Homemade Detox Drinks: 5 Major Health Benefits, Including Weight Loss

September 19, 2017
Detox drinks - Dr. Axe

So many of us work hard every day and feel like we can barely get through it without needing some sort of energy boost. We tend to turn to sugar for a quick pick-me-up, but that’s really doing more harm than good. Many people don’t realize that the sluggish and even bloated feeling we get during the day can be the result of excess toxins in the body. Detox drinks help to naturally reduce inflammation, boost energy, support digestion, cleanse the liver and promote healthy skin.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine assessed the use of clinical detoxification therapies by licensed naturopathic doctors in the United States. One hundred ninety-six naturopathic doctors completed a survey about the use of clinical detoxification therapies; 92 percent of respondents reported using detox therapies and over 75 percent utilized detoxification to treat patients for environmental exposures, general cleaning and preventive medicine, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases. (1)

But you don’t need a doctor to detoxify your body. Detox drinks are simple to make — there are a number of fruits, vegetables and herbs that stimulate detoxification while providing vitamins and minerals that keep the body functioning properly. Experiment with detox drinks today and notice how light, fresh and clear-headed you feel afterwards.

I predict that you’re going to want to make detoxing a part of your health routine.


Why Choose Detox Drinks?

 

 

When you hear the word “detox,” do you immediately think that it requires fasting or some special formula? It’s really much simpler than that. Detox drinks can be made with ingredients you already have at home, like lemon, apple cider vinegar, cucumbers and watermelon. There’s nothing fancy to it.

Every day we are exposed to environmental pollutants, preservatives, heavy metals, pesticides and cancer-causing chemicals. We inhale, ingest or come into contact with these toxins and they get stored in the tissues and cells throughout our bodies. Many of these toxins have demonstrated harmful cancerous, reproductive, metabolic and mental health effects. Detox drinks help us to avoid toxic overload before it becomes a major health problem. (2)

Some signs of a toxic overload include:

  • constipation
  • bloating
  • gas
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • aches and pains
  • nausea
  • belly fat
  • skin problems
  • food cravings
  • low energy
  • bad breath
  • mood swings

Detox drinks guide - Dr. Axe


5 Major Benefits of Detox Drinks 

1. Removes Toxins from the Body (and Cleanse the Liver)

Environmental pollutants, pesticides, heavy metals and chemicals are stored in our tissues and cells. This affects immune system function, our mood, metabolism and our ability to fight disease; in fact, symptoms of poor health in people free from diagnosed disease may also be related to toxin buildup.

A 2000 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine investigated whether a seven-day program of detoxication, such as a heavy metal detox, can improve well-being and enhance the activity of live detoxification pathways. As a result of the detox, there was a 23 percent increase in liver detoxification capacity and an increase in the urinary sulfate-to-cretinine ratio after treatment, indicating a trend toward improved liver function. (3)

2. Reduces Inflammation

When you cleanse the liver and give your digestion system a chance to rest by having detox drinks and smoothies instead of heavy meals, you are reducing disease-causing inflammation and swelling within the body. Some detox drink ingredients, like watermelon, cucumber, strawberries and ginger help to reduce inflammation while easing your digestive system. (4)

3. Aids Weight Loss

Detox drinks can boost your metabolism and energy levels, leaving you feeling fresh and light throughout the day. Some fruits, like benefit-rich grapefruit, even contain special enzymes that help the body to utilize sugar, thereby boosting the metabolism and aiding weight loss.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine evaluated the effects of a 21-day detox program. Seven participants stuck to a diet that involved unlimited fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and at least 64 ounces of water a day. They were also allowed to consume complex carbs and protein shakes throughout the program.

As a result of the detox, the seven participants demonstrated short-term weight loss (an average of 11.7 pounds) and improvements in their lipid profiles. Total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels decreased. (5)

4. Promotes Skin Health

By eliminating toxins from the body and reducing inflammation, detox drinks boost skin health and minimize the signs of aging. When the skin becomes clogged with pollutants and chemicals, it leads to wrinkles, dryness and other signs of aging.

Strengthening the skin’s metabolic mechanisms with fruits and vegetables enhances the luster of the skin. Many detox drink ingredients are often vitamin C foods, which can also help to naturally slow aging and heal wounds by forming new scar tissue. (6)

5. Boosts Energy & Mental Alertness

The ingredients of any detox drink will work together to reduce inflammation, cleanse the liver and boost energy levels naturally. Without the toxin overload weighting you down, you will feel lighter and refreshed as opposed to living with fatigue, mood swings and brain fog.

