Juicing of fruits and vegetables removes the fibre and creates liquid food, which the body can easily assimilate and absorb. It allows the vitamins and other nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables to be easily consumed—even by people who have no appetite. Juicing is often used if a person with HIV has digestion problems or malabsorption and if a person has difficulty chewing.

Proponents of juicing believe that most fruits have a cleansing effect on the body’s system. The high water content is believed to flush the kidneys and liver. Proponents use juicing to flush the kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal system of toxins. For people with HIV who are dealing with the side effects of drugs, juicing may assist in removing the toxic by-products of the drugs.

Enzymes are naturally present in fruits and vegetables. Proponents of juicing believe that enzymes are destroyed when food is processed or heated. Our own bodies produce enzymes that digest food and incorporate it into the cells of our bodies. Juicing allows us to ingest the enzymes of fruits and vegetables, which may make digestion easier.

The freshest produce will give you the most enzymes, so choose fruits that are in season. To avoid ingesting pesticides, peel the skin of the fruit or vegetable and do not ingest the pulp. Fresh juices are a concentrated form of food, but be moderate in your consumption, because fruit juices are high in fruit sugar.

Different juices are thought to have different effects on our bodies. For example, prunes and apricots are used as laxatives, while bananas are recommended to slow diarrhea. You can combine juices so that their benefits work together. It is important for people with HIV to know that grapefruit juice can affect the concentration of protease inhibitors and other medicines in the blood, possibly making side effects more severe or reducing the effectiveness of other medicines. People on protease inhibitors should consume grapefruit juice with caution, if at all. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see if grapefruit juice may interact with any other medicines you are taking.