Do Detox Drinks Work? Precautions, Benefits & 11 Best Drinks

Do-Detox-Drinks-Work

While the days of one-and-done “miracle” juice cleanses seem to be (thankfully) behind us, the rise of detox drinks have people wondering: a real health tool, or another passing fad? The answer: a little bit of both. No, activated charcoal won’t magically clear your body of all its harmful toxins.

But bottom line, a hydrating beverage with beneficial ingredients can absolutely be a helpful tool in aiding your body’s existing detox pathways.

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Can Drinks Actually Detox Your Body?

Our body’s existing systems and organs are responsible for getting rid of toxins in the body. Our livers and kidneys do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to filtering out toxic components to the food we eat and air we breathe.

Our lymphatic and digestive systems help move waste along in our body to ultimately get rid of via digestion, breathing, and urination. If your body is well-supported and functioning optimally, these systems are really all you’re going to need in order to “detox”.

But as we know, our bodies are rarely fully supported and functioning 100% optimally, so the more we can do to support these systems, the better. That’s where the benefits of detox drinks come in. When we choose hydrating (water-heavy) drinks that are low on sugar and high on beneficial ingredients, we are giving our body the ingredients it needs to detox effectively. 

Also, they're a fantastic substitute for unhealthy drinks like energy drinks, soda, fruit juices, and the like.

11 Best Detox Drinks to Try at Home

The following are some of my favorite health-supportive beverages to work into my daily routines. And don’t worry if something on here is unappealing--these aren’t strict prescriptions. There’s plenty of mixing and matching that you can use to fit your lifestyle, preferences, and tastes. 

1. Water

This may sound boring, but it bears repeating. Many people are chronically dehydrated on a daily basis and don’t know why they’re not feeling their best. Plain old water is the first step to supporting your body’s natural detox pathways. If you’re not properly hydrated, any fancier “detox drinks” are unlikely to give you the results you’re looking for. 

2. Spa Water

Fancy water, no actual spa required. What the internet has coined “spa water,” really just refers to zhu j'd up regular H20. In classic spa fashion, cucumbers are often the zhuh’ers in questions, but berries, citrus, mint, ginger, and sprinkle of sea salt (hello electrolytes!) are also excellent flavor enhancers. The real benefit here is adding variety to your daily hydration, which may make you more likely to enjoy more water, leading you to hit daily hydration requirements. If spa water helps you drink more water, it’s absolutely helping you detox.

3. Warm Lemon Water

A warm drink, especially in the morning, can help stimulate digestion and speed up digestion. This is an important detox pathway that many people struggle with. Plus, a warm drink in the morning can be enticing to people who know they should be hydrating first after waking up, but used to a hot cup of coffee. Swapping a first-thing caffeine jolt for a warm cup of lemon water will not only help your body rehydrate after a night’s sleep, it may also help move things along -- both of which will help your detox pathways get off to a great start first thing in the morning.

4. Dandelion Tea

On the subject of warm beverages, dandelion tea can be an excellent addition to your routine--morning or night. Dandelion is known to help speed up digestion and support liver health, both of which are essential to daily body detoxification processes. 

5. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is another detox-supportive tea that is especially popular as a bedtime wind-down drink. Its calming effects can help you relax for better quality sleep, which will support all of your body’s systems the following day. Plus, it can ease digestive stress which in some cases can have dehydrating effects on the body.

6. Lemon Verbena Tea

A popular ingredient in many tea blends and herbal mixes, lemon verbena is another stress-combating, digestion-supporting superplant. Like peppermint tea, lemon verbena can help support the body’s natural detox pathways by helping soothe digestive stress and promote relaxation and high-quality sleep.

7. Green Juice

While it’s not the cure-all that some would have you believe, green juice can be an incredibly powerful way to get a bunch of inflammation-reducing vitamins and minerals in your daily or weekly routine. Whether it’s from fresh greens or a powder, a well-formulated green juice that is low in sugar and high in organic superfoods like kale, cucumber, spinach, ginger, lemon, and herbs is a quick and easy way to get a bunch of nutrients in with just a single glass of refreshing goodness. If your body is lacking in any of these vitamins, minerals, or anti-oxidants (and let’s face it, most of the time it is lacking at least a little bit), a green juice might be just the pick-me-up it needs to support all the body’s vital detox pathways.

8. Smoothies

Smoothies can be tricky. On one hand, they’re often sugar-filled and overly fruit-focused which can cause a lot more damage than good. However, if you’re drinking smoothies with a well-balanced ratio of protein, fats, carbs, and most importantly---fiber, then they can be an incredibly efficient way to get a lot of yummy goodness into your body in a delicious and convenient way. To make sure you’re getting all the detox benefits, make sure to follow a vetted recipe that checks all the boxes.

9. Bone broth

Bone broth offers a ton of fantastic benefits, including its support of gut health and digestive rest. For anyone who may not be digesting or detoxing properly on their own, bone broth may be able to address and alleviate these key gut issues that are getting in the way.

10 Kefir

Boasting even more beneficial probiotics than yogurt, kefir is a delicious beverage to add to your detox-promoting arsenal. With anti-inflammatory and gut health-promoting components and properties, drinking kefir regularly will help set your body and digestive detox system up for success. 

11. Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider vinegar is truly an incredible superfood. It helps the body in a myriad of ways, including supporting gut health and helping balance blood sugar. (2) When these systems are in check, your body is able to detox optimally and help you feel your best. Plus, I always advocate for adding apple cider vinegar to a daily routine because it helps the body in so many different ways. Just make sure to dilute it properly in still or sparkling water before drinking.  

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FAQs

While drinking or eating any one things cannot alter your body’s pH, your overall diet over time can ultimately affect your body’s pH. Regular inclusion of health-promoting foods and beverages can help your body maintain an optimal, natural pH.

Apple cider vinegar is clinically proven to help regular blood glucose levels, which can be supportive in maintaining optimal insulin levels, supporting satiety, and helping with overall weight management.

Adequate hydration is a cornerstone of healthy weight loss. And because the ritual of adding lemon to water and the often-preferred flavor of lemon water helps people stay sufficiently hydrated, lemon water can absolutely aid weight loss in this way.

That depends on your goals, needs, and tastes! The best way to build your ideal routine (detox drinks included) is understanding where your health baseline is starting from and where you want to go. If you’re interested in getting started with a functional health assessment, our team can do just that.

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  1. WebMD Editorial Staff. “Dandelion Tea: Is It Good for You?” WebMD, 16 July 2023, https://www.webmd.com/diet/dandelion-tea-is-it-good-for-you. Accessed 5 June 2024.
  2. Jafarirad S, Elahi MR, Mansoori A, Khanzadeh A, Haghighizadeh MH. The improvement effect of apple cider vinegar as a functional food on anthropometric indices, blood glucose and lipid profile in diabetic patients: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Front Clin Diabetes Healthc. 2023 Nov 13;4:1288786. doi: 10.3389/fcdhc.2023.1288786. PMID: 38028980; PMCID: PMC10679383.

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BY DR. WILL COLE

Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, and Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

Gut Feelings Dr. Will Cole 6

Gut Feelings

Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
Between What You Eat And How You Feel