Juicing for Restless Legs Syndrome


(How I treated my RLS by Juicing!)

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Since you are reading this, I assume that you have suffered this unpleasant condition, probably being kept awake at night?  I first researched restless legs syndrome when my wife was expecting our first baby.  She suffered from it a lot during that pregnancy.  Funnily enough, this was the first time that I also suffered from the sensations.  Sympathy pains?  I’m not sure.

I’ve heard a lot of different descriptions of how it feels during a “restless legs attack”,  and these different descriptions may indicate that there are different causes to RLS, so each sufferer experiences something a little different.  One thing's for sure, a lot more medical research needs to be done before we can fully understand the causes.

To me, restless legs syndrome felt like ants crawling up the veins and arteries inside my legs.  It was an incredibly unpleasant feeling of “energy” that made me want to jump up from my bed and run around on the spot.  That would alleviate the problem while I was moving, but as soon as I stopped and lay down, the “energy” would return.

My symptoms were very similar to some of the criteria that medical researchers use in the diagnosis of restless leg syndrome.  Here they are:

  1. Unpleasant feelings in the legs. If you have talked to your doctor about this, they might use words like Paresthesia or Dysesthesia.  Don’t panic if you hear terms like this.  These terms simple mean sensations, with the latter word emphasising the unpleasantness of the sensation.
  2. “Motor restlessness” which means the neurons which control movement of your muscles are active (this can be voluntary movement as well). Motor restlessness is characterised by an irresistible urge to move about.  It should be noted that motor restlessness in patients with Parkinson’s disease can be mistakenly diagnosed as RLS.  However, most cases of RLS are nothing to do with Parkinson’s disease.
  3. Symptoms are worse when resting, with temporary relief during activity.
  4. Symptoms are worse later in the day.

My wife always raised her legs up with pillows to reduce the symptoms, but it didn’t seem to do much for me.  I needed to find a solution.

After a lot of research, I found out that there are a number of things that can cause restless legs syndrome (RLS), and most of these things can be fixed easily, naturally and without expensive or dangerous medication.

The first section of this article looks at the condition.  I’ll discuss the various causes that we know about, who is most susceptible to it, etc.  I’ll be referring to medical literature, but don’t worry, I’ll simplify it into a language that is easy to understand and provide links to web pages where you can read more if you want to. If you see a number in square brackets, e.g. [1], this refers to a web page that you’ll find at the end of that section of this article.  Not all of these citations will lead to the full article, since many require a subscription to access.  In those cases, I’ll direct you to viewable abstracts of those papers.

In the second half of the article I’ll outline a simple nutritional plan that I developed for my own use for my restless legs.  The plan will consist of nothing more than an easy to follow nutritional plan.  While this worked for my wife & I, I cannot promise it will work for you, but I am hopeful that it will be of benefit to many people suffering this awful condition.

So let’s get on with it shall we?

What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

RLS is a condition where the sufferer has a strong urge to move their legs (and in some cases their arms) in response to unpleasant sensations in their limbs.  Movement can temporarily relieve the symptoms.  Symptoms are usually worse at night when you are inactive, and can cause insomnia.

Because of the potential lack of sleep, sufferers of RLS can often be tired the following day.  If the condition lasts for several days, it can cause fatigue, emotional problems and depression.

Who is most likely to get It?

Studies suggest that as many as 10% of the US population [1] may suffer from RLS, though the severity of the condition varies a lot.  It’s not just restricted to adults either, as children can suffer from this (with some evidence suggesting that RLS has a genetic component and can therefore be passed on from parent to child).

RLS is a lot more common in women, and this may give us a clue to one of the causes of the condition, since women menstruate, losing blood regularly during their reproductive years.  This wouldn’t explain all cases in women though, since RLS can affect women of any age, so we’ll come back to this later.

Pregnant Women are more likely to get RLS

As if being pregnant didn’t give you enough aches, pains and discomfort, pregnant women are far more likely to suffer from RLS than non-pregnant women, though symptoms quickly subside once the birth is out the way [2].  This correlation was first seen in the 1940s.

