Despite all of their proven health benefits, juices still teeter dangerously on the precipice of the unknown for many of us. For instance, you might be an avid juicer, but still not getting the optimal benefits from juicing. Is it best to drink your juice with a meal or before a meal? After or before you exercise? Or on an empty stomach?
It all starts to get confusing when it comes to the best time to drink juice. When you eat (or in this case, drink), otherwise known as meal timing, can be as important as what you eat or drink.
This is a widely accepted fact, but I’ll go on to explain why. For one, the nutrients in juices are quickly absorbed when you drink juice on an empty stomach in the morning. If you enjoy your juice with a meal, this process takes longer and some nutrients may not be fully absorbed.
If you’re a coffee drinker, make sure you drink your juice at least an hour before or after your coffee, as the acidity of the coffee will cancel out the juice's alkalizing effects. Ideally, you should try replace coffee entirely with fresh juice, which can be equally energizing.
Generally speaking, it’s best to drink fruit juices in the first half of the day, as it provides the complex carbohydrates that give you energy. Foods with complex carbohydrates convert glucose into energy slowly, giving you a consistent energy supply throughout your day. For the latter half of the day, drink your green vegetable juices or mixed fruit and vegetable juices.
Of course, the benefits of juicing apply no matter what time of day you drink a juice. But morning is the best time for maximum benefit.
Fruit digests in your body really quickly. If you combine fruit juice with a heavy meal, what happens is that they digest at different times. This can cause acid reflux or indigestion. However, fruit and vegetables generally work well together. So if you do prefer to have a juice with a meal, pair it with a green vegetable salad or simple raw vegetable dish. This provides the most alkalizing effect.
There is a common myth out there that you shouldn’t eat before working out. This stems from the belief that your body will tap into its fat reserves if there is no available food to burn first, and in doing so, you’ll lose weight faster and burn more calories.
However, your body needs fuel to provide energy for your workout, whether you’re doing a cardio workout or lifting weights. Juicing can be a quick and easy way to get the energy-boosting fuel that your body needs for an effective workout. It also provides you with nutrients to maintain your stamina and endurance.
Of course a post-workout drink can be as important as the pre-workout one. After exercise, you have depleted your levels of electrolytes and glycogen or sugar stores and these need to be replaced. Most athletes reach for a sports drink or fill up on fatty foods, but the best choice is a glass of freshly squeezed juice.
Not only will it provide you with immediate energy, but it will replenish the nutrients lost during strenuous activity so it's on the list of the best time to drink juice. Juices also contain carbohydrates, electrolytes and amino acids, which help your muscles recover after a workout.