Juicing for Anxiety: Does It Work? Recipes and Research – Greatist

Anxiety, depression, and garden-variety stress are extraordinarily common. And they can range from being an occasional bother to being a life-impacting chronic issue. Of course, we want to find any and every way to keep them at bay. But can juicing really help anxiety?
Give this one a go!
To make:
Roughly chop the fruits and veg. Add them and the remaining ingredients to a regular/large blender pitcher. Blend to the desired smoothness. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. Makes about three to four 1-cup servings.
Recipe based on this one.
While there’s a panoply of conventional treatments — like meds and psychotherapy — you may be interested in exploring DIY options. You aren’t alone! In fact, the world of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) — including using natural remedies like food to cure health conditions — is exploding.
Functional nutrition falls under the CAM umbrella. And, in this article, we’ll press out juicy info on juicing’s place in addressing anxiety.
Some studies have found that a diet high in fruits and vegetables are associated with a lower risk of anxiety and other mental health disorders, but juicing isn’t the same as eating whole fruits and vegetables.
Not a lot of research has taken place on juicing for mental health. Buuuuuuuuut here are a few pips to catch in your teeth for a moment:
So, juicing’s effectiveness for tackling anxiety is still a bit of a “?” While it could clearly benefit from more research, though, it seems to be a promising therapeutic approach — especially if you include it as part of a broader, holistic care plan that includes Western medical therapies, exercise, stress-reduction techniques, and so on.
Although following a healthy, well-rounded diet and increasing your overall fruit and vegetable intake may help reduce anxiety symptoms, it’s unlikely that any single juice or smoothie will make a significant impact on your anxiety levels. It’s best to focus on overall dietary intake.
The key is nutrient retention and bioavailability. Generally speaking, eating whole foods is more advantageous to your well-being than drinking them.
However, if drinking your vitamin A-to-Zs is your jam, you want to make the absolute most of it. To make guzzling down nutrients pay off as much as possible, keep these tips in mind:
The mind-body connection is real. Essentially, your physical state creates signals that trigger mental responses (e.g., moods, disorders, and so on).
The gut-brain axis is one way your body and brain have strong links. The community of microbes in your gut (aka gut microbiota) communicates with your central nervous system. If they’re out of balance, they can contribute to diseases both inside and outside of your gastrointestinal tract.
Research has linked inflammation and dysbiosis of the gut to anxiety and depression.
There’s a ton of research on this. And several medical disciplines — functional medicine, epigenetics, etc. — continue to study and apply learnings. Backing this up further are centuries of observational knowledge around the link between your belly and your head.
Yes! Your diet can impact your mental state. Your gut and brain are derived from the same type of cells and communicate with each other by sending signals along the vagus nerve. Also, a huge portion of your mood-regulating (aka serotonin) receptors calls your gut lining home sweet home.
Different foods and nutrients create different messages. Each one tells your brain to carry out specific actions, like generating, releasing, removing, or otherwise modulating a particular neurochemical. And, in turn, it’s these chemicals in your brain that can influence your mood, stress response, and overall mental health.
Many studies support this cycle. They also provide a whole bunch of data and other findings on how various nutrients can help you prevent, treat, and manage a slew of physical and mental health concerns. To give you a taste, here’s what a couple of studies that focused on diet and anxiety found:
OK, so nutrition *can* affect mental health functions. Got it.
Knowing this is powerful! It means you may be able to positively influence your anxiety levels by simply adjusting the foods you eat (or don’t eat).
To work at its best, your brain needs healthy, high fiber carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. You can get these nutritional building blocks by incorporating a rainbow of foods from across the following categories:
In terms of easing anxiety, certain nutrients have shown themselves to be more effective. Studies indicate a link between the following nutrients and a person’s reduced anxiety status.
However, some of these studies focused on supplementation, while others examined a link between nutrient levels and anxiety symptoms. Supplementation provides a more concentrated dose of nutrients, which could be more effective for anxiety than dietary nutrients.
For example, check out what research has discovered about these key players:
This is really just a shortlist to get you started.
Having suboptimal levels or being deficient in certain nutrients could increase the risk of anxiety symptoms. People who follow restrictive diets, older adults, and those with certain medical conditions are more likely to develop nutrient deficiencies.
If you think you may have a nutrient deficiency or be at risk for developing one, consult a healthcare pro for advice and proper testing.
You can find these nutrients in a variety of juicing-worthy fruits and veggies.
To promote overall health, including mental health, it’s important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. To increase your produce consumption, stock your cupboards and fridge with these popular and productive juicing and smoothie wonders:
You might also want to consider some other potentially anxiety-reducing goodies:
Get creative and mix things up! By routinely switching around the combination of ingredients, you’ll have an easier time getting your full menu of nutrients.
On top of things that could be beneficial to add to your regimen, you should be wary of others. Recent research suggests it may be wise to avoid:
These items can cause inflammation and negatively impact gut health, which may aggravate anxiety.
If it comes down to taste — well, that’s pretty subjective isn’t it?
Want to give this thing a shot? You can def press your luck with some more fluidy juices. But we’re serving up some anti-anxiety smoothie inspo. And these recipes that have our mouths watering (in a chill sort of way).
Saying that, increasing your overall intake of fruits, veggies, and healthy foods might help reduce anxiety symptoms, but none of them will provide immediate relief.
Notice how all the recipes feature ingredients that practically ooze anxiety-fighting nutrients? Not a coincidence.
It may be worth noting that other bevvies might relieve anxiety, too. Depending upon the nature and origin of your anxiety, water, herbal teas, or alcohol may soothe you.
We’ve talked a lot about anxiety, so let’s get a quick overview of what it’s all about.
Anxiety is one of many natural responses that your body can have to stress. Everyone gets stressed sometimes; correspondingly, we all experience anxiety at some point. Not a news flash. And not something for you to be too concerned with.
But anxiety can become a problem — as in a clinically diagnosable disorder — if it starts to disrupt your daily life. Like if you excessively worry or frequently work yourself into a tizzy over fairly innocuous things. It can cause your response to real (or imaginary) stress to be way out of proportion and create an unhealthy scenario for you.
The following factors can trigger anxiety, cause it, or make it worse.
People can treat anxiety in the following ways, although different things work for different people:
Being anxious is not the same as having an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders require medical care from a trained professional.
Your Berry Green Bliss Frappé may be all Zen and fantastic, but it’s not a cure-all. Knowing when it’s time to shelve your bullet blender for a minute and check in with your doctor is critical.
You should seek help if any/all of the following apply:
Consulting with your doc before starting a juicing-for-anxiety program is also a good idea if you have other health conditions or take medications.
If your anxiety feels out of control but you don’t know where to turn, these resources may help:
So juicing for anxiety — is it all it’s cracked up to be? Well, science hasn’t looked into it too deeply over other forms of taking in nutrients. But science also suggests that what you eat can and does impact your mental health. Adjusting your diet could help you prevent and treat conditions like anxiety.
For anxiety, it might be better to drink bevvies that still have the pulp, pith, and other parts of the fruits and veggies still intact. Juicing cuts out all of this, and you might end up missing out on vital, anxiety busting nutrients.
The key is consuming proven anxiety-busting nutrients, like those found in healthy, well-rounded diets. Avoiding foods and drinks that promote inflammation or anxiety is important, too.
Drinking in those nutrients may make getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals easier. For best results, go for high quality ingredients like colorful produce, lean protein, healthy fats, and wholesome cereal grains. Eat as many fruits and veggies as possible to retain maximum nutrition.
Speak with a healthcare pro if you feel your anxiety is getting out of hand.
Last medically reviewed on July 22, 2021
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