In an Italian study of 600 pregnant women, just over a quarter of them experienced RLS, many of them for the first ever time.  Of those that suffered from the condition, nearly all of them reported having at least one case of RLS per week, but around 50% of the sufferers reported having 3 or more episodes per week.  The condition occurred mostly in the third trimester, but the good news is that once the baby was born, most women stopped having problems with RLS within 4 weeks of giving birth..

One of the potential causes of RLS is low iron.  However, when a woman gives birth, she loses a lot of blood (which has a lot of iron locked up in haemoglobin) and may not fully recover her iron stores for a few months after delivery.   Yet despite this, shortly after delivery most women report that they no longer suffer from RLS.  Studies on iron levels in women also tend to confirm that in this case at least, iron is not the problem.

One thing that does change a lot during pregnancy and birth is hormone levels.  It’s possible that these changing levels are at least partially responsible for RLS in pregnancy.

Genetics may play a role

It’s been suggested that up to 50% of those who suffer from RLS have a family history of the condition. Since it’s only 50%, that suggests genetics is not involved in the other 50%.  It seems likely then that environmental factors must be involved, and research supports this.

We have to be careful not to always assume that genetics are involved just because a problem is occurring in generations of the same family.  For example, if a family has a history of obesity, is that genetics?  Isn’t it also possible that generations within that family are obese because they eat the same type of unhealthy foods?  If you grow up on fried fatty foods, chances are that this is what you are accustomed to AND likely to cook for yourself and your own family in the future.  Learning bad habits is nothing to do with genetics, it’s to do with environment.

Having said that, there is evidence of a genetic link for RLS.  A number of studies have identified specific genes in the human genome that are found in some sufferers of RLS [3, 4].

More research really needs to be done to identify how these genes can increase the risk of getting RLS.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies?

Let’s look at the various vitamin and mineral deficiencies that have been suggested as causes for RLS.

Iron Deficiency?

There have been a number of studies looking at the brains of people who suffer from RLS.  The research suggest that some brain cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain (which produce a lot of the neurotransmitter dopamine) are extremely low in iron.  The problem may be linked with a protein receptor on the cell membrane called transferrin, which moves iron into the cells.  These cells seem to have very few of these receptors, so iron transfer into these cells is limited.  This means that even if the person doesn’t have an iron deficiency, they could still get RLS simply because this part of the brain could not transfer enough iron into these cells [5].

A few studies have linked RLS to deficiencies in not only iron, but also dopamine.  Without normal levels of iron, dopamine cannot be regulated properly [6].  It’s interesting then that a number of medications that increase dopamine levels, like the drug levodopa (L-Dopa), also help alleviate RLS in some cases.

NOTE: levodopa is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

OK; MLS may be (at least partly) due to the lack of iron in certain cells of the brain.  That does not mean that everyone who suffers from RLS has this problem with transporter proteins.

Another obvious reason these cells might have low iron levels is that the patient actually is deficient in iron.  If there is low iron concentrations in the blood, then there is less iron available to be transported into the brain cells.

This helps explains why:

  1. a number of people have relieved their RLS symptoms by taking iron supplements, and
  2. why women are more prone to RLS (menstruation loses a lot of iron from the body).

WARNING: Taking iron supplements is not recommended without the advice of your doctor.  Some people suffer from an hereditary disease called hemochromatosis.  Their body stores too much iron and this can be very dangerous.  In addition, excess iron supplementation can cause a host of medical problems from simple constipation and nausea, to more serious conditions.

Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium is hugely important in the normal healthy functioning of our bodies, and in particular, it’s vital in helping us get to sleep quicker, and sleep deeper [7, 8, 9, 10].

Some estimates suggest that up to 80% of people in the US are deficient in magnesium.  The problem is that the soils our crops are grown in have been depleted by aggressive farming, and the nutrients used up by the crops just haven’t been replaced [11].  This holds true for many minerals, not just magnesium.  In her book “How to Know if You are Magnesium Deficient: 75% of Americans Are” [12],  Liz Lipski explains how bad this has got.  In the 1930s the Department of Agriculture found the zinc levels in an average carrot to be 20 mg. In the 1980s, the level in an average carrot was just 10mg.  Estimates today suggest this figure may be as low as 2 mg.  This example just highlights the growing nutritional battle our bodies face as they try to extract the vitamins and minerals we need from our food.  If mineral depleted soils were not enough to cope with, we are also accustomed to eating heavily processed foods which remove a lot of the vitamin and mineral content.