Ingredients like lemon, rosemary and mint will rejuvenate the body and can even improve mental alertness. These powerful foods also help you to restore hydration, especially after exercise or a busy day. (7)


The Best Ingredients for Detox Drinks

There are a number of fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be added to water to support detoxification. Each one has specific components that aid detoxification while helping to boost the immune system and prevent chronic disease. To make your own detox drink, you can read through the benefits and combine the ingredients that are tailored for your needs specifically.

Watermelon — Watermelon is low in calories and helps hydrate the body. It fights inflammation and free radical damage while providing vitamin A and vitamin B, both known for having anti-aging properties.

Watermelon contains a high amount of lycopene, a certain type of carotenoid that is responsible for giving watermelon its deep red or pink color and serves as a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that lycopene plays a role in the prevention of chronic diseases and may prevent osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Watermelon also provides potassium and magnesium, which are important for detoxification and managing blood flow and hydration levels in the body. (8)

Cucumber Cucumber nutrition includes some impressive benefits when it comes to fighting free radical damage and inflammation. They also contain some powerful polyphenol compounds that can help to naturally slow aging that is caused by oxidative stress. Cucumbers are diuretics, so they stimulate urination which helps to cleanse the liver, flush out bodily toxins and avoid water retention. (9)

Lemon — Lemon contains ascorbic acid, which helps to detoxify the body; it also aids digestion, keeps your skin glowing and provides vitamin C, which stimulates white blood cell production and boost immune system function.

The benefits of lemon water include its ability to rejuvenate the skin, heal the body and boost energy. A lemon water detox may also help you to lose weight because lemon contains pectin, a type of fiber that helps you to feel full longer. (10)

Lime — Adding lime juice to detox drinks provides vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C is known to improve physical performance, boost the immune system and fight free radical damage. Limes aid detoxification by promoting the activity of an enzyme in the liver called glutathione-S-transferase (GST). They also contain flavonoids that stimulate the digestive system and increase the secretion of bile and acids. (11)

Grapefruit — Did you know that just smelling the aroma of grapefruit affects the autonomic nerves, fat metabolism and appetite? Research conducted at Karolinska Institute in Sweden has shown that grapefruit benefits weight loss.

The enzyme found in grapefruit called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) helps your body utilize sugar, which boosts your metabolism and aids weight loss. AMPK is generally activated during exercise to help muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy. Grapefruit also boosts the immune system because it is rich in vitamin C, hydrates the body and even promotes skin and brain health. (12)

Raspberries — Raspberries contain ketones, natural chemicals that are thought to help you lose weight fast. Animal studies have shown that raspberry ketones help to prevent the high-fat-diet–induced elevations in body weight as well as the weight of the liver and visceral adipose tissues. Whether or not ketones aid human weight loss is still up for debate, but raspberries are also high in vitamin C and B vitamins. They promote skin healthy and naturally slow aging. (13)

Strawberries — Most of the health benefits associated with strawberry nutrition are due to the presence of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Strawberries contain anti-aging flavonoids that may lower the risk for chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Adding strawberries to detox drinks will also slow down the aging process, protect the skin, provide vitamins A and C, and aid detoxification. A and C vitamins are especially needed during the body’s detox process in order to neutralize and eliminate toxins — leading to reduced inflammation, a regular digestive system and pH balance. (14)

Mint — Did you know that mint has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food? It’s the perfect ingredient for detox drinks because it invigorates the senses while soothing an upset stomach or indigestion. Mint improves the flow of bile through the stomach and speeds up the digestion process, helping to detoxify the body. It also has antimicrobial properties and can be used to support oral health. (15)

Ginger — The medicinal benefits of ginger comes from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that acts as a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger serves as an effective digestive aid and natural remedy for nausea. It can be added to any detox drink to help relieve bloating, constipation and gastrointestinal issues. Ginger is also known to warm the body the break down the accumulation of toxins in the organs. (16)

Rosemary — Rosemary is part of the mint family and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a fantastic detoxifier; it works by enhancing the body’s bile flow, which is essential for fat metabolism and detoxification. By helping to enhance the performance of the bile-producing gallbladder and balance out the microflora in the gut, rosemary boosts nutrient absorption and helps to reverse or prevent toxic overload. (17)

