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Defeating the White Devil: 6 Non-Sugary Foods to Cope With Anxiety

Dr. Nosheen Abbas

1 min read

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Anxiety can wreak havoc on your nerves. For most anxiety sufferers, sugary, oily, and trans-fat laden foods serve as consolation after a bad, anxiety-ridden day. However, this temporary sugar rush and elated sensation does more harm than good, as the easy absorption of sugar in the bloodstream forces the body to maximise insulin production resulting in an ‘energy high’ that often translates into fogginess, irritability, and nervousness for those with anxiety. However, this doesn’t mean you should go over to non-savoury vegetables.

The following foods can serve as excellent replacements for your go-to comfort foods so that you don’t have to book an appointment with a top nutritionist in Lahore soon!


Large reserves of the amino acid tryptophan in this sandwich/sub regular help produce the mood-boosting neurochemical serotonin that also helps regulate sleep; another requirement for effective anxiety management. Other tryptophan-containing foods include bananas, milk, oats, cheese, peanut butter (unsweetened), and sesame seeds.


This salad staple is a rich source of vitamin B6, an integral anti-depression vitamin along with its fellow B vitamins like B12, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. B6 helps relieve stress and reduce anxiety by facilitating serotonin production. However, for those who find the fruit’s slightly bland flavor non-palatable, blend avocados with bananas, vanilla extract, almond milk, and a plant sweetener, and freeze for a delectable frozen dessert.


Albeit tiny, these purple-tinted berries are chock-full of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which, in addition to its numerous body-wide benefits, is an effective source of anxiety prevention and relief. Other berries like strawberries and cherries also provide similar detox benefits.


As the perfect munching alternative to cookies and sugar-infested candies, the magnesium in almonds not only regulates serotonin levels like most of the foods on this list, but is also a known relaxant. Moreover, it prevents stress by barring the entry of stress hormones into the brain. Walnuts are another member of the anti-anxiety nut family that contain fiber, alpha-Linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), protein, and various nutrients. Other sources of magnesium include eggs, leafy greens, legumes, seeds, and avocados.


The gut bacteria have a direct say in mood regulation, which is why adequate consumption of pro-bacteria yogurt, particularly the Greek variety, is excellent for anxiety control. The high-protein content helps stimulate norepinephrine and dopamine production, which greatly improves mental energy, alertness, and dexterity. If you are highly prone to anxiety attacks, enjoy a daily helping of yogurt by adding it to your (non-sugary) breakfast cereal instead of the usual milk. Other foods with similar benefits include fish, lean meats, cheese, beans, eggs, and nuts.


Salmon and its other fatty, omega-3 rich relatives like tuna, herring, sardines, and lake trout multiply the benefits of prescription antidepressants and help the gut bacteria flourish. They also help keep symptoms from worsening by preventing cortisol and adrenaline spikes during times of stress.

While processed sugars are a definite no-go for sufferers of anxiety, consult with your doctor before starting a diet plan or making changes to your current diet. You can also book an appointment with a top Nutritionist in islamabad, Karachi and Lahore through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Nosheen Abbas - Author Dr. Nosheen Abbas is a Dietitian and Nutritionist. Dr. Nosheen Abbas is among the Best Dietitians in Islamabad. She has a MBBS, MSPH and SNHS Dip. (Holistic Nutrition) UK degree along with an experience of 13 years. She is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and its pmdc number is 45457-P.
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