So what do we know about magnesium that relates to RLS?

Well we know magnesium deficiency increases neuromuscular excitability. We also know that magnesium supplementation can improve the sleep patterns of people deficient in magnesium.

Calcium deficiency?

There are reports that calcium supplements can help relieve RLS symptoms.  I read the story of a woman that suffered from RLS who took “Tums” (indigestion tablets made from calcium carbonate which are a readily absorbed form of calcium) for her mild heartburn, only to find that her RLS symptoms disappeared.  Her husband also suffered RLS and found this alleviated his problems as well [13].

This actually makes a lot of sense, since calcium is required at neuromuscular junctions when a muscle contracts.

Potassium Deficiency?

I found a number of people claiming that potassium supplementation helped them with their RLS [14, 15].  Some took potassium supplement pills, while others ate bananas before bedtime.  Together with sodium, potassium is one of the two major electrolytes in our body.  Maintaining the correct levels of potassium in the body is vital for muscle tone and contractions.  The kidneys help regulate potassium (and sodium) levels in the body.

A deficiency in potassium can lead to muscle weakness or spasm, even full blown paralysis in severe cases.

Folic Acid deficiency?

The link with folic acid and RLS comes from pregnant women [16].  During the latter stages of pregnancy, folic acid levels can drop.  This third trimester is when pregnant women typically suffer from RLS.  Could a deficiency in folic acid be causing RLS during pregnancy?

Folic acid (and other B vitamins) are directly related to nerve health.  High concentrations of folic acid (also called folate) is found in the spinal column.  A deficiency can cause some confusion during the transmission of nerve impulses from the brain to somewhere else in the body.

There are certainly reported cases where folic acid helped with RLS [17, 18].  It has also been suggested that people suffering from genetic RLS may have unnaturally high folic acid requirements.  If you suffered this form of RLS, then maybe folic acid supplementation could help.

Medical conditions

While many people can relieve their RLS symptoms by addressing their vitamin and mineral deficiencies, there are more serious causes of RLS, and you should make sure that your doctor has ruled out these possibilities first.

Other possible reasons for RLS

Unfortunately for many people, the following “drugs” may play a part in RLS:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

NOTE: Even chocolate has been implicated in RLS; so if you are overdoing it with the brown stuff – cut back.

Studies have shown that in people who are susceptible to RLS, these substances may trigger it.  Simply removing these from your life can be enough to prevent RLS occurring in some people.

References

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21504414
http://www.rls.org/Document.Doc?&id=392
http://www.rls.org/Document.Doc?&id=414
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/news_article_rls_iron.htm
http://www.sleep-journal.com/article/S1389-9457(04)00024-3/abstract
http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?doi=10.1159/000118988
http://academic.research.microsoft.com/Publication/48517134/magnesium-involvement-in-sleep-genetic-and-nutritional-models
http://www.springerlink.com/content/hrl701m0417x4m13
http://academic.research.microsoft.com/Publication/33590575/should-we-use-oral-magnesium-supplementation-to-improve-sleep-in-the-elderly
http://www.canadianlongevity.net/misc/mineral_depletion.php
http://askdrgottmd.com/restless-legs-syndrome-responds-to-calcium/
http://books.google.com/books?id=VBZN4qTETogC&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://www.healthboards.com/boards/restless-leg-syndrome/829713-potassium.html
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/152460901750269652


How is RLS treated by doctors?

Doctors will often suggest a number of lifestyle changes to treat cases restless legs syndrome.  These include things like:

  • Sticking to a strict sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night.D
  • Doing moderate levels of exercise during the day (though high levels can actually make RLS worse).
  • Giving up caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
  • Losing weight.
  • Trying meditation.
  • Muscle stretching (calves & thighs).
  • Showers to run hot/cold water over the legs before bedtime.
  • When you get an RLS attack, try diverting your attention to something else.

