Forget about green juice; the latest brew to transfix the health set is activated charcoal. You read correctly. Charcoal. Luckily, the inky black stuff making its way into elixirs and juices isn’t the same charcoal you use for your backyard BBQ and you won’t taste or smell any of the flavors you’d typically associate with charcoal. The activated charcoal in question is made from insoluble carbonized wood and is then oxidized by steam or air at high temperatures.
Leading the way in this new trend are L.A.-based Juices Served Here via its Charcoal Lemonade and Juice Generation, which will be launching three charcoal juices next month: Activated Lemonade for glowing skin, Activated Greens for anti-aging and Activated Proteins to help whiten teeth and mitigate bad breath. Before you gag at the thought of drinking black goo, the juices also contain lemons, spinach, kale, parsley, celery and apples, and are designed to be as easy to drink as your regular juice blend. Both Juice Generation and Juices Served Here recommend them for daily consumption.
“For years, I have scoured the globe seeking exotic superfruits to bring to my customers at Juice Generation,” says founder Eric Helms. “While leafy greens and antioxidant-rich fruits are the core of my menu—I’m really excited to bring activated charcoal and clay to our stores. I actually looked to the beauty industry for inspiration. It seems like a natural fit as both activated charcoal and clay promote inner/outer beauty—and both are fantastic detoxifiers.”
“It’s actually one of the world’s oldest detoxifying remedies and while it may sound and look a little intimidating, don’t be thrown off by its black color,” adds Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Raw Foods Chef and Vega Educator Bridgette Leeson. “When consumed, activated charcoal can help assist in elimination of toxins from the body by binding to them [a process known as adsorption] as they pass through your system. Charcoal can adsorb thousands of times its own weight in toxins, bacteria, chemicals and unwanted medications. Proper elimination of toxins can benefit your overall well-being and may help to show an improvement in the appearance of your hair, skin and nails.”
While that all sounds well and good, natural food chef, superfood expert and best-selling author Julie Morris offers a note of caution. “Charcoal can be ineffective at best and for those that don’t have high levels of impurities, it won’t soak up the effects of an extra doughnut or night out drinking. At worst, it can interfere with other medications, eliminating them as well as trapping vitamins and minerals, too.”
Meaning, like most wellness fads, it’s best to check with your doctor before diving in full throttle.