10 of the worst foods and drinks for anxiety
Have you ever felt anxious or nervous after eating or drinking? What you eat and how closely your brain functions are actually related. If you eat the wrong foods, your brain can create a sense of internal panic and trigger a sensation that resembles anxiety. Certain foods, especially those highly processed and high in sugar, increase inflammation in the body and can cause blood sugar spikes. These spikes and drops can affect our mood, exacerbate feelings of anxiety, and almost resemble a panic attack in some cases.
If you feel that anxiety is having an impact on your life, it may be worth considering what you have on your plate. Let’s take a look at 10 foods and drinks that can trigger anxiety:
Soda is all sugar, and no nutrition. Not to mention that its sugar content makes it very addicting and plays with your brain’s incentive / reward system. This can eventually lead to anxious and depressed moods. The high amount of caffeine in sodas and diet sodas can also make anxiety worse.
According to Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE“While it may seem like it calms your nerves, alcohol can negatively impact hydration and sleep, both of which can trigger symptoms of anxiety when suppressed. Alcohol changes the levels of serotonin and neurotransmitters in the brain, exacerbating anxiety. You may become even more worried as the effects of alcohol wear off. If you suffer from anxiety, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether or drink in moderation.
Our daily cup of coffee might actually do more harm than good when it comes to anxiety. “High levels of caffeine can not only increase anxiety and nervousness, but also decrease the production of the well-being chemical serotonin in the body, causing depressed mood,” explains Palinski-Wade. While caffeine is okay in moderation, to avoid anxiety, limit the amount you eat per day. Other popular products contain caffeine, such as tea, chocolate, and some headache medications, and may help increase anxiety.
4. Food additives
Food additives such as aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and food coloring / coloring (including red # 40 and yellow # 5) are neurotoxins that can interfere with function normal nervous system, leading to increased anxiety symptoms. Artificial sweeteners in particular have been shown to block the production of serotonin. While the direct links between artificial food additives and increased anxiety are still being investigated, it is best to avoid these hidden artificial food additives if possible.
5. Processed foods
While it’s no secret that processed meals can adversely affect your overall health, they can have a correlation with increased anxiety. They are high in sodium and sugar and create an inflammatory response in the body. Studies have shown that inflammation has a direct effect on the brain and behavior. It can negatively affect the area of the brain responsible for anxiety.
6. Sweets and candies
High sugar intake has been linked to many different health problems. Some of them include obesity, high blood pressure, and tooth decay. While sugar can provide a temporary energy boost, eventually your blood sugar will drop, leading to fatigue and a bad mood. “Blood sugar can trigger the release of adrenaline and cortisol into the blood, cause anxiety and sometimes even panic attacks.
7. Hydrogenated oil
Partially hydrogenated oil is an ingredient often hidden in packaged foods and can negatively impact mental health. Although this process lengthens the shelf life of packaged food products, it can adversely affect the health of our brains. High intake can negatively affect the ability to deal with everyday obstacles with normal levels of mental strain.
8. Fast food
Junk food and fast food meals, such as pizza, fried chicken, burgers, and fries, have low nutritional content and are difficult to digest. This can lead to bloating, acid reflux, and other gastrointestinal issues, all of which can produce symptoms that trigger anxiety.
9. Foods high in sodium
It’s no secret that too much sodium has a negative impact on the body’s neurological system. High sodium levels cause fatigue and damage the immune system. It can also raise blood pressure and increase pressure on the heart. This causes the body to release adrenaline and, as a result, anxiety. Instead, try opting for more natural forms of salt such as pink Himalayan salt.
10. Refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are foods that have been stripped of much of their fiber and micronutrients. They have been linked to an increased risk of serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. A to study also found that consumption of refined grains was linked to both anxiety and depression in women. Instead, opt for whole wheat or sprouted cereals and breads.
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