On April 6th 2011, the FDA approved a new drug called Horizant to treat RLS [1].  These are slow release tablets that are taken once a day. The active ingredient is gabapentin enacarbil, a substance that was denied approval by the FDA in February 2010.  The reason?

 “a preclinical finding of pancreatic acinar cell tumours in rats was “of sufficient concern to preclude approval” at this time.”

In other words, there were worries over possible links with cancer!

In the body, gabapentin enacarbil becomes gabapentin, a drug used to treat seizures in people with epilepsy [2, 3].  Side effects mentioned on the FDA website are:

“drowsiness and dizziness and can impair a person’s ability to drive or operate complex machinery.”

Other drugs that are used to treat RLS

There are a number of different types of drugs that are used to treat RLS.  We can classify the types of drugs according to the way they act.

  1. Dopaminergic drugs – increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, hallucinations and even involuntary movements.
  2. Dopamine Agonists – these mimic dopamine in the brain. Side effects include sleepiness which can be a bad thing during the day.  Examples of this type of drug used to treat RLS include ropinirole, pramipexole, carbidopa/levodopa & pergolide.
  3. Benzodiazepines – these are sedatives. They don’t try to fix the cause of your RLS, they just allow you to get some sleep. e.g diazepam.  I have taken this myself and usually woke up the next morning feeling like I had a hangover.  The only upside is they did help me sleep.
  4. Opioids – Opiates are addictive so these tend to be a last resort. An example is Methadone.
  5. Anticonvulsants – like Horizant we mentioned earlier. The active ingredients are actually used to treat epilepsy but they can help with RLS symptoms. e.g. carbamazepine.

Here is a list of the common drugs that have been used to treat RLS:

  • gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant)
  • ropinirole (Requip, Ropark, Adartrel) – dopamine agonist often used to treat Parkinsons.
  • pramipexole (Mirapex, Mirapexin, Sifrol) – dopamine agonist.
  • carbidopa (Lodosyn) – taken in combination with levodopa in the treatment of Parkinsons.
  • levodopa, also called L-DOPA (Bendopa, Dopar, Eldopar, Laradopa, Larodopa, Levopa).
    Levodopa (with carbidopa) is found in the following Sinemet, Parcopa, Atamet, Stalevo.
    Levodopa (with benserazide) is found in Madopar & Prolopa.
    L-DOPA is a natural substance made in the brain.  It is converted into dopamine. Remember earlier we said that dopamine cannot be regulated properly in the absence of sufficient iron.
  • carbamazepine – anticonvulsant and mood-stabilising drug.
  • pergolide – a dopamine receptor agonist.

Sedatives are also prescribed to help the patient get some sleep.  Things like:

  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • triazolam (Halcion)
  • eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • temazepam (Restoril)
  • zaleplon (Sonata)
  • zolpidem (Ambien).

The problem with drugs (besides the side effects) is that not all of them will work for everyone.  You’ll need to discuss your options with your doctor if you decide to go the drug route.

References

  1. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucmhtm
  2. http://www.bellaireneurology.com/seizure/epil_trt_neurontin.html
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12867216

Nutritional Approach to Curing Restless Leg Syndrome

As you’ve seen, Restless Legs Syndrome can be caused by a number of serious health problems, including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, nerve damage and kidney disease.  If you suffer from RLS syndrome, you should go to your doctor to make sure that something more serious is not the root of your problem.  If your doctor clears you of these, then there is a good chance that your RLS is caused by nutritional deficiencies and may be relieved in the same way my wife and I helped fix our own symptoms – focused nutrition.

I’ve mentioned earlier that alcohol, tobacco and caffeine can also contribute to RLS.  Therefore, to get a good nights sleep, I recommend you give these up for a while (or permanently).

