegan Vanilla Proteini because it's rich in protein, antioxidants, and is known to boost energy and stamina. Maca root powder is quite nutritious and is a great source of important vitamins and minerals. Additionally, maca root is a good source of carbs and fiber while being low in fat.
Some juicers may also be interested to learn that maca root is known to increase libido in men and women, and it may even increase fertility for men. We use it for its nutritional value, but some of our customers may be interested in these added benefits.
We use this nutrient-dense superfood algae in our Organic Pressed Greens because of its many associated health benefits. Despite being single-celled, chlorella has an impressive nutritional profile.
Not only is this algae over 50% protein, but it contains all nine essential amino acids. The other half of chlorella includes vitamin B12, iron, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals.