How can Juicing Help with Anxiety and Depression?
Anxiety and depression are stress- and mood-related disorders that are common and can be potentially severe.
They’re predominantly treated with prescription medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Nevertheless, you may wonder whether there’s a more natural way of managing these conditions.
I read an article that explores the potential benefits of juicing as a supportive treatment for anxiety and depression. And here is what I liked the most:
Researchers believe that vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds from different fruits and vegetables — which you get from many types of juice — may offer protective effects on mental health.
For example, one 3-month study in 27 adults with mood disorders found that including juicing as part of a healthy lifestyle may aid anxiety and depression symptoms.
After drinking at least 32 ounces (946 mL) of fruit and vegetable juice per day as part of a multifaceted study protocol including other lifestyle changes, 21 study participants reported improvements in their symptoms. This included better sleep, increased energy levels, and improved memory and concentration.
Additionally, evidence suggests that specific vitamins — including magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C — may improve anxiety and depression symptoms. For example, these nutrients may stabilize mood in episodes of mania, feelings of despair, and average heart rate.
Still, keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all remedy or treatment when it comes to mental health. Also, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your treatment.
Besides that, oxidative stress occurs when harmful molecules called free radicals build up in your body and damage tissues and cells due to an impaired antioxidant defense system.
Interestingly, studies have found that people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have low antioxidant levels.
Thankfully, an antioxidant-rich diet can help remove free radicals and protect against oxidative stress-induced damage in the brain, which may help lessen and prevent depression and anxiety symptoms.
What’s more, researchers believe that antioxidants may offer antidepressant effects similar to conventional antidepressants. And a healthy juice is a plate full of them!
Also, magnesium plays a crucial role in brain function and mood. In fact, low magnesium diets have been linked with depression and anxiety.
There are two potential ways that magnesium has antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.
First, magnesium deficiency leads to an up-regulated stress system caused by an impairment of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
The HPA axis plays a significant role in your mood, your emotions, and how you react to stress. So, impairing the HPA axis can affect how you process stress. This, in turn, may promote the development of anxiety disorders and depression.
Second, magnesium modulates your serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic chemical systems.
These systems affect mood, motivation, and reward. As such, they’re often the target of traditional antidepressant drugs.
In addition, low levels of vitamins B6, B9, and B12 — or pyridoxine, folate, and cobalamin, respectively — have been linked to a higher risk of depression.
These vitamins are involved with the production of serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. As such, they may have mood-enhancing effects.
Plus, their deficiency prevents serotonin from being produced from an amino acid known as homocysteine. This leads to elevated homocysteine levels, which may worsen depression symptoms.
Lastly, zinc is another antioxidant. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to the development of depression-like behaviors and increased severity of anxiety and depression symptoms.
So, if you take on juicing to improve anxiety and depression symptoms, opt for ingredients that provide antioxidants, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc.
Here’s a list of the best fruit and vegetable sources of these nutrients:
Antioxidants: broccoli, celery, cabbage, beets, kale, berries;
Magnesium: kale, cabbage, green leafy vegetables;
B vitamins: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, sunflower seed butter;
Vitamin C: broccoli, celery, cabbage, kale, bell peppers, zucchini, citrus fruits;
Zinc: kale, beet greens.
Try to mix up these ingredients when preparing your juice to ensure nutrient variety. Bon appetite!