Hemochromatosis: One more thing before we get into the program and this is serious.  Go to your doctor and make sure your iron levels are normal.  A small percentage of the population suffer from a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis.  Sufferers have abnormally high levels of iron in their body, especially in the liver.   Since this nutritional program looks to supplement those vitamins and minerals that contribute to RLS when deficient, we will be looking to include iron-rich vegetables in the diet. This could be dangerous for someone with hemochromatosis.

Which Nutrients Do We Need to Boost?

As we’ve seen earlier in the article, fruit and vegetables don't have the levels of minerals in them that they use to.  This and the fact we eat so much processed food is probably to blame for a lot of the conditions we suffer from.  For this reason, the nutritional plan that I am going to outline contains the main five nutrients that have been reported to cause RLS, but also a lot of additional vitamins and minerals.  The five main ones we want to concentrate on are:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Iron
  3. Folic acid
  4. potassium
  5. calcium

Since these nutrients are available in raw fruits & vegetables,  I drew up a list of “superfoods” that were rich in these 5 nutrients.  In addition, I looked into herbal teas that could help me fall asleep (more on this later).

Restless Legs Syndrome “Superfoods”

In this section I want to highlight what I call the superfoods when it comes to RLS.  These are the foods that contain high levels of the 5 essential nutrients listed above.

The Superfoods that contain:

  • All 5 of the nutrients:
    spinach – magnesium, folic acid, potassium, calcium, iron
  • 4 of the 5 nutrients
    broccoli – magnesium, iron, folic acid, potassium, calcium
    carrots – magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium
    parsley – magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium
  • 3 of the 5 nutrients
    asparagus – iron, folic acid, potassium
    beet greens – magnesium, iron, calcium
    blackberries – magnesium, iron, folic acid
    cabbage – iron, potassium, folic acid
    cauliflower – magnesium, iron, potassium
    celery – magnesium, potassium, calcium
    dandelion greens – magnesium, iron, calcium
  • 2 of the 5 nutrients
    beets – magnesium, iron
    oranges – calcium, folic acid
  • chard – iron, potassium
    garlic – magnesium, potassium
    kale – folic acid, calcium
    watercress – potassium, calcium
  • 1 of the 5 nutrients
    pineapple – iron
    radishes – potassium
    romaine lettuce – calcium
    strawberries – iron,
    string beans – calcium

Another good way to look at this information is by starting with the nutrient and then listing which fruit or vegetable they are rich in.

Here is that data:

  • Magnesium: Beet greens, spinach, parsley, dandelion greens, garlic, blackberries, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery.
  • Iron: Parsley, dandelion greens, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, strawberries, asparagus, chard, blackberries, cabbage, beets with greens, carrots, pineapple.
  • Folic acid: asparagus, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, oranges, blackberries.
  • Potassium: Parsley, chard, garlic, spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, radishes, cauliflower, watercress, asparagus, cabbage.
  • Calcium: Kale, parsley, dandelion greens, watercress, beet greens, broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, string beans, oranges, celery, carrots.

OK, we know which foods supply the essential vitamins and mineral.   The idea is to eat a range of fresh produce which, as a whole, will provide your body with enough of each element.

You can do this one of two ways:

  1. Eat the fruit and vegetables, preferably raw..
  2. Juice the fruit and vegetables.

When I was treating my own RLS, I mainly concentrated on juicing for my nutrients.  The reason for emphasising juicing was simply that I could “drink” more fruit & veg than I could eat.  This was important bearing in mind the lower levels of minerals in the fresh produce.

Think about that for a minute.

There is a limit to the amount you can physically eat.  You might be able to eat 5 carrots and half a head of broccoli, but you’d probably end up full and feeling a little uncomfortable.  Yet I am sure I could juice those 5 carrots and half a head of broccoli, PLUS 1 beet, 2 oranges, a few leaves of chard, etc, and still end up with a drink that I could consume in one sitting.

What does this mean?

Well it means you can get MORE of the vitamins and minerals by juicing than by just eating the produce.

NOTE: A lot of people wrongly state that by juicing you remove all the pulp.  Not with any juicer I tried.  The only way you’d remove the pulp would be by sieving the juice after it is made.  Freshly made “unsieved” juice contains plenty of pulp (fibre) and the benefits associated with it.

