At a Glance
- Anxiety can be aggravated by diet and deficiencies in certain nutrients.
- Juicing is an all-natural way of getting the extra nutrients needed to help alleviate anxiety without the use of medicines or supplements and the side effects that often accompany them.
- Juicing ingredients which may help with anxiety include leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, tomatoes and carrots.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the US, affecting over 40 million adults over the age of 18, or 18% of the population. (source)
Feelings of anxiety are an everyday occurrence for many people. Whether it’s anxieties about your well being or simply being anxious about the forthcoming summer and your ‘bikini’ body (or lack of it).
Can juicing recipes for anxiety help? Although we can’t offer a juice recipe to solve all of life’s problems, we can hopefully assist with a healthier state of body and mind! We may even be able to help you in gaining that beach ready ‘bikini’ body.
As an added bonus, you may discover some delicious juices that are as nutritious as they are tasty!
What Is Anxiety?
The human body has its own system for dealing with anxiety-inducing situations but unfortunately sometimes it misreads events.
When a person finds themselves in a stressful situation, the adrenal gland releases cortisol (often called the stress hormone) which works with both adrenalin and insulin to raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This then gives the body a quick boost of energy and responsiveness to deal with the situation.
This response is known as the “fight or flight” response – one of the traits that gave our ancestors the hunter instinct.
This is fine if we’re walking through a jungle and come across a hungry lion – the extra energy will give you the boost to run or fight, but it’s totally unnecessary for most modern anxiety issues.
Worrying about a gas bill simply doesn’t require that extra physical energy.
If the body does not use the cortisol energy boost, longer periods of anxiety may lead to elevated blood pressure and/or blood sugar levels – which adds to anxiety and its many symptoms.
For most people, feelings of anxiety come and go, passing in short periods. For others, anxiety can last days, weeks, months or even years in chronic cases.
Symptoms include nervousness, restlessness, feeling of danger or panic, rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation and insomnia – to name but a few.
Many of these symptoms can be relieved by the nutritional properties of juicing and incorporating fruit and vegetables into our diets that we may not otherwise eat (I personally would never have dreamed of eating kale, but when combined with other ingredients in a juice, it loses a lot of its bitterness – plus it’s good for you!).
At the end of this article you will find several recipes that have been formulated to fight anxiety and control cortisol levels to leave you feeling healthy and relaxed.
Why Juice for Anxiety?
Although it is always advisable to seek professional help with chronic cases of anxiety, everyday anxieties can often be eased through nutrition and diet.
By juicing for anxiety we can help give the body the correct amount of vitamins and minerals to combat stress.
Life events are often the biggest cause of anxiety, but other factors include:
- Excessive exercise
- Soft drinks and sodas – even diet ones!
- Foods rich in fast releasing sugars (i.e white bread, pasta, sweets etc)
As well as fighting anxiety and stress, juicing can ease the symptoms of PMS, increase the body’s natural immune system, promote weight loss (as part of a calorie controlled diet) and detoxify the body.
What to Juice to Relieve Anxiety
Research over the years has found certain nutrients to be most valuable in the control of anxiety. These nutrients are listed below, along some examples of food rich in these nutrients.
Magnesium has long been recognised as a mineral which is crucial for healthy nerve and muscle function. In addition, magnesium can prevent cortisol from entering the brain by acting as a kind of barrier.
When we are feeling anxious, the body uses up magnesium stores quickly, leading to a magnesium deficiency.
A chronic magnesium deficiency has serious effects, causing the mind to become irrational. Depression and anger can become prevalent – all factors adding to anxiety.
A mild magnesium deficiency can lead to feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and nervousness.
Fruit and vegetables that have high levels of magnesium, include:
- Leafy green vegetables (e.g spinach, kale or chard)
- citrus fruits
B Vitamins Such as B1, B3, B5, B8, B12 and Folate
The B vitamins have all been recognised as playing an important part in the battle against anxiety, stress and depression.
Vitamins B1 and B6 are crucial when it comes to controlling cortisol levels whereas vitamins B5 and B12 help control energy levels.
