Juice recipes probably aren’t top of your cravings list. But hear us out.
When former New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira was persuaded to juice it up on an off-season healthy-eating regimen, he shed 15 pounds. So convinced was he of juicing’s superpowers, he invested some greenbacks into the Juice Press company.
Likewise, Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Josh Hamilton showed up 20 pounds slimmer—crediting a Juice Lady infomercial for getting him to crank the greens like Popeye slurps spinach. What exactly has these athletes storming to the juice bar?
It’s chock-full of essential nutrients, fresh juice is an easy, natural way to rapidly infuse your body with potent vitamins and minerals. “Juice is already broken down into easily digestible form,” says Cherie Calbom, CN, nutritionist and author of The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices. “It gets into the system within about 20 minutes to revitalize energy levels and repair the body.”
So here, Calbom shares her top five replenishing, nutrient-packed juice recipes with you, the athlete, in mind.
5 Juice Recipes to Boost Health and Recovery
1. Beet It
Beetroot juice has become a secret-weapon-of-choice among athletes seeking natural performance enhancement. In one University of Exeter study, nine club-level cyclists finished three percent faster in 2.5- and 10-mile trials when they imbibed a half-liter (about four eight-ounce glasses) of beetroot juice pre-race compared to when they rode beetless. The juice contained about three to five beets and was taken three hours before the trial, said study author Professor Andrew Jones, PhD, Head of Sport and Health Science at University of Exeter. Drinking the beetroot juice led to higher power output for the same level of effort exerted, found researchers, suggesting the juice led to more efficient muscle and cardio performance. Regular consumption is believed to be more beneficial than chugging on race day, say researchers, and the purple stuff seems to improve short, rigorous spurts of exercise better than it dose longer, lower-intensity workouts. The nitrate in beets widens blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure and ushering more oxygen-rich blood to the muscles.
Make It: Juice 3 carrots; 2 kale leaves; 1 beet with green leaves; 1-inch-chunk ginger root; 1organic lemon with skin; and 1 clove garlic.
2. Magnesium Marvel
Most men in the U.S. do not get the 400 mg of magnesium that’s recommended daily—yet the mineral is charged with activating key enzymes and massively contributing to energy production (who couldn’t use more of that?). Plus magnesium keeps muscle and nerve function strong, steadying heart rhythm, maintaining bone health and boosting the immune system. And according to the Linus Pauling Institute, magnesium is also required for several steps during protein synthesis. Want to pack in more of the mineral and reap these benefits? This juice recipe makes the most of green leafy veggies, which are rich sources.
Make It: Juice 1 handful of parsley (tip: wrap in green leaves before pushing through juicer slowly); 3-4 leaves of chard or collards; 3-4 carrots, scrubbed well with tops removed and ends trimmed; 2 ribs celery with leaves; ½ small beet with leaves; and 1 organic lemon with skin.
3. Electrolyte Elixir
Instead of grabbing a sports drink out of the cooler after your next heavy sweat session, try whipping up a glass or two or Calbom’s antioxidant-packed natural electrolyte replacement juice, which is rich in vitamin C, minerals and powerhouse plant chemicals such as bioflavonoids.
Make It: Juice 1 peeled orange; 2 kale, chard, or collard leaves; 1 apple; 1 organic lemon, with skin; 1 organic lime, with skin. Stir in ½ tsp ascorbic acid (Vitamin C powder) and ¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt. (Note: Serves two.)
4. Recovery Booster
Another natural antidote that might spur the body’s recovery after brutally intense workouts is tart cherry juice, which research has found to reduce symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage. (Worth noting: in many such studies, participants took down about two 12-ounce glasses of tart cherry juice daily.) Made with sour Montmorency cherries, tart cherry juice just doesn’t taste so palatable by itself, but pairing it with sweeter apple or pear juice makes it go down more smoothly.
Make It: Juice 1 green apple; 1/2 cup strawberries; 1/2 pound organic tart cherries, pits removed; 2 ribs celery; 1/2 cucumber, peeled if not organic; 1/2 lemon, peeled if not organic.
5. The Revitalizer
Coconut water, as you know, is rich in electrolytes—but tomato juice has also recently gotten some attention as a natural sports drink, thanks to a new study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. After vigorous workouts, researchers found that those drinking tomato juice (rich in the antioxidant lycopene) experienced faster muscle recovery and blood-sugar-stabilization than those who drank a fizzy energy drink. Try the post-gym recipe below, and for an extra boost, add cucumber. It’s not only especially hydrating after a depleting workout, but it’s also cheap to buy organic, says Calbom.
Make It: Juice 1 cup carrot juice (about 6 medium carrots); juice from 1 lemon; 1 tomato, cut into chunks and frozen; 1 large handful of cilantro; ½ cup coconut water.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!