There are a large variety of sports drinks and recovery drinks available on the market today. They may have their attributes, but none of them are custom made for you. Juicing and making smoothies allows you to make a personalized drink that will be most effective for your body and tastes.
To be clear, when we refer to juice, we are not talking about the OJ your parents put on the table for breakfast. And this is certainly more complex than choosing a sports drink based on which is your favorite color.
Juicing is touted for its ability to help you get your daily fruit and vegetable requirements. The average person doesn’t even come close to the daily recommendations in these areas. In fact, according to a 2017 Centers for Disease Control study, only 1 in 10 adults eats enough fruits and vegetables. (See “Resources”, page 2.) Federal guidelines suggest that adults eat at least 1 1⁄2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day.
Consuming fruits and vegetables in the appropriate amounts can help prevent disease and can help athletes recover more quickly from injuries. It is generally advised to eat daily fruits and vegetables rather than drink them, but in reality most people will not accomplish that.
Both juicing and making smoothies can compress our daily dosage of healthy fruits and vegetables into one or two easy-to-consume snacks so we don’t have to eat mounds of food.
Athletes can use juicing and smoothies daily to help them blend together ingredients, in addition to fruits and vegetables, that will help them recover faster. If the perfect sports drink existed, it would have minerals, vitamins, electrolytes, carbohydrates and even natural anti-inflammatory ingredients to aid in recovery. This drink wouldn’t include artificial coloring or flavoring. Something like this is likely not available in your local grocery store, so that’s why you should consider making your own personal sports drink.
Here are some pointers for picking out the most effective ingredients. Follow these steps to get the most recovery power out of your juice or smoothies without sacrificing taste.
USE LOWER SUGAR FRUIT
Whether you realize it or not, fruit can be loaded with sugar. Yes, it is considered natural sugar, but it still counts. In an athlete, sugar is often burned off to help supply energy, but this is not a reliable source of energy.
Picking fruits that are low in sugar can ensure that you have plenty of good tasting juice without solely relying on sugar as an energy source. Some fruits that are relatively low in sugar are lemons, limes, oranges, raspberries, blackberries, kiwis, watermelon, guava, cantaloupe and peaches.
Start with these fruits before adding any other fruits that may be higher in sugar. High-sugar fruits that should be avoided if possible include grapes, over-ripe bananas, mangoes, figs, and pomegranates. These fruits are nature’s equivalent to candy.
DON’T FORGET VEGETABLES
People often associate juicing with fruit juice, but vegetables are an ingredient you should really include in your juice or smoothie routine. Juice is a great way to get your recommended daily fruit, but let’s be honest, getting your veggies can be even more difficult.
Green leafy vegetables are a great source of nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The massive quantity that juicing helps you consume is something that should be taken advantage of, particularly when many people may not like to eat very many leafy green vegetables in solid form. Adding fruit can mask the taste and texture.
PHOTOS: Clean Juice