The next section will outline my own, personal plan.

If you DO NOT suffer from any of the medical problems listed above, then this plan should be safe for you as well.  However, do consult your own doctor and ask their advice before starting any nutritional program, including this one.


How I helped my RLS – Nutritional Plan

Dietary changes

I don’t smoke, so this was not something I had to consider, but if you do, now is as good a time as any to give up.

My dietary changes involved a three-pronged attack.

1. Give it Up!

For a couple of weeks, while I was on my juicing plan, I gave up:

  • Alcohol
  • caffeine (tea & coffee, plus soft drink containing caffeine).

2. Supplementing the diet

One thing I added to my daily diet was raw foods chosen from the superfoods listed earlier.  Here are the guidelines I followed:

  • Have a salad with at least one meal per day, using spinach (and dandelion greens if you can get them) instead of lettuce. Add in some grated carrots and a little chopped parsley (leave this out if you are pregnant).  That is the basis of the salad.  Feel free to add in any other fruit or vegetable (even those that are not on the superfood list) to make it taste to your liking.  Make any type of dressing you like, but consider adding in a little crushed garlic to the dressing.
  • Chop up some carrots, cauliflower and celery, and leave them in the fridge. If you get hungry during the day, THESE are your snack.  You can also eat bananas for snacks as these are good sources of potassium, magnesium and folates as well as other nutritionally important vitamins.
  • If you can, find herbal teas that have any of the following in them: chamomile, valerian root or passion flower, and drink before you go to bed. Of the three, valerian is probably the strongest sedative and you should consult your doctor before taking any kind of natural sedative, especially if you are on other medications.  Also, if you are pregnant, these are probably best avoided unless your doctor says it is OK.

In addition, I supplemented my nutrition with fresh juice which I made in the morning.  I’d make about a liter of juice, and have a large glass straight away, then sip the rest throughout the day.

Let’s look at the types of juice you can make.

3. Juicing

A lot of people like to have recipes to juice.  I have always taken a different approach to juicing –  I look in my fridge or store cupboard, and pick up whatever I have available.  It’s a mix and match approach that works well for me.  I guess that after a certain while you begin to know what flavours will work, and what won’t.

When juicing for specific vitamins and minerals, you can still take this mix and match approach, but your choice of fruit and vegetables is guided by the superfoods that contain the specific nutrients.  You can add in other ingredients that are not on the superfood list, but the basis of your juice should be made with superfoods.

I’ll give you some specific recipes in a moment for those that want step by step instructions.  However, for those that want to try a mix-and-match approach, there are a few of guidelines that may help your juices taste better.

IMPORTANT FOR JUICERS: Make sure you thoroughly wash all fruit and vegetables before juicing.  For oranges & lemons, remove the skin (white pith is OK).  If you use apples, remove the pips.


Mix & Match Juicing Tips for the More Adventurous Juicer

Some vegetables have a very strong flavor that can overpower the juice and make it unpleasant.   These include:

  • Watercress
  • Garlic
  • beets (have a strong earthy flavor that some people don’t like)
  • celery (if it is particularly green)
  • radishes

When you make a juice, go lightly on the above ingredients unless you know you like the flavor in your juice.

There are several items you can add to help neutralise strong flavors in your juices.  These include:

  • oranges
  • carrots
  • berries
  • pineapple
  • cucumber (not a great source of the vitamins and minerals we need, but a good overall vegetable to use in your juices).

Recommended Mix-and-match “recipe”

I used a common base when making my juices to ensure I got the absolute best superfoods into my juices.  These would provide the levels of nutrients I needed.

Juice Base:

  • A big handful of spinach.
    Note: if you have a centrifugal juicer, you may not get much juice out of these.  In that case, save your spinach for your daily salad (and buy baby spinach leaves as they are more tender for use in salads).
    If you have a masticating juicer (single or dual gear), then spinach can be juiced a lot more efficiently.  For details on juicers, see my Best Juicer for Beginners
  • 5 carrots
  • A small handful of parsley.
    IMPORTANT: If you are pregnant do not use parsley on salad or in juice as it can be toxic at high levels.  For everyone else, don’t go above a small handful a day
    Again, if you are using a centrifugal juicer, save the parsley for your salads as centrifugal juicers are not very efficient at extracting the juice from fine leaves.  If you are using a masticating juicer, add parsley to your juice.
  • Two good fist sized florets of broccoli.

