Feeling in the dark about the latest health trend? We shed light on this mysterious black liquid and the benefits of activated charcoal…
Russell Bateman - the supermodel trainer of choice - last week posted to his 50k Instagram following an upcoming collaboration with Raw Press juices. The SBC juice of choice? A coconut water and charcoal concoction. And last Wednesday when GTG’s resident nutritionist Amelia Freer launched her first book Eat, Nourish, Glow, what flavour juice did she serve? Yes, you guessed it: charcoal.
Using charcoal for its health properties is not a new concept; people have been using charcoal for thousands of years for its detoxifying qualities. The science behind its power is that charcoal chemically binds other substances to its surface and can absorb thousands of times its own weight.
Its incredibly large surface area means that it can absorb toxins and it has been used over centuries to cure a wide range of health issues, from counteracting poisons to whitening teeth and treating skin conditions. Once reserved for the dusty back aisles of health food stores, the humble charcoal tablet has had a glamorous rebrand and juices containing the dark stuff have been spotted lining fridges in the likes of Bond Street’s Fenwicks and Soho’s The Juice Well.
So why should we be drinking it? Christophe Reissfelder - a professional chef turned health food expert who founded one of the first cold pressed juice companies to pioneer charcoal drinks, Botanic Lab - commented: “Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent material with millions of tiny pores that can capture, bind, and remove up to 100 times the charcoal’s weight in toxins.” Reissfelder confirms that: “Regular use of activated charcoal is easy on the colon and can remove unwanted toxins from your body, leaving you feeling renewed and more vibrant, often in minutes.”
Jenna Zoe - nutritionist and GTG expert - has also given charcoal her stamp of approval. Jenna comments: “Many people are now using charcoal to help clean their systems from the pitfalls of a modern lifestyle, no matter how healthy their diets already are. We're all exposed to things like pollution, inner stress, beauty products and household cleaning products, so it never hurts to give our bodies a helping hand.”
The science seems convincing, but how easy is the drink to stomach? We tried both Botanic Lab and Raw Press’ offerings and were pleasantly surprised. Once you get over the odd colour - there's something slightly unnatural about drinking a black liquid - the drink is really tasty without any hint of a charcoal flavour. Botanic Lab's Charcoal drink could be described as a sweet still lemonade, and the Raw Press SBC Elixir is akin to a hardcore coconut water.
Our verdict? Black may well be the new green.
Where to get your charcoal fix: