Top 9 Anxiety Causing Foods to Avoid

Dr. Aqeel Ahmed

3 min read

foods that cause anxiety

Even though your diet isn’t necessarily responsible for your anxiety, what you eat can make it better or worse. Your mood is affected by what you eat and changing your diet may help to alleviate some of the anxiety symptoms. It is a good idea to take a comprehensive approach to treat anxiety that involves quality sleep, meditation, yoga, gut health, and nutrition. Just like eating some healthy foods such as leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, and magnesium-rich foods can help your symptoms, some can worsen them. Here are some foods that cause anxiety that you should avoid to reduce it.

1- Caffeine:

It can be difficult to break off this habit if your day doesn’t start without a cup of tea or coffee. People believe that caffeine-laden beverages boost their energy levels. However, caffeine may suppress serotonin levels in the brain. When this happens, you may feel low and irritable. Caffeine is a diuretic which means it will make your body expel more salt and water in the form of urine. This can make you feel dehydrated and anxious. Caffeine may also make it difficult for you to fall asleep, stressing you out further. You may feel jumpy and anxious if you are not able to sleep properly.

2- Fried Foods:

Fried foods are devoid of any nutritional value, contribute to heart problems, and are difficult to digest. It can be difficult to reduce anxiety if your body is not able to process the food you eat properly.

3- Packed Juices:

The beverages that you buy from stores are usually full of sugar. Fruit juices contain fructose, a kind of sugar found in vegetables and fruits. Fructose is processed by the body in the liver and it is not your body’s preferred source of energy. When you eat fruits and vegetables, you do not absorb a lot of fructose because of the fiber. However, juices do not have fiber and you end up over consuming fructose. This can worsen anxiety symptoms.

4- Fast Food:

Fast food is often viewed as comfort food, but it can induce anxiety. Even though you might enjoy fast food, your body will react hours later. Fast food meals are a toxic combination of preservatives, unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, and coloring which may create imbalances in your brain. Fast food meals lack omega 3 fatty acids and this can induce anxiety and depression. Fast food also contains refined carbs that can cause blood sugar to fluctuate. When the blood sugar dips, you may experience fatigue and anxiety.

5 – Soda

Sodas are not a substitute for any drink. All they have is blood-spiking sugar of fruit and not a trace of nutrition. Moreover, depression is directly linked to sugar-sweetened drinks like soda. Having seltzer water with a touch of juice is a good choice when your aching for a soda. It’ll provide the bubbly water you want without giving unnecessary stuff excessively.

6 – Toast

Well, this might be a shocker for you, but yes toast made from white bread. The white flour it’s made from is highly processed and it immediately turns to blood sugar after eating. Consequently, these can be unacceptable for depression and anxiety because they cause energy spikes and crashes. No worries, you can eat your toast, just make sure it is whole-grain bread.

7 – Ketchup

You thought it was mostly tomatoes, right? Well, a lot of sugar as well. To be exact, four grams per tablespoons. The stuff that you call “light” might contain artificial sweeteners which could be associated with anxiety and depression. Instead, try homemade salsa with a touch of cayenne pepper.

8 – Energy Drinks

Weird rhythms, anxiety, and sleep issues can all be caused by energy drinks. The reason is the ingredients like guarana, that have sky-rocketing caffeine levels. Moreover, they have a high amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Want sugar? Have fruit. Thirsty? Drink water.

9 – Aged, fermented, and cultured foods

In theory, a meat-and-cheese plate with a glass of red wine might seem relaxing, but according to science it is not. Beef, milk, and grapes are whole foods that are sold after they are cured, fermented and cultured. For example, steak, cheese, and wine. But along the procedure, food proteins are broken down by the bacteria into biogenic amines, which include histamine. Histamine, a neurotransmitter, irritates digestion, hormones, the cardiovascular and nervous systems as well. People affected by this have a higher chance of anxiety and insomnia.

A remedy for histamine intolerance is to always use fresh, whole foods. The “packed on” date of meat and fish can be a help. The quicker it gets to your table from the place it was created, the better.

If you have been under a lot of stress lately and find it hard to cope with it, it is recommended that you visit a specialist doctor and get help. You can book an appointment with a top Psychologist in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com. You can also 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. Aqeel Ahmed - Author First-ever Pakistani Doctor nominated by UNFPA Pakistan for American UNFPA award for women health and dignity in 2009. She also has a live programme on tv channel from Islamabad for health awareness. She has also written easy bottlenecks in the management of diabetes. She has a Live programme on FM radio 103 and specializes in Antenatal care (how to take care of women from the day of conceived up to delivery). If you wish to read her healthcare articles and advice, please visit the following links: