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A juice cleanse is a great way to prepare for Chinese New Year feasting, but you need to do it right

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Still feeling bloated after the Christmas and New Year feasting and still have many Chinese New Year meals on the horizon?

A short-term juice cleanse is a good way to jump-start more wholesome eating habits.

Plus, it is a great way to reduce bloat, shift those extra kilos and give your digestive system a break from rich, heavy, and highly-processed foods.

Technically, there is no real need to "cleanse" your system because the body is naturally designed to rid itself of toxins.

But sometimes, just going one to three days without solid food can make you feel "cleaner" and "fresher" and leave you a couple of kilograms lighter.

But juice cleanses can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

If you drink too much of the wrong kind of juice or if you don't drink enough, you may end up feeling light-headed, weak and hungry.

Just because you are sipping on juice throughout the day does not mean you should cut back on the H2O. 

So before you begin a juice cleanse, you should find out how to go about one in order to reap its benefits.

These tips will help get you on the right track.

Some fruits and vegetables that are good for juicing. PHOTO: AFP

Start your cleanse during downtime

You will not be lethargic during a juice cleanse, but you probably will not have the same kind of energy as when you were eating normally.

This is why it is important not to schedule your cleanse when you have many social events planned or when you are particularly stressed.

Instead, do it over a long weekend - you can spend this time resting and doing relaxing activities that will allow you to complete your cleanse with ease.

Drink only 100 per cent juice

Ready-made juices are convenient, but most of them contain sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavours and colours, which defeats the purpose of doing a cleanse in the first place.

You are better off making your own juice at home - all you need is a reliable juicer.

Do not add sugar, honey or milk to your concoctions, but if you find the taste too strong, you may dilute it with water.

The fresher the juice the 
better.

If you make a big batch and drink it over the course of the day, the juice may lose its flavour and nutrients or change colour due to oxidisation.

You may not always be able to make your juice when you need it, so the next best thing will be to fill and chill individual bottles.

The type of fruit and vegetable you juice is important

Variety is key to pulling off a successful juice cleanse.

If you stick to only one kind of fruit or vegetable, you may get bored and end up going off your cleanse.

Feel free to mix up your produce for a delicious juice blend.

The best ones for juicing are kale, pineapple, watermelon, celery, carrot, apple, cabbage and cucumber. You may want to read up on the nutritional benefits of each fruit and veggie and experiment with different combinations before deciding on the best one for you.

As most fruit juices contain a lot of sugar, avoid drinking too much of them.

Also, some fruit and vegetable juices can have unpleasant or risky side effects if consumed in excess - oranges can cause diarrhoea, while beets can cause gout and contribute to kidney stones.

Chew your juice

Yes, you read that right. Do not just gulp it down.

Swirling it around in your mouth helps it mix with your saliva, which contains enzymes to help kick off the digestion process. Chewing also allows you to savour your juice for longer and appreciate its flavour.

Don't skimp on water

Just because you are sipping on juice throughout the day does not mean you should cut back on the H2O.

Water is still important, so make it a point to consume six to eight glasses a day, on top of your juice. This will help keep your digestive system running smoothly and prevent dehydration.

You are also advised to avoid coffee, tea, diet soft drinks and alcohol (which are all dehydrating) while on a juice cleanse.

Get your doctor's clearance

A short-term juice cleanse is generally not harmful.

Still, before embarking on one, it is wise to get clearance from your doctor.

This is especially important if you are sick, have a medical condition such as diabetes, are on medication (some drugs may cause a reaction when taken with certain juices), or are recovering from an illness (you may need other nutrients not found in juice, such as protein and fat).

If you are pregnant, you should not be attempting a juice cleanse at all. If you are not sure whether a juice cleanse is right for you, your doctor will be able to give you the right advice.

This article is adapted from Her World Plus.

www.herworldplus.com

 

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