If you get 20 health gurus and workout instructors in a room and ask them what you should drink before and after a workout, you'll get 25 answers. There are so many different products, different options, and different concerns that it's impossible to pick any one option as "the best" for everyone.
The truth is, everyone has a different body, and so everyone responds to different supplements, pre-workout shakes, and post-workout recovery drinks in different ways. So, if you've tried the FAT IMMOLATOR 9000 and the MEGA WORKOUT ULTRADRINK from your friendly neighborhood Amazon store and haven't liked the results, why not try something a little more down to earth?
What is Aloe Vera Juice?
You probably know aloe vera as that succulent plant that has a mostly-edible inner gel, which can be found in health foods and drinks, as well as skin creams meant to soothe and cool burns and wounds. You may have seen it at the grocery store in the produce section, ready to carve. Or, maybe you've only ever seen it as an ingredient in skin creams and treatments.
What, then, is aloe vera juice?
As you might be able to guess, aloe vera juice is a beverage made out of the aloe vera plant. The aloe plant has a thick gel inside each frond that, when harvested, can lend a unique flavor to various drink items, and can sometimes be found in other foods as well.
You may find different kinds of beverages labeled, alternately, as aloe vera juice or aloe vera water. The definitions are a little muddled, but typically, aloe water is aloe diluted with water, while aloe juice has other fruit juices and extracts in it. You can read more about it in our rundown here.
Our aloe vera juice is aloe vera with citric acid to add a tangy flavor to it and water. So, whenever you buy our juice, you can use it for benefits in both pre-workout and post-workout beverages, without fear of drowning yourself in sugar or other additives.
What Are the Benefits of Aloe Juice?
There are a handful of defined benefits to aloe vera, which is part of why the plant has been used as a health remedy and herbal supplement for centuries. In addition to the topical soothing properties of cooling gel, it has a lot of effects when ingested.
It's packed with water. The gel in aloe vera is mostly water, but it's water in a form that takes longer to break down and get to than just drinking water. This means it's really good for keeping you hydrated. The water ends up processed by your body along with the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals present in aloe. That water goes into your system and helps your liver purge toxins, helps your blood stay fresh and healthy, and fuels innumerable bodily processes that help your body and brain function at peak performance. Water is essential to life, after all.
It boosts liver function. The water and nutrients found in aloe vera help boost your liver function to a degree. It's not a superfood, it's not going to solve an ailing liver or detox heavy metals out of your system. What it will do, however, is help your natural bodily processes purge the toxins that build up during day-to-day life and heavy exercise. In particular, lactic acid – the compound responsible for the soreness you feel after exercise – can be purged through the liver.
It helps fight constipation. Many people who work out frequently also find that they experience constipation. There are many causes for constipation, but one of them is dehydration. Your body needs liquid to help move things through your bowels. Too much liquid and too little fiber lead to a "leaky gut" and diarrhea, but too little liquid and too much fiber can lead to the opposite problem.
Aloe vera juice helps with this problem by giving you an efficient way to consume more water, which helps soak and soften stool and help keep it moving along. So, by drinking aloe vera juice regularly, particularly around workouts, you may be able to alleviate the symptoms of constipation.
It can help with skin issues, including acne. Anyone who works out frequently knows that extended effort can occasionally lead to acne flare-ups and other skin issues. Aloe vera is full of vitamins and minerals that can help your body fight off skin infections and avoid acne flare-ups.
It's worth mentioning that aloe vera also has some sunblock potential as a UV-resistant topical coating. It's not as good as typical sunblock, though, so you're honestly just better off using real sunblock and keeping the aloe for a beverage.
It's nutrient-dense. Aloe vera has a lot of different beneficial nutrients.
- Vitamins, including vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folic acid.
- Minerals, including calcium, copper, chromium, sodium, selenium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc.
It's also one of the few plant-based sources of vitamin B12, which is otherwise difficult for some people to get, especially if they follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
It can protect the stomach. Aloe vera is a good way to help neutralize some of the acids in your stomach and can be soothing for gastric ulcers. If you're the kind of person who ends up with stomach aches or heartburn when you work out, taking aloe vera juice as a pre-workout supplement can help a lot. Though, if you have an ulcer, you should consult with a doctor as well.
Aloe Vera Juice for Workouts
We've mentioned some of the benefits of aloe vera juice up above, but now let's talk about them in a bit greater detail.
