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What Is a Cranberry Juice Detox?

While some cranberry juice detoxes allow no food, many will allow high fiber foods such as wheat germ.
Water is permitted on a cranberry juice detox.
A cranberry juice detox can be used to lose weight, break a drug habit, or cure a urinary tract infection.
A cranberry juice detox may be done to cleanse the colon.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
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A cranberry juice detox is any one of a series of fasting plans in which individuals consume only — or at least mostly — cranberry juice and water for a number of days in a row. It isn’t really a diet, though some people do use it for weight loss purposes; more often, though, the goal is to purify the body, to cure or prevent infection, and to restore overall health. The strictest detox plans allow participants to drink only unsweetened cranberry juice and water, though there are a number of variations that permit certain high-fiber foods and powders. People who intend to stick with the plan for more than a few days usually have to take vitamins or other supplements in order to get the basic nutrients they need. Cranberry juice is normally considered very healthful, but it isn’t usually enough to sustain a person, at least not for long.

Main Goals

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There are a number of reasons why people participate in cranberry detoxification plans, but curing urinary tract infections and ridding the body’s dependency on drugs and stimulants are two of the most common. Cranberries are a rich source of antioxidants as well as vitamins C and A, and they are generally very acidic. This gives the fruit a distinctive tart taste, but also helps it flush out harmful bacteria and buildups from the body by creating essentially hostile chemical environments. When eaten, the focus is primarily the digestive tract, the kidneys, and, ultimately, the urinary tract. Eating raw cranberries can be somewhat unpalatable, which is why many people turn to juice.

People usually participate with a particular goal. Sometimes this goal is very specific, like curing an infection or preventing a condition like chronic kidney stones, but it is sometimes also undertaken simply as a way to maintain good health and optimal digestion. People who are trying to wean themselves off of stimulants like caffeine or tobacco or who are trying to give up drug addictions sometimes try this as part of a holistic healing plan. Benefits extend beyond basic detox, too; participants often remark that the restriction makes them calmer and improves their mental focus and outlook, and many also report clearer skin and better sleep.

Primary Parameters

The most traditional cranberry juice detox forbids the consumption of all food, as well as sugar additives in the juice. People are generally permitted only unsweetened juice, water, and certain vitamins and capsule-based supplements so long as they contain no or only very few calories. Detoxes usually last anywhere from three to 10 days; less than three and there isn’t often sufficient time to flush toxins out, but more than 10 and people sometimes begin experiencing adverse effects from such limited exposure to nutrients.

Variations

Not all regimens are so strict. Some permit limited quantities of low-calorie foods as long as salt, sugar, saturated fat, and excess carbohydrates are excluded. It may also be possible to combine the juice with other natural digestive cleansers, particularly the fiber found in wheat germ, flax, and psyllium husk. Adding these sorts of nutrients can help people feel full, which can make the detox less of an exercise of will, and they can also make it safe to stretch beyond 10 days, often taking it up to several weeks.

Red meat, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol are generally avoided in any version of a cranberry juice body cleansing ritual. Some people believe that red meat makes the digestive system sluggish, while caffeine and alcohol frequently add agitation and interference with digestion. These substances are also antithetical to the principles of the cranberry juice detox, which generally celebrates the lack of stimulants and embraces a calmer mind.

Why it Works

The chemistry of the cranberry is believed by many nutritional experts to be ideally suited for cleansing the colon, liver, lymphatic system, and kidneys. It has been a part of drug detox programs for years because it soothes the anxiety of abstaining from drugs while reportedly helping to distill narcotics from the body’s systems. The juice is touted with killing bacteria associated with urinary tract infections because it contains high levels of vitamin C, which creates an acidic environment where the offending bacteria cannot live.

Restricting the body to only cranberry juice — or even just mostly cranberry juice — is also believed to concentrate its effects. People often get some good results just by incorporating the juice into their ordinary diet, but when it’s basically the only thing being consumed it typically works faster and more completely. Depriving the body of other nutrients, the theory goes, will force the body to draw more from the juice, which can amplify its potency.

