One-Day Cleanse

Three types of healthy vegetable juice, above view on slate
One Day Cleanse (Image: jenifoto/iStock/GettyImages)

Cleansing is a fad diet buzzword, but the idea is not without merit. Even the healthiest eating plan can sometimes run off the rails, so spending one day eating nothing but the freshest and least processed foods possible can load you up with nutrients, get you rehydrated and turn you from a train wreck back into the little engine that could.

What Is a One-Day Cleanse?

The purpose of a cleanse diet is to give your body a rest from processed foods and to load up on nutrients. This is especially helpful after a night of indulgence or to keep you on track with your weight and fitness goals.

The benefit of spending one day taking in only fresh fruits and fruit juices, according to the Explore Integrative Medicine program at the University of California at Los Angeles, is that it increases the number of phytochemicals, micronutrients and antioxidants in your system.

Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that help carry nutrients throughout your body. Micronutrients are basically vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants scrub away the free radicals, which gather on your cells like rust and increase your chance of heart attack, certain cancers and stroke. Taking in five full servings of fruit along with healthy meals will also work to help your body cleanse itself.

The Right and Wrong Way to Cleanse

Detoxing is a natural process wherein your liver metabolizes toxins so that your body can excrete them. You cannot speed this process up, but you can support it by taking in the freshest, most nutrient-dense foods, according to the clinicians at MaxLiving.

A body cleanse does not have to mean a water fast or cutting out solid food entirely, though if you find it easier to resist temptation on a stricter regimen, smoothies might be your best choice. Make them at home, though, because bottled smoothies tend to contain processed sugars. The point of a successful cleanse, advises Today's Keri Glassman, R.D., is to give your body a rest from unhealthy foods and jump-start your diet so you can continue making smarter choices.

Rather than simply trying to live on water all day, which can make you irritable and could lead to a binge, plan your meals around fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean protein such as fish and a small amount of healthy fats such as olive oil. Eat three times in one day, without snacks, and plan to stop eating by no later than 6:00 p.m. Intermittent fasting like this can help with weight loss, according to Harvard Medical School, because it forces your body to use the sugar it stores as fat.

Tips and Hints

Don't look at your stomach cleanse as a draconian ordeal. You don't have to give up all food. You just need to avoid all refined sugar; processed starches such as white rice, pasta, white bread and crackers; and other processed foods. This includes canned or jar sauces, frozen dinners and anything that comes precooked.

Following a clean diet can also serve as a 1-day colon cleanse, which is not to be confused with a high colonic. One simply encourages healthy elimination through smart food choices, while the other is basically a deep enema. Healthline recommends staying hydrated while you are on your one-day cleanse, and eating plenty of foods high in fiber to help cleanse your colon.

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