5 Reasons Why You Should Do A Juice Cleanse

OK, so I have a little confession: I haven't always been a believer in juice cleansing. Not to blame Beyoncé or anything, but ever since trying her infamous lemonade detox (you know, the one responsible for getting her that killer Dreams Girls bod) and nearly gnawing off my left arm due to hunger pains, I've taken a pretty firm stance against any and all forms of juice cleansing. That is, however, until about two weeks ago when I was challenged to give it another chance. This time around, though, I promised myself I would approach this whole juice cleanse thing with a different mission and mindset.

You see, there's a common misconception that the main purpose of a juice cleanse is to lose weight, and I would be lying if I said that wasn't my intention back when I first tried it, but after doing some research and chatting with some experts, I can confidently say that's not the only benefit, nor should it be the main objective."This simple daily addition of fresh cold-pressed juice with live, active nutrients will ensure that you're properly detoxifying your body to promote wellness and can also help maximize cellular nourishment," says Sari Dana, a certified holistic health coach and advocate for Juice from the Raw.And those aren't the only benefits. After successfully completing my three-day juice cleanse, one that I made sure was safe, organic, and provided enough calories and nutrients, I noticed some other major perks that had nothing to do with losing weight...

1. Improved Complexion

Apparently this "post-cleanse glow" is not just a figment of my imagination. "Cleanses can make you glow and improve your complexion," says Carolyn Brown, R.D., of Foodtrainers in New York. Since caffeine and alcohol tend to dehydrate your body and skin, cutting them out of your diet and replacing them with nutrient-packed juices and lots of water helps to rehydrate your cells, resulting in a radiant glow.

2. Increased Energy

I know, this one threw me for a loop too. How was it that I had more energy drinking six juices per day, than I did eating three meals? Well, it's not quite as complicated as you'd think.

"Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, helps oxygenate the blood, creating increased brain function and physical energy," said to Judita Wignall, author of Going Raw.

Oooh, so that explains it.

3. Decreased Sugar Cravings

A day with no sweets is typically a day wasted (and not the good kind) in my book, but after completing this juice cleanse, I came to find that I didn't really crave my beloved dark chocolate as much as before.

"Juicing eliminates the habit of comfort eating, and makes you feel satiated with less food than usual," says Woodson Merrell, M.D, author of The Detox Prescription. "This provides a big psychological boost to help get over the hurdle of changing habits."

Not that consuming chocolate was a habit I was really looking to break, but it is nice to know I can go with out if (God forbid) there's ever a world-wide dark chocolate shortage or something.

4. Reduced Physical Pain

"No pain, no gain" isn't always the best motto to abide by, especially when your body is aching for a break. When doing a juice cleanse, "you begin to feel generally better, not just with your energy, but with many chronic symptoms such as headaches, rashes, general aches, congested sinuses and chest, and bloating/cramping/gas," Merrell says. "Take a break, rest the body (and mind) and flood it with nutrients."

5. Relieved Stress

I expected to experience some mood swings during my juice cleanse due to, you know, lack of food and whatnot. What I didn't expect, however, was for my mood to swing in a higher, less-stressed-out direction. Apparently, this is just another added benefit of consuming more fresh fruits and veggies.

"Spinach is high in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps elevate your mood and promotes better sleep," says Magaret Floyd, author of Eat Naked. "It's also high in magnesium, which helps to relax nerves and muscles."

All juice cleanses aren't created equal though. If you want to give one a go, I highly suggest doing your research and picking a program that's safe, organic and nutrient-dense. Sari Dana noted that a juice cleanse is meant to be enjoyed, "so you should definitely pick a cleanse that's appropriate to your level of health and comfort with cleansing based on previous experience," she says. Dana also suggests starting with a three-day cleanse and seeing how your body reacts to it.

"A juice cleanse is merely a kick-start to healthy living," Dana says. "It should not make you sick or make you feel hungry. At the end of the cleanse, you should be more energized and feel refreshed." Images: Giphy (5); Getty (1)