Important Risks

Medical professionals often warn people against doing extensive detox diets, whether cranberry or otherwise, since juice alone cannot provide the balanced diet people need for optimal health. It’s often a good idea for people to take vitamins and supplements along the way, and anyone who begins feeling faint, dizzy, or light-headed on the plan should usually stop and eat something substantive. The benefits are usually lost or at least outweighed when extraordinary hunger sets in.

It’s also generally smart for participants to reintroduce substantive food slowly so as not to shock the body. Experts usually recommend that detoxes end with a period of phasing in light, healthy foods in the final days so that the digestive system can begin re-acclimating. Jumping right in with a full meal after fasting can often cause a person to become sick.

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Discuss this Article

anon313823
Post 9

Detoxing is great for the body but drinking just cranberry juice is not the best way to go about this. I tried a detox program at Juice Crafters in LA and they provide an all around healthy juice cleanse program that is full of different vitamins and minerals. I felt so healthy after completing the cleanse. It was really worth doing and would recommend it to anyone!

sunshined
Post 8

Has anybody tried a cranberry juice detox to lose weight? I wouldn't be opposed to trying this as I have been interested in doing a cleanse. Not only do I want to lose a few pounds but would also like to receive some of the benefits I hear about when people do a detox. If I could do this and lose 7 pounds in 10 days I would be very happy.

myharley
Post 7

I also get frequent urinary tract infections and my doctor recommended I try taking a cranberry supplement. She said this was like drinking a lot of cranberry juice but the supplement was much more concentrated. Since I am not crazy about the taste of cranberry juice I started doing this.

I know this isn't the same as getting the benefits from a detox but I was more interested in just preventing the infections. I have never tried a detox and am afraid how my body would react. I get terrible headaches if I go for very long without any food and don't know if I could handle only drinking cranberry juice and water for several days.

Mykol
Post 6

I was at the end of my rope because I kept getting urinary tract infections. I was so tired of the miserable symptoms and running to my doctor to get an antibiotic. It also seemed like the antibiotics quit working after awhile and I was desperate to find something to prevent getting another infection.

A friend suggested I try a body cleansing detox using cranberry juice and I figured I had nothing to lose. Ever since I started doing this I have not had another urinary tract infection and this is the only thing I have done different.

I try to do a detox once every few months to keep my body cleansed of toxins, and as long as it keeps working for me, I will use the cranberry juice to do it.

andee
Post 5
I don't even care for cranberry juice that is sweetened, so don't know how I would be able to tolerate days of drinking only unsweetened cranberry juice. If I wanted to try a detox cleansing diet I would have to find another way to go about doing it.
Kristee
Post 4

I wouldn't be afraid to try this healthy detox. I am wary of those that involve prepackaged shakes or powders, but something as natural as cranberry juice could do just fine.

I have never tried the actual detox, but I have been able to clear up a urinary tract infection with cranberry juice before. I just drank two glasses of it a day when I started having symptoms, and I also drank plenty of water.

The acid in cranberry juice keeps the bacteria from clinging to your urinary tract. Drinking a little extra water flushes the bacteria out.

I also took a couple of cranberry extract supplements during this time until the symptoms subsided. Even though I was ingesting solid food as I normally do, the extra water and cranberry juice acted as medicine and flushed the bacteria out of my system.

kylee07drg
Post 3

This is a great kidney detox. My friend uses it to prevent kidney stones, which she is prone to developing. She has spent time in a hospital because of the pain and the size of the stones, so every now and then, she does a cranberry juice detox to prevent more from forming.

shell4life
Post 2

@wavy58 – Some people dilute the cranberry juice with water. In fact, my friend's cranberry juice detox recipe calls for twelve ounces of water and only three ounces of pure cranberry juice, so this makes the flavor a lot more bearable.

She also adds fiber and fruit pectin to the water. There are some supplements that she takes, too, so she is getting all the nutrients she needs during this time of avoiding meat and dairy products.

I really don't know if I could do it, though. I'm so attached to my yogurt and steak that I would have a hard time going without them for so long.

wavy58
Post 1

This sounds like a great way to detox and cleanse your body. However, I've never tried cranberry juice with no sugar added. Is it enjoyable at all, or does the extreme tartness pucker your tongue?

If it were something that I could get used to and learn to love the flavor of, I could do this. However, if drinking cranberry juice with no sugar is going to be as bad as taking bad tasting medicine, I don't think I could bear it for several days in a row.

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