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Should You Drink Grapefruit Juice Before Working Out?

By Danielle DeSimone

Having a snack high in simple carbohydrates before you exercise can help keep your energy levels high during your workout. One cup of grapefruit juice contains 96 calories and is packed with vitamins, simple carbohydrates and phytonutrients that not only boost energy, but also offer additional benefits that can aid in athletic performance and overall health. Check with your doctor before adding grapefruit juice to your diet, as it can interact with certain medications.

Grapefruit Juice and Sports Performance

In an 8-oz. serving, grapefruit juice made from whole grapefruits contains 156% of the recommended daily allowance of the antioxidant vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system to better fight germs. It also contains smaller amounts of the antioxidants vitamins A and E. Consuming foods and drinks high in antioxidants can help counteract free radical damage caused by exercise. The B vitamins in grapefruit juice can help keep your energy levels high, while calcium and potassium, two electrolytes naturally found in grapefruits, help to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat during a workout.

Grapefruit Juice for Fat Burning

If shedding fat is your goal, drinking grapefruit juice can help you burn fat more efficiently. A 2006 study reported in the "Journal of Medicinal Food" found that subjects who ate grapefruit or drank fresh grapefruit juice three times per day before meals lost significantly more weight than the placebo group. Participants who ate whole grapefruit lost 3.5 lbs. over the course of the 12-week study, while those drinking grapefruit juice lost 3.3 lbs. The placebo group lost about 0.66 lbs. To maximize fat burning, drink a glass of grapefruit juice prior to your workout as well as an additional two times per day.

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Grapefruit Juice for Recovery

Adding another serving of grapefruit juice after your workout can aid in muscle recovery according to injury prevention expert Dr. Donald Kirkendall. The vitamin C in grapefruit juice will help your muscles heal the damage caused by exercise so that you’re ready for your next workout. Additionally, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley discovered that daily doses of Vitamin C given over the course of two months reduced the levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker of inflammation. As a postworkout beverage, grapefruit juice can help reduce muscle swelling that often results from intense exercise.

How Much to Drink

For a preworkout boost, drink 8 oz. of grapefruit juice alongside your typical meal or snack. Drink an additional 8 oz. after hard workouts to help your body recover from muscle damage. If you’re aiming to lose body fat, add a third 8-oz. serving of grapefruit juice into your day. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice is best, but store-bought juice is acceptable as long as it is made solely from grapefruits with no added sugars.

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