First, let's unpack the word detox. Both historically and in current wellness speak, it relates to the banishment of harmful substances within the body—the former usually pertaining to drugs, alcohol, and, you know, ancient sicknesses like the bubonic plague, and the latter involving many of the wellness world's other current "evils" such as sugar, dairy, gluten, and the like. Ate a cookie? We're told we need a detox. Looked at a cookie? Detox. Thought about eating a cookie? Detox.
Sarcasm aside, we're hardly saying there isn't legitimacy to avoiding certain food groups if they truly don't agree with you, but we've also grown weary of the word detox (or "detox drinks") and its quick-fix connotation. Because essentially, nothing we consume (regardless of whether or not it's labeled or marketed as "detoxifying") can do the biological work our bodies are physiologically hardwired to perform. Just like a fresh-cut piece of bread or a drippy ice cream cone (again, unless you have an actual intolerance or allergy) wouldn't biologically warrant said detox.
Our bodies are amazing, and as Robyn Nohling, RD, NP, often reminds us, they're dynamic and designed to metabolize pretty much everything we throw at them—late-night cheese fries and all—without batting an eye. (In fact, we probably expend much more time and energy obsessing over what we ingest mentally than our body does physically—just some food for thought.)
Our bodies naturally detoxify themselves. In fact, it's precisely what our livers, kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin are all designed to do—their life's destiny, if you will. And while certain food, herbs, spices, and other such substances can surely lend a hand, speed things up, or at least not make matters worse, there's a deficit of conclusive studies proving there's some majestic ingredient or elixir with the power to undo that margarita tirade from last Friday night. Sad, but true.
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Plus, by now we know there is no such thing as a "quick fix" within the wellness world, and anything which does yield fast results (ahem, juice cleanses crash diets, etc.) is likely either A) dangerous, B) positively fleeting, or C) an unappealing combination of the two. But back to the actual point of this article (and why you thought you were coming here): simple detox drinks. No, nothing is going to stave off illness or diseases forever or totally prevent/cure a nasty hangover, but supplementing your beverage wardrobe with certain formulas might at least make the above less painful or probable in the first place. So let's unpack and repack the word detox. And instead of thinking of it as something that will magically dig you out of some kind of hole, let's just think of it as something to simply help you feel like a healthier and happier version of yourself. From soothing teas to fizzy tablets your water bottle will love, keep reading for 10 simple detox drinks to make your body feel better.
Remember what we said about your kidneys and liver being legitimate and biological detoxifiers? Well, this tea combines herbs like burdock and organic dandelion, which (holistically speaking) are believed to help support the liver, and juniper berry to encourage healthy kidney function.
By now we know almost anything green (especially if it's leafy, cruciferous, or resembles some time of algae or grass) typically equates to "good" when it comes to what we ingest. Strategically infused with a stellar mix of immune-assisting ingredients like wheatgrass, barley, alfalfa, spirulina, chlorella, and more, these fizzy lemon-flavored tablets are an easy-to-stomach option if you're feeling worse for the wear from a hangover or cold. Why? The green color signifies the presence of chlorophyll, which may bind to impurities, thus helping to escort them out of your body.
Activated charcoal has long been hailed as a powerful detoxifier thanks to its magnetic-esque abilities to draw away impurities and other toxic substances during medical use. However, the debate still runs hot whether or not drinking charcoal will actually have much impact on the body's toxicity levels. Regardless, Dirty Lemon's cult-favorite simple detox drink tastes great and isn't loaded with sugar, which makes it a great option if you'd like to believe the research that falls in favor of charcoal.
Four Sigmatic's Mushroom Lemonade Mix contains charcoal and Chaga, a mushroom that helps support immune function. It's recommended to mix this into water and drink first thing in the morning, one to two hours before breakfast.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Known for its powerful health benefits (especially when paired with another fierce microbial agent like honey) apple cider vinegar is thought to be a legitimate detoxifier in the sense that it might be able to prevent sickness and infection. Again, nothing is conclusive, but sipping it probably won't hurt you (unless you have a super-sensitive stomach).
Apparently, many celebrities detox by subbing their ho-hum water for a trace mineral–infused version. According to VivaMayr, the world-famous Austrian detox center, trace minerals could provide many helpful benefits to the body, might be able to draw out impurities as they pass through your digestive system and could even help stave off certain diseases like cancer.
According to research, a dose of turmeric a day just might keep the doctor away. A powerful antioxidant and possible liver helper, it's a key ingredient in this delicious tonic from Further Food, which can easily be whipped into a simple detox-esque drink if you're feeling like your body needs a boost. Plus, alongside turmeric, it also features Schisandra berry, Boswellia, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, and cardamom.
To lend your body a helping hand with its repair process as you sleep, try a palatable elixir like this one from Avon's wellness brand Espira. All you'll have to do is mix one of the handy packets with water, sip up, and let your body soak up the formula's helpful hit of antioxidants and collagen.
If you've ever had a horrible hangover, listen up. Infused with DHM (aka dihydromyricetin—a powerful flavonoid), which the brand extracts from Hovenia dulcis (aka a Japanese raisin tree), this drink just might help you wake up on the better side of the bed post–night out.
Here's the reasoning: According to traditional Japanese, Chinese, and Korean medicine, the ingredient is considered a "hepatoprotective" (read: liver-protecting) herb and is thought to help break down the toxins released from alcohol. All you have to do is drink a full bottle the night of your scheduled festivities, and you just might reap the less-hungover benefit the following morning.
Known for its powerful anti-inflammatory impact, and yes, "detoxing" benefits, a dose of green tea (in the form of a more palatable—and collagen-infused—matcha latte) could help counter potential inflammation caused by alcohol or daily stressors. And if you're prone to jitters, it's a somewhat cleaner way to start your day in comparison to a huge cup of coffee. (Take it from someone who's tried it.)
Sakara is known and loved for its nighttime detox waters, which boast key ingredients like chlorophyll, magnesium, and over 72 trace minerals. (Remember what we said about those earlier?) And now, the brand has made it easy for you to make a simple detox drink concoction of your own—anytime, anywhere—thanks to these handy detox concentrates. Simply mix five to six full droppers (not just drops) with eight ounces of spring water, drink up, and head to sleep.
Here's the thinking: Chlorophyll may help bind to toxins (thus aiding in their elimination from the body), while magnesium and trace minerals may help decrease stress, digestion distress, and toxin buildup while balancing the body's pH and hydration levels.
This post was published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Sarah Yang.