People make a lot of bold claims about juicing. Many of these claims are vague or unsupported. However, one thing many people who have started juicing have noticed is our bodies feel “cooler” and “less acidic.”
It’s a strange feeling many of us have troubling putting into words. Yet it’s undeniable you will feel better after juicing. Why is that? What’s really going on?
Can the body can really be “acidic” or “alkaline”?
Yes, it can. In fact, those of us who exercise strenuously (fit juicers) are more likely to put our bodies into an acidic state. See, “Dietary Acid-Base Balance in Adolescent Sprint Athletes: A Follow-up Study.”
The researches in Dietary Acid-Base Balance put the feeling of juicing into scientific terms:
Basal metabolism generates organic acids while intensive exercise can cause transient increases of the acid load. For the elimination of a proton surplus, the body has several buffering systems with a crucial role for the lungs and kidneys.
One component that influences acid-base balance in the human body is the composition of the diet. Remer and Manz found a strong relation between the composition of the diet and the urine pH, and introduced the estimated “potential renal acid load” (PRAL) of food items (expressed in milli-equivalents (mEq) H+ per 100 g).
Fruit and vegetables have a negative PRAL which means that they potentially contribute in buffering hydrogen ions. Foods with high protein and phosphorus content such as meat and cheese have a positive PRAL, and hence potentially increase hydrogen ion production.
In other words, juicing will ease the acid load on your body by lowering PRAL.
Lower PRAL = more alkaline = good.
Higher PRAL = more acidic = bad.
A more alkaline body recovers from exercise faster and just generally feels better.
(While that may be oversimplifying matters, you are welcome to go read the full story for yourself. Scroll to the bottom of this article to read the full study for free.)
Lowing your PRAL raises your performance.
Sprinting is a short burst of activity of high intensity relying primarily on alactic and lactic anaerobic energy systems and in case of repeated sprint exercise, aerobic metabolism also becomes involved. Especially during longer sprints or when rest periods between repetitions are too short to allow complete recovery, sprint athletes have to deal with high amounts of protons causing metabolic acidosis . Oral ingestion of buffering agents such as sodium bicarbonate or sodium citrate has shown to be an ergogenic aid during high intensity exercise preventing decrease of the blood pH.
Juicing lowers PRAL and thus can be properly considered an ergogenic aid.
In conclusion, despite a relatively high protein intake, the estimated mean dietary PRAL was found to be only slightly positive. As indicated by the comparison between the PRAL(−) and the PRAL(+) group, the contribution of potatoes and additional fruit juices and soup to fruit and vegetable consumption appears to be important in lowering the PRAL.
What are some alkaline juice recipes?
Any juice high in vegetable content is going to make the body more alkaline.
In other words, any of the nearly 100 free juice recipes on Fit Juice will do the job.
My preferred juices tend to rely on beets, as beet juice is a legal performance enhancing agent. (When you start juicing with beets, ease into it. Beets are potent and you must work you way up to a full beet in a juice.)
Tomato Garden Juice
- 2-3 firm tomatoes
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 carrot
- 1/4 to 1/2 of a beet.
Real V8 Juice Recipe
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 of a medium-sized beet
- 1/2 nub ginger
- 1 green apple
- 1 lemon (peeled)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 handful parsley
- 1 tomato
Carrot Beet Juice
- 5 carrots
- 1 full beet
Throw ingredients into a juicer and enjoy.
All of those juices are hydrating, alkaline, and will aid in your recovery from athletic events, training sessions, and workouts.
If you don’t have a juicer, read about the Best Juicer Under $100 and the Best Juicer.
Read more: Dietary Acid-Base Balance in Adolescent Sprint Athletes: A Follow-up Study (full study here).