Put the spinach, carrots, parsley and broccoli in your juicer.  Then add in whatever superfoods you like.  You can add in fruit or vegetables that are not on the superfood list as well.  This will prevent you getting bored of your juices.

You should be aiming to make around one litre of juice every day.  You can drink it all in one go, or drink half of it and sip the rest during the day.  Just keep the leftover in the fridge.

If you want to make extra volume of juice, oranges are excellent, as is cucumber, watermelon and any other juicy fruit.


Juicing Recipes for the less adventurous

Before you start juicing, make sure the produce is well washed to remove any chemicals that might have been used in the production process.

For those that want to follow juice recipes, I have included 5 different recipes below. I recommend you drink 2-3 DIFFERENT juices a day from this list for a period of 5-7 days (try to have all 5 juices over a 2-day period).

You should also be supplementing your diet as mentioned in the “Dietary Changes” section.

While each of these juices focuses on one main nutrient, the recipes do include most if not all of the required 5 nutrients we are trying to boost.

NOTE: If you need to “sweeten” a juice, add in an orange or two (peel removed) and/or a few carrots (washed but not peeled).  These can make most juices taste better.

Recipe #1 – Magnesium Booster

  • 6 carrots, washed but not peeled.
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 beet with the greens.
  • 2 fist sized heads of broccoli
  • One orange (skin removed but white pith is OK).

Recipe #2 – Iron Booster

  • 2 fist sized florets of broccoli
  • 2 fist sized florets of cauliflower
  • 2 carrots
  • half a small pineapple (skin removed).
  • 5 strawberries

Recipe #3 – Folic acid booster

  • 2 fist sized florets of broccoli
  • One quarter of a small green cabbage.
  • 3 oranges (peeled but white pitch is OK).
  • 10 strawberries

Once the juice has been extracted, you can drink it as it is, or for an extra folic acid boost, whiz it up in a blender with half a small papaya to make a smoothie.

Recipe #4 – Potassium Booster

  • 5 swiss chard leaves
  • Small handful of parsley (if you are pregnant, leave this one out).
  • 2 florets of broccoli
  • 5 carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery

Recipe #5 – Calcium booster

  • 5 kale leaves
  • Handful of dandelion leaves if available
  • 2 florets of broccoli
  • 2 oranges, peel removed (white pith is OK)
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots

If you find an ingredient you really don’t like the taste of, just substitute it for one of the other superfoods that contains that nutrient.  You can also adjust ingredient portions if you find the recipes make too much or too little juice with your juicer.


How long before RLS is gone?

Obviously everyone is different – that includes the severity of the problem and the cause of the problem.

I stayed on this program for about a week, but my RLS symptoms were gone within 2 days of starting.  I obviously cannot promise you the same quick relief.

You might find that your RLS disappears while on the program, but once you finish this program, your RLS returns.  If that happens, I would suggest that some of the dietary changes you made should become permanent dietary changes, especially the consumption of more raw fruit and vegetables (especially dark green vegetables like spinach, kale, parsley and chard).

Since I completed this program, I have started regular juicing and try to incorporate the superfoods into my daily juice program (e.g. I still use baby spinach in salads instead of lettuce) and thankfully my RLS has never returned.  In addition, I feel younger, rarely get sick and have a lot more energy than before.  Juicing has become a way of life for me.

I hope this program will help you get rid of your RLS!

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About Andy Williams

In a processed food culture, simply eating may not be enough. Andy Williams, B.SC., Ph.D. is a scientist with a strong interest in Juicing and how it can supply the body with the nutrients it needs to thrive in modern society. You can subscribe to his free daily paper called Juicing The Rainbow and follow him on Facebook orTwitter. You can also follow me on Google +

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