Aloe is very good at keeping you hydrated. When you work out, you sweat, and you lose a lot of water. Your body needs water, which is why it's always recommended to be drinking quite a bit of it before, during, and after your workout. Aloe vera juice is a decent alternative to water, because it's mostly water, but comes with additional ingredients to help keep your body healthy. In a way, it's like a natural sports drink, except sports drinks, tend to have sugar or sugar-equivalent ingredients, and are often worse for you than just plain water.
Aloe vera juice helps purge your body of workout-related toxins. When you work out, your body throws thousands of chemical processes into action. Some of these processes help rebuild tissues, some power your muscles, some of them get your heart beating faster, and so on. Some of them leave behind toxins that your body needs to purge. Lactic acid is the number one offender. Drinking aloe vera juice during and after a workout helps your system purge that lactic acid, and can help prevent some of the soreness, weakness, and fatigue you're left with after a workout.
The nutrients in aloe vera juice are also beneficial to your system, but that's true of basically any supplement, which will typically have a workout-focused multivitamin component. Though, it does depend on what level of supplement you're taking.
When Should You Take Aloe Juice?
Now that we've convinced you to buy some of our aloe vera juice to use as a workout supplement, when should you be taking it? You have three options: before a workout, during a workout, and after a workout.
When you take aloe vera juice before a workout, you're setting yourself up for success. The vitamins, minerals, and hydration all start to flood your system. This primes your body to go through the transition into activity much more easily and ensures that there's fuel there – primarily water – ready to go. You can take it alongside other pre-workout supplements, or you can take it on its own and see how it does. Aloe vera juice doesn't include stimulants like caffeine, either, so if you're worried about your heart health, you're good to go with aloe.
When you take aloe vera juice during a workout, you're ensuring that you're operating at peak performance. The water in aloe keeps you hydrated as well as normal water does, if not better, because of how it can linger in your system in suspension with the gel. This helps you work out a few extra reps or a little bit stronger, optimizing your workouts.
When you take aloe vera juice after a workout, you help your body purge the toxins that build up during working out. Your body will do so naturally, but it might struggle if it doesn't have all of the most effective nutrients and plenty of water to do the deed. You're empowering your liver and kidneys, your circulatory system, and your digestive system. You will probably want to ensure that you have a source of protein and collagen as well, but aloe can do a decent job on its own.
Does Aloe Vera Juice Have Side Effects?
You might be concerned about the side effects of an herbal remedy, especially when you're working out, which is a time when you want your body to operate at peak efficiency. Any blow to your overall health, like through side effects, can set back your progress. So, does aloe have any worth mentioning?
Aloe vera juice, when properly purified, has no real side effects. Several long-term studies giving mice significant quantities of aloe juice for months at a time showed no adverse effects.
However, this only applies to properly-purified aloe. You see, the aloe plant has gel in it, but it also has latex in the rind that is exposed when you cut into it. This latex is toxic, and while it's not immediately fatal, it can cause unpleasant side effects.
These side effects include stomach cramping, diarrhea, dehydration, pain, and electrolyte imbalances.
There are two compounds responsible for this. Aloin, the first, is the toxic compound found in latex in aloe plants. The second, called anthraquinone, is a laxative. Combined, they can lead to all manner of both stomach and digestive problems that can ruin a workout.
Luckily, it's quite easy to get "decolorized" aloe vera, which has had all of the latex and other contaminants removed. This is the kind of aloe you see in virtually every commercial aloe drink. So, if you're buying aloe juice from a reputable seller (like us), you can rest assured that you're getting nothing but pure, good stuff.
The other potential issue is that aloe vera juice can interact with certain medications. If you're going in for surgery, or if you're on any long-term medications, talk to your doctor before trying aloe vera juice to make sure they aren't going to cause any issues.
Should You Make Your Own?
Making yourself aloe vera juice or water doesn't seem all that difficult, and indeed, it's not. Cutting open an aloe leaf, scraping out the gel, and mixing it with a juice or water of your choice, is perfectly fine. The trouble is, you need to make sure you avoid getting any of that aloe latex (or anything with color in it) into your juice. That's the stuff that causes problems.
The other potential problem is simply that, well, plain old aloe doesn't necessarily taste all that good. It's very much an acquired taste; some people love it, others hate it, and there's not much in-between. That's why our juice contains citric acid to zest it up, and why many people mix it with fruit juice.
If you want to try making aloe on your own, we have a guide on making it taste a little better. To be honest, though, we recommend buying it instead. Aloe isn't always easy to come by depending on where you are, it takes time and effort to prepare properly, and you always run the risk of having slightly contaminated aloe juice that causes you problems. You don't even save much money doing it!
Have you tried using aloe juice before, during, or after a workout? If so, how did it go? We're always interested in your stories, so let us know in the comments below.