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.
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. Research demonstrates that the best detox drinks help us to avoid toxic overload before it becomes a major health problem. Simple ingredients like lemon, dandelion root and apple cider vinegar can make a huge difference.
What Are Detox Drinks?
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. After drinking the best detox drinks, you may notice that you feel lighter, fresher and more clear-headed afterwards.
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.
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.
So how do you know if you need to detox? Most people have at least some build-up of toxins within the body, but specific signs of toxic overload may include:
- aches and pains
- belly fat
- skin problems
- food cravings
- low energy
- bad breath
- mood swings
1. Remove 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 liver 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.
2. Reduce Inflammation
As part of the detox diet, give your digestion system a chance to rest by having detox drinks and smoothies instead of heavy meals. This helps to reduce disease-causing inflammation and swelling within the body. Research suggests that some detox drink ingredients, like watermelon, cucumber, strawberries and ginger help to reduce inflammation while easing your digestive system.
3. Aid 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.
4. Promote 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.
Reports show that 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.
5. Boost Energy and 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 have shown to 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.
Best Detox Drink Ingredients
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.
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 reportedly 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.
Coconut Water — Coconut water is a great detox drink and contains a similar electrolyte profile to human blood, making it an ideal beverage to replace fluids and help remove toxins from the body. The electrolyte potassium, specifically, can help counteract some of the negative effects of a high-sodium processed diet.
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, which has proven to be a type of fiber that helps you to feel full longer.
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. It can easily be added to a detox water or green smoothie.
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.
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.
Strawberries — Most of the health benefits associated with strawberry nutrition are due to the presence of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Research suggests that 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.
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. Studies show that 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.
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. Try making your own ginger shots.
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. Reports indicate that 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.
Dandelion — Dandelion greens increase urine production and serve as a natural laxative. Reports suggest that 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.
Apple Cider Vinegar — An apple cider vinegar drink 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.
Aloe Vera Gel — Research shows that aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice 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.
While there are popular detox drinks like the Rescue Cleanse, the best option is to make your own as part of a limited juice cleanse. You can get similar benefits as Rescue Cleanse other commercial detox drinks like the Rescue Cleanse in homemade detox drinks.
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 water 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. If you’re looking for a ginger detox, try my ginger detox Switchel recipe. There are also plenty of detox smoothie recipes to choose from. Try some of my Healthy Detox Smoothie Recipes.
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.
- 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, like lemon, peppermint and ginger. Read the benefits and decide what combination works for you.
- Detox teas can also be beneficial; use ginger, lemon, mint or dandelion root 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.