How Can Juicing Help Multiple Sclerosis Patients?
Juicing helps you get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your body quickly, which is good for people with MS.
When it comes to buying juice from the store or making your own, fresh juice is always better because it has more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Store-bought juice is pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria. However, pasteurization is a high-temperature process that practically strips juices of nutrients.
Many people make fresh juice with electric juicers or blenders, but you can also use a manual press or a cold-press machine.
It is important for people to stay hydrated and drink enough fluids. Hydration can help MS patients manage healthy bowel movements and overcome certain bladder problems. In addition, drinking fluids can help patients with MS get better by reducing the side effects of their medicine and drugs. It can also make their skin less sensitive to needle stings.
Which Nutrients Can Benefit MS Patients?
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best foods for multiple sclerosis because they have numerous micronutrients and antioxidants, such as polyphenols, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. In general, many MS experts agree that getting nutrients from food is better than getting them from supplements.
The diet for MS patients should be varied and well-balanced to give the body all the nutrients it needs to work well.
Sugars (in moderation) and starches provide carbs for energy, and proteins are necessary for growth. Fats also provide energy, and help with absorption of other nutrients, minerals, vitamins and fiber.
When considering the ingredients for MS-friendly juices, make sure they contain the following nutrients:
- Antioxidants: MS is a condition made worse by oxidative stress, which is a type of cell damage that contributes to inflammation in MS. Antioxidants are molecules that can limit oxidative stress, and help to reduce inflammation and neuronal damage. Antioxidants can also stop or slow down the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. Common antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E, as also compounds like flavonoids and beta-carotenes.
- Magnesium: Magnesium plays a crucial role in the regeneration of nerve cells and functional recovery by reducing inflammation.
- Vitamin B12: In MS patients, myelin, the fatty wrapping around the nerve fibers, becomes damaged, but Vitamin B12 makes myelin. Hence keeping normal vitamin B12 levels can limit myelin damage.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D affects a number of biological functions, one of which is the immune system. Low vitamin D levels have been linked with an increased risk of MS. Mushrooms are the only good plant-source of vitamin D.
- Calcium: This mineral is essential for maintaining healthy bones, and can be beneficial for MS patients with bone problems, and those who use steroid medication.
- Essential fatty acids (EFAs): EFAs like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that cannot be synthesized in the body. Therefore, they must be consumed as part of a healthy diet. Their function is to repair damaged nerve cells and to help control inflammation.
Ingredient Options for the Best Juice Recipes for MS Patients
Now that we’ve learned which nutrients to include in MS-friendly juices, here is what to look for when you visit the fresh produce market.
Apples contain quercetin and other antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties to ease the suffering of MS patients. Apples are also rich in dietary fiber that promotes healthy gut microbiome and digestive health. All of these are important for overall health, including immune system function.
Honeydew and cantaloupe are both melon types that make a healthy juice. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in MS patients.
3. Citrus Fruit
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes, are high in vitamin C, which can support the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties. These fruits are also high in fiber that can help reduce the typical bowel symptoms of MS.
Apricots are loaded with protein, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C. Just one cup can gives you 3 grams of protein, as well as a great dose of Vitamins A and C. Apricots are just what you need for an energy boost to help you fight off the chronic fatigue typical in MS patients.
5. Kiwi Fruit
There is research that suggests that kiwi fruit contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. With inflammation being the key component of MS, the anti-inflammatory effects of Kiwi Fruit can be helpful.
Note that because of their mushy texture, kiwis can be tough to juice
Berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are known for their high phytochemical content. These include anthocyanins and flavonoids like quercetin which have been proven to boost health and prevent various chronic diseases like MS.
The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, may benefit multiple sclerosis patients by reducing pain and inflammation.
8. Cruciferous Vegetables
The Cruciferous Vegetable group includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, among others. They are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can have several potential benefits for MS patients.
Spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It helps fight inflammation and reduces toxins in your body. It is one of the best ingredients for green juice to help fight MS fatigue.
Cucumbers are low in calories and high in water content. They are a good source of hydration and also provide several important nutrients, including vitamins K and C, which can be beneficial for boosting bone health and the immune system of MS patients.
Celery is very useful for MS patients. Not only is celery rich in potassium but it also has a high content of water, which can help with dehydration. Another benefit of celery for MS patients is the anti-inflammatory properties.
Rhubarb is a rich source of calcium for strong bones and muscles. It can help combat mobility issues and other physical limitations related to MS.
Carrots are packed with nutrients that are beneficial for patients with MS like vitamins A, C, K and many others. Carrots are known to help regulate blood pressure, boost the immune system, and aid in digestion. Carrots have a very high amount of beta- carotene which has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, which is a risk of MS.
Tomatoes are a rich source of phytochemical compounds, including carotenoids like lycopene, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. Lycopene, in particular, is well-known for its antioxidant properties.
Beets are packed with potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that aids the proper functioning of nerves and muscles function properly. When potassium levels are too low, weakness and fatigue, which is typical with MS patients, can occur. Drinking beet juice in moderation can help keep your potassium levels optimal.
Turmeric is a vibrant yellow, fragrant spice that grows as a rhizome (underground stem). It can be used fresh as an ingredient in juices, but it’s most widely available in its dried and powdered form.
Curcumin is the most widely studied molecule in turmeric, with numerous results showing multiple properties to benefit health. Some research findings indicate that turmeric benefits can be especially relevant to MS patients.
Ginger is another rhizome with a potent, spicy flavor that can be used fresh or dried and powdered. One of several anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger is 10-gingerol. According to a study published in the journal Food Chemistry, this compound's most important property for MS patients is to reduce neuroinflammation — inflammation in the brain or spinal cord.
A Few Tips for Juicing for MS Patients
There are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Ensure your juices form part of a healthy diet.
- Include both fruits and vegetables in your juicing. The sugar content of vegetable juices is significantly lower than in fruit juices.
- Portion control with juices is important — 150 ml is a recommended serving of juice.
- Include the fibrous pulp of fruits and veggies whenever possible. A large percentage of the nutritional value is in the peels and skins of juice ingredients.
- Sprinkle healthy fats, such as chopped walnuts, chia seeds or flaxseeds into your juice to slow the absorption of the sugars.
In a Nutshell
Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your juice recipes can help you feel better while you live with multiple sclerosis (MS). From the vibrant antioxidants in berries to the anti-inflammatory power of leafy greens and the immune-boosting properties of citrus fruits, the possibilities are endless.
Remember that a diverse and balanced diet, rich in nutrients, is key to managing MS and promoting overall health. Always consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to tailor your diet to your specific needs and preferences, and to avoid interactions with prescribed medications.
Now, raise a glass to a healthier you and enjoy the nourishing benefits of nature's bounty.