The B vitamins all work together as a team which is why they are often referred to as the ‘B vitamin complex’.
Deficiencies in B vitamins are among the most common micronutrient deficiencies in the US and in an already stressed body could cause additional strain.
B vitamins can be found in abundance in:
- Most fruits (e.g apples, bananas, oranges, berries, grapes, avocado)
- Green leafy vegetables (e.g spinach, kale, turnip greens)
Although better known for fighting colds and flu, vitamin C plays an even greater role in the fight against the physical and physiological effects of anxiety.
Drinking 1000 ml of a vitamin C supplement per day was found to make people have a less severe reaction to stressful situations in comparison to people on a lower dosage. Cortisol levels are at their highest in the morning so starting the day with a juice high in vitamin C can help suppress stress levels.
High levels of vitamin C are found in:
- Citrus fruits
- Red berries
- Sweet peppers
Note that the health benefits of vitamin C are destroyed by cooking or exposure to light/heat. Therefore juicing is the ultimate way to get the most from this vitamin.
Juicing Recipes for Anxiety
#1 – The Green Goddess
A favorite of the whole family, this juice is very good for introducing people, especially younger children, to the idea of juicing for health. A sweeter juice with a hint of citrus.
- 3 medium sized apples
- 4 large stalks of celery
- 1/4 thumb ginger root
- 1/2 a lemon (with rind)
- 1 large orange, peeled
- 5 bunches of spinach
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (if available), only the bottom 2/3 white part
- Before juicing all the ingredients, ensure you remove the orange peel as it is very bitter and can ruin the flavour of this sweet drink. (The lemon is ok and can be left skin on).
- Juice the ingredients
- Serve with ice
- Drink immediately
#2 – Golden Anxiety Relief
Not all juices for health have to be green, often I’ve found this color can be off putting – just try getting your kids to drink or eat greens!
- Beet root from 1 beet (roughly 2” diameter or about 82g) – golden in colour
- 3 large carrots
- 4 large stalks of celery
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1/2 thumb ginger
- 1 medium pear
- Process all the ingredients in a juicer
- Shake or stir and serve
- Drink immediately
#3 – Stress, Stress, Go Away!
This juice is a vibrant red colour and is as delicious as it is appealing to the eye. A great juice for curbing the comfort food syndrome which often goes hand in hand with anxiety. The B vitamins and can help control those all important cortisol levels.
Best drunk a couple of hours before retiring for the night or half an hour before meals. The addition of chia seeds will keep you feeling full while aiding the digestive system.
- Blend the ingredients together in a juicer, adding a little water to loosen it up a bit.
- Stir well
#4 – Pear Oatmeal
Another great juice which can help in suppressing those food cravings. Oatmeal and pear work together as a team to beat those feelings of anxiety and the symptoms that come with it.
The addition of a caffeine free mint tea acts as a great antioxidant and the honey adds a little sweetness without pushing up the blood sugar levels.
- Brewed the tea then allowed to cool
- Juice the pear in a juicer then add to a blender with the oats and the cooled mint tea
- Blend for a few minutes then add a little honey to sweeten
- Serve and drink immediately
#5 – The Jolly Green Giant
It’s generally acknowledged that green juices tend to be the ones that are most beneficial to health. The addition of lavender flowers and lemon balm make this an all powerful anxiety relief.
Lavender is known as a tonic for stress and depression and lemon balm is a nerve relaxant and is very effective in the treatment of anxiety and stress. You can juice the leaves and flowering tops of both plants.
(WARNING: Pregnant women should avoid large amounts of lavender as it can also act as a uterine stimulant.)
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 large carrots
- 1 cup of spinach or kale
- 1/2 cantaloupe to add a little sweetness
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 – 4 sprigs of fresh lavender flowers per cup of juice
- 4 – 6 sprigs of lemon balm per cup of juice.
- Juice the first 5 ingredients in a juicer
- Add the lavender and lemon balm according to how much juice has been produced.
- Serve with ice