Green juices are known for their ability to detoxify your body. But misconceptions around the ever-popular juice cleanse are becoming more common as the word “detox” continues to be a buzzword in the wellness industry.
YOUR BODY IS CONSTANTLY DETOXING
In reality, your body doesn’t need a juice cleanse to eliminate toxins—it detoxifies automatically!
Your body is designed to constantly detoxify itself via your bloodstream, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and, most notably, your liver: a detox machine that is constantly working to filter your blood of toxic substances.
So, how exactly do green juices help to support this natural process?
TWO PHASES OF DETOX
Before we get into how green juices can help the body detox, it’s important to understand the two phases of detoxification and how they help the liver eliminate toxins from the body.
Phase 1:In phase 1 detox, the liver takes toxins and transforms them into intermediates. These transformed toxins are often, temporarily, more toxic and therefore must move into phase 2 detox quickly so they can be neutralized and eliminated from the body.
Phase 2:Phase 2 detox works to neutralize fat and water-soluble toxins using a number of special substances produced by the liver in a process known as conjugation. Once neutralized, these toxins can be excreted via sweat, urine, and bodily waste (1).
SO I DON’T NEED TO DRINK GREEN JUICES TO DETOX?
No, but here’s the catch: when phase 1 is working to break down the many toxins we are exposed to daily, it produces a large number of free radicals (unstable atoms). While our bodies naturally produce free radicals, an excess can lead to oxidative stress, which has been shown to promote age-related diseases (2).
This is where antioxidants come into play.
ANTIOXIDANTS: DETOXIFYING SUPERHEROS
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of antioxidants before, but what are they exactly, and what do they do? Antioxidants help to neutralize unstable free radicals by lending them an extra electron.
Consuming foods that are high in antioxidants is key when it comes to minimizing free radical damage caused by phase 1 detoxification.
In terms of where to get them, leafy greens, grasses, and microalgae are your best bet as they’re rich sources of many different types of antioxidants, including:
Chlorophyll:You know it as the pigment that gives plants their green colour. Some of the top sources of chlorophyll are moringa, with a whopping 8.2 mg/g, barley grass, which contains 5.4 mg/g, and spirulina at 4.8 mg/g. Spinach and kale are also excellent sources of chlorophyll, boasting 7 mg/g and ≈6.5 mg/g, respectively (3)(4).
Phycocyanin: This pigment responsible for algae’s bluish tint has been shown to inhibit free radical activity, making it an excellent compound to support the detox process (5). Since phycocyanin is only found in blue-green algae, spirulina is one of the best sources, containing approximately 0.7–1.12 g per tablespoon.
Vitamin C: It's surprising to many that leafy greens like kale and spinach are great sources of vitamin C. But the queen of vitamin C is acerola, a type of cherry native to the tropical regions of the Americas, which is made up of 20–25% vitamin C. Each tablespoon of SmarterGreens contributes up to 28% towards your daily value of vitamin C.
Polyphenols: Polyphenols are potent organic chemical compounds known for their protective and regenerative properties on body tissues (6). While polyphenols can be found in fruit, vegetables, herbs, and many other plants, matcha and green tea are especially well-known for their high content of polyphenol derivatives, primarily flavonoids like catechins (7).
Made with leafy greens, aquatic greens, and grasses, our SmarterGreens provides many different types of antioxidants that help to support phase 1 detoxification. Plus, all of our greens are dehydrated at low temperatures to preserve maximum antioxidant content.
ONLY 1 G OF SUGAR PER SERVING
Unlike many commercial green juices which are packed with sugar, our SmarterGreens contains only 1 g of sugar per serving. Why is that important for detoxing? High blood sugar levels can contribute to excessive free radical formation and oxidative stress. Plus, a diet high in refined sugars promotes inflammation in the liver, compromising its ability to filter toxins in the body (8).
Try our SmarterBerries, made with nutrient-dense berries that are also a source of many antioxidants including polyphenols, and vitamins C and A. .
PRO TIP: ADD A SERVING OF LANDISH MARINE COLLAGEN TO YOUR SMARTERGREENS
Similar to how antioxidants can support phase 1 detoxification, specific amino acids are needed to neutralize toxins during phase 2 detox. The amino acid glycine, abundant in our Pure Canadian Hydrolyzed Marine Collagen, is particularly important in phase 2 detox, as certain substances, like aspirin, sodium benzoate (the world’s most common food additive), and salicylates (especially important for those who have a salicylate sensitivity) rely on glycine to be detoxified from the body.
Sears, K, Kerr, et al. (2012). Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.
Shaw, P, Werstuck, G, et al. (2014). Oxidative Stress and Aging Diseases
C, Romay, Gonzalez, R, et al (2003). C-phycocyanin: a biliprotein with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
Haas, E (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition.
Lessard-Rhead, B (2013). Nutritional Pathology.
Rhimes, J (2018). Guide to Nutritional Symptomatology.
Korus, A (2019). Effect of preliminary and technological treatments on the content of chlorophylls and carotenoids in kale.
King, A, Liu, C, et al (2001). Chlorophyll stability in spinach dehydrated by freeze-drying and controlled low-temperature vacuum dehydration.
Problems associated with glucose toxicity: Role of hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress.
Maggi is a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist and communications professional with a lifelong curiosity for everything health and wellness-related. As Communications Manager at Landish, she’s the "go-to" person for all health-related content and inquiries. By diving into various health topics, she hopes to empower others to tune into their wellbeing through education.