Did you know that certain foods can worsen your anxiety? Many people are aware of comfort foods that help to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety; however, many are not aware that there are foods that worsen anxiety levels. Let’s take a look at the top 8 foods to avoid when you are suffering from anxiety. Removing these foods from your diet can help improve your mood and allow your brain to produce the necessary neurotransmitters.
1. Fruit juices – Fruit juices are filled with sugar. Sugar causes spikes in glucose levels, which hype you up. Unfortunately, as soon as you process these sugars, your energy levels plummet. This can leave you feeling hungry and angry, which can further exasperate your anxiety. Instead of drinking fruit juice, opt for water. Eat fruits whole to slow down how fast your body processes the sugars in fruits
2. Caffeine – Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that stimulates and triggers the fight or flight response. When caffeine is consumed, the body is flooded with stress hormones, which can further increase anxiety levels. Consuming caffeine can cause you to feel jittery, nervous, light-headed and nauseous. Rather than reaching for a caffeinated soda or coffee, choose a delicious cup of herbal tea or decaffeinated soda or coffee.
– Gluten, found in barley, wheat, and rye, is a protein that causes anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, those who suffer from gluten intolerances or celiac disease
are at an increased risk of mood disorders, including anxiety. If gluten is consumed in a patient suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, brain atrophy can begin to occur. Switching to a gluten-free diet can relieve anxiety and depression symptoms
. This is especially beneficial to those who do not respond to traditional treatment methods.
4. Alcohol – Excess alcohol consumption can induce anxiety symptoms. Many people do not realize that alcohol is toxic and if excess amounts are consumed, mental functioning and brain health can be reduced. Alcohol decreases the body’s production of serotonin and causes hypersensitivity in the nervous system. Furthermore, alcohol results in dehydration. When alcohol is consumed, the body turns the alcohol into glucose, which can result in high glucose levels.
5. Dairy products
– Dairy products, including cheese and milk can increase inflammation in the body due to its modulation of the inflammatory processes. This is especially true in individuals who have a milk allergy or sensitivity
. If you suffer from dairy allergies and anxiety, eliminating bovine milk products from your diet and replacing them with almond, cashew or soy-based milk products can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
– Having too much sodium in your diet can negatively impact your neurological system. When the neurological system is negatively impacted, fatigue and sleep issues
can occur. In order to produce the hormones needed to maintain good mental health, the brain needs plenty of rest. When you are not getting the recommended amount of rest, serotonin and other neurotransmitter production can diminish and lead to a host of mood disorders, including anxiety. Although you need a certain amount of salt in your diet, too much of a good thing can be dangerous.
7. Refined sugars – A diet rich in sugar can increase stress and anxiety levels. Although you may be tempted to reach for your favorite sugary dessert when anxiety strikes, you should avoid doing so. Sugar increases your energy, but as soon as your blood sugar levels drop, you will begin experiencing anxiety. When you crave something sweet, reach for a healthy fruit like strawberries, melons or bananas to fulfill your sweet cravings without experiencing the sugar crash and the resulting anxiety spike.
8. Processed foods – Processed and fast foods are filled with preservatives, additives, artificial coloring and flavorings and chemical that can cause inflammation in the body, including the brain. Inflammation causes a decline in your mood and makes it difficult for the brain to produce endorphins.
Although food avoidance will not cure you of your anxiety, it can help improve your mental health. Avoid the aforementioned foods if you suffer from anxiety. Instead, increase calming, comfort foods, including foods rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important nutrient for mood regulation and brain health. To further relieve your anxiety, exercise regularly and practice stress relief methods like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to help relieve your anxiety.