Dandelion — Dandelion greens increase urine production and serve as a natural laxative. Dandelions aid digestion by maintaining the proper flow of bile and cleansing the liver. They are a rich source of vitamin C, which helps with mineral absorption and reduces inflammation. Dandelions can also be used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas and gallstones. (18)

Apple Cider Vinegar — Drinking apple cider vinegar increases metabolism and speeds up weight loss. It contains an organic acid called acetic acid, which has shown to improve your metabolism. It also supports digestive function with its enzymes and probiotics and fights acid reflux naturally. Add apple cider vinegar to detox drinks in order to cleanse your live and lymphatic system. It helps balance your body’s pH and promotes cardiovascular stimulation. (19)

Aloe Vera Gel — Aloe vera gel has laxative and anti-inflammatory properties that help digestion, normalize pH balance, lessen yeast formation and encourage digestive bacteria. The enzymes present in aloe vera help to break down the proteins that we eat into amino acids and turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body. This allows the cells to function properly, and it boosts the immune system. Add aloe vera to detox drinks to reduce inflammation, aid digestion and promote skin health. (20)

 

Detox drinks recipes - Dr. Axe

 


Natural Detox Recipes

Detox Water Recipes: 

After adding the ingredients to a glass jar or pitcher, let it sit for 3–5 hours or overnight. Add ice to your detox drink before enjoying. All of these detox recipe ideas call for 12 ounces of water, but you can always play with these portions and tweak the combinations. Any combination of these awesome detox drink ingredients will help to remove toxins from the body, boost energy, reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.

  • A handful of mint leaves, 2 cups of cubed watermelon and wedges from 1 lime
  • Wedges from 1 lemon and 1 cucumber sliced
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of sliced strawberries, 2 cups of cubed watermelon and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, a teaspoon of cinnamon and slices from 1/2 an apple
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon and 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger root, grated

You can also try my Secret Detox Drink recipe, which also features apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne pepper.

Detox Tea Recipes: 

Dandelion Tea — Steep dandelion roots or flowers in boiling water for 30 minutes. You can strain the roots and flowers or drink them with your tea. Dandelion tea helps to cleanse the liver; it serves as a diuretic and a good source of vitamin A.

Green Tea — Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, and it can reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, minimize signs of aging and improve memory. You can find green tea at most grocery stores or buy green tea leaves and steep them in boiling water for 3–5 minutes, then drain.

Ginger Tea — Ginger tea soothes digestion, reduces inflammation and relieves nausea or upset stomach. You can find ginger tea at most grocery stores or make it yourself by steeping fresh ginger root in boiling water for 10 minutes. Add raw honey or lemon for flavor and extra detoxifying benefits.

Takeaways

  • Detox drinks are great for cleansing the body of toxins that have you experiencing digestive issues, weakness, bloating, nausea, mood swings and skin issues.
  • Detox drinks help to boost energy, cleanse the liver, aid weight loss, reduce inflammation and promote skin health.
  • There are so many powerful ingredients that can added to your detox drinks. Read the benefits and decide what combination works for you.
  • Detox teas can also be beneficial; use ginger, lemon, mint or dandelion teas to make your own detox tea.
  • If you are looking to lose weight, detox drinks will help you to boost your metabolism and reduce inflammation that may have you feeling swollen and bloated. But detox drinks aren’t the only answer for weight loss; to get long-lasting results, pair these beneficial drinks with healthy meals and exercise.

Read Next: Top 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods


From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

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45 Comments

  1. Sharon on

    Dr. Axe: Regarding Stevia: I have been using Stevia as an alternative to sugar or artificial sweeteners for many years )primarily in liquid form).. Now I’m reading that Stevia may not be a good choice due to side effects and it’s introduction of hormone-like substances that will disrupt normal adrenal activity and various other side effects…
    Is there substance to this caution?. Should I stop using Stevia?

    Reply
    • Janice on

      When you make the detox waters, do you sqeeze the fruit and veggies into the water or simply put them into the water to infuse? When the water is ready to drink what do you do with the left over ingredients? How often should one drink the detox waters?

      Reply
  2. LeeAnn on

    I was using apple cider vinegar every day on my salads and I began to breakout around my mouth – rash and acne. I finally figured out that it was the apple cider vinegar. I stopped eating it and began to heal, then recently had a very tiny bit and broke out again. Do you have any idea why the vinegar would make me breakout? Am i too acidic?

