Foods That Can Help Or Harm Your Anxiety

By Katy Gilligan
Updated September 9, 2016
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Foods That Can Help Or Harm Your AnxietyAnxiety affects 40 million people in the United States, making it the most common disorder nationwide. Although anxiety disorders affect so many people, most sufferers do not know how to treat their anxiety. There are many different remedies to aid in the treatment of anxiety, including medications and regular exercise. However, the easiest way to help aid anxiety is by changing your diet. This is a good first step for anxiety sufferers to take because it is simple and not overwhelming, making it a step that doesn’t trigger any anxiety symptoms. Some foods and drinks can be very harmful, and even trigger anxiety symptoms. By taking these foods and drinks out of everyday diet and substituting them with something else, anxiety symptoms can be reduced.

Food To Avoid: Coffee Or Caffeinated Drinks

Anxiety can be linked with a lack of sleep, and often sufferers of anxiety will drink coffees, sodas, teas and energy drinks to keep them awake after a restless night. However, this could be more harmful than helpful.  Caffeine can inhibit levels of serotonin (a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance) in the brain. This leads to suppressed serotonin levels, which can make a person become depressed or irritable. Caffeine also is a diuretic, causing people to go to the restroom more often. This can cause dehydration, which can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Caffeine also keeps people up, which will only hinder the sleep that anxiety sufferers already have problems getting.

Replace This Food With: Water

Water may seem to be a boring beverage choice, but it will only help with the symptoms of anxiety. By replacing caffeinated beverages with water, you are hydrating your body, keeping it healthy and happy. If plain water does not seem like a good choice, try putting lemons, limes and other fruits in it to make it a tastier decision. By taking out caffeine from a daily diet and replacing it with water, it is ultimately taking away a major anxiety trigger, lessing the chance for any anxiety attacks.

Food To Avoid: Candies And Sweets

Often times, people will turn to sweets for a quick pick-me-up. However, anxiety sufferers need to avoid these tempting treats. It gives a very quick “sugar high”, because the sugar is absorbed quickly into the blood stream. The sugar will make people feel like they have energy and give them a high that they wouldn’t regularly have. This wears off very quickly. This is due to the fact that the body increases its insulin production to remove the sugar from the bloodstream. This will leave a person feeling low and tired, which is not beneficial. Anxiety sufferers will experience sudden mood changes from very energized to completely tired, which can trigger an anxiety attack.

Replace This Food With: Fruit

Fruit is not only a healthier choice that will ultimately benefit anyone, but it gives the body natural sugar that will not be taken out of the bloodstream. Choosing fruit instead of candy will give anxiety sufferers good, natural energy. Along with this, many people who suffer from Panic Disorder will find choosing a healthier option beneficial, as many people afflicted with Panic Disorder worry about their health and often have panic attacks because of these worries. By eating fruit, they are eliminating a potential panic attack.

Food To Avoid: Alcohol

After a stressful day, or a particularly anxiety ridden day, many people who have anxiety want to reach for a bottle of alcohol to help unwind. This is not a good idea, as alcohol is a depressant. It may feel good at first. Alcohol can take your mind off of certain anxieties, and even boost confidence in social situations. However, alcohol affects the levels of serotonin in the brain, making the anxiety worse after consumption. There is also the risk of alcohol-induced anxiety, which can last a whole day after drinking. A person who has social anxiety can also be at risk to create an alcohol problem, depending on alcohol for confidence in social situations.

Replace This Food With: Water Or Natural Fruit Juices

Try water and breathing deeply after a stressful day. Even a walk around the block can help take the edge off. Natural fruit juices, with no added sugar can also be helpful to an anxious person, giving them something sweet that will not make them feel tired after drinking it, like unnatural sugars do. When trying to avoid alcohol, almost any drink choice is a better choice than reaching for a bottle that could cause more anxiety than a person already has.





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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.