    Reply
    • Sally on

      If you’re using processed ACV it’s the wrong kind. Choose the raw one with the ‘mother’ in it – ie the culture. Bragg’s is a good brand and there may be a local one too if you look in a health food store.

      Reply
  3. laura Maynard on

    I smoke crack 6 days ago I have to p n 3 days I’ve been drinking plenty of water cranberry fruits begs vinegar p a lot no sugar sweating a lot n exercising do u think I’ll b ok

    Reply
  4. laura Maynard on

    What do u think will I b ok if I drink plenty of water cranberry p a lot eat fruits n vegs sleep n exercise n sweat a lot I’ve b doing it for 6 days I p n 3 days

    Reply
  5. James on

    These detox drinks are great but i needed blue fat freeze system to really speed up the fat loss process and it worked. Honestly i wasn’t expecting it but it worked and i managed to loose 2 inches around my waist in 2 months by using this combination. But i guess prior doctor’s advice is required if one want’s to take up this method of fat loss.

    Reply
  6. Patty on

    how many times a day do you drink the detox water and how many days a week , also how often on a monthly basis can you repeat this process.

    Reply
  7. Donna K Andrews on

    Since drinking your special detox drink with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, Ginger, Cinnamon and Cayenne pepper, my hips are starting to ache. Does this drink do something to your joints? I have not had hip pain for years. Now sometimes I can hardly walk. I have been drinking the detox drink every morning for about 1 month. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Debra on

      That sounds like it has too many strong ingredients in one drink. I would only mix 3 of any combination and then alternate with different ones. You can get too much of a good thing

      Reply
    • lisa on

      I don’t know much about alternative medicine but I have a rare auto immune disorder and have done some research on diet for myself. It seems that cider vinegar can actually exacerbate symptoms of arthritis and joint pains. I am starting to think it might be the preservatives added to stuff so you might find an organic product would be better or just eat less sugar and refined carbs and more fruit and veg.

      Reply
  8. Tracy on

    Is it more or as beneficial to consume the actual fruit or obtain the benefits via the infused water? Also the leftover fruit once water is consumed- is that thrown out?

    Reply
  9. Marie Wenhold on

    Dear Dr Axe, I paid for a webinar on leaky gut and was unable to view any of it’s information. Who can I contact to rectify this situation.??

    Reply
  10. Mariano Fuentes on

    For me, the mint essential oil, or Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass)essential oil and gel of Aloe vera, are the better detox ingredients.

    Reply
    • jenner on

      First, Dr Axe doesn’t HAVE to answer!
      Second, he isn’t Superman. Like the rest of us he only has 24 hours in every day. I am amazed at the amount of information he constantly gives us.

      Reply
      • Dino Carlucci on

        Could it be Dr axe is selective in who he replies depending on how much he knows. His knowledge must be finite

  11. Nancy on

    Thanks for the list of detox drinks! Are we supposed to eat the fruit or just throw it out? Seems a waste to discard it, I am new to this, so please don’t be mean people if it seems simplistic to you. Nancy

    Reply
    • Pam Thacker on

      I agree with Nancy. These are important questions that many of us are asking, and a quick answer would be so appreciative. Thanks dr. Axe for all your helpful information.

      Reply
  12. Susan Ward on

    Dr Axe – I tried to print these pages in order to hang them up so I’d be more liable to use them, but a pop-up ad ($20 credit? Refer a friend to DRAXE.COM) overlaid every page. Anything you can do about that? Thanks, Love your Collagen and use it a lot.

    Reply
  13. Loretta Jackson on

    Acid reflux was a problem for me years back went to the doctor got a prescription for the purple pill which work for a while then the acid came back went back to the doctors was given a stronger prescription for the purple pill did not want to take it because it seemed to me that it only mask the problem and I would have to keep upping the dosage I didn’t want to do that I remember when I was younger my mother used to give us apple cider vinegar for our belly issues it worked so I thought hey let me try apple cider vinegar and it worked now i use it from head to toe just love this stuff nature huh

    Reply
  14. Billye on

    How often should I drink the detox drink? If I am doing a 7 day cleanse should I drink the same drink 1 day the skip to a different one on the next and so on?

    Reply
  15. Janice on

    When you make the detox waters, do you sqeeze the fruit and veggies into the water or simply put them into the water to infuse? When the water is ready to drink what do you do with the left over ingredients? How often should one drink the detox waters?

    Reply

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