5 Foods To Avoid When You Have Anxiety

5 Foods To Avoid When You Have Anxiety

Approximately 40 million people residing in the US suffer from anxiety disorders. Many people having anxiety put a lot of focus on therapy and even taking medications. However, that is not enough since what you put on your plate may also trigger your symptoms or help manage the condition. Read on to learn which foods and drinks to avoid when living with anxiety to prevent it from worsening.

  1. Refined Carbs

These carbs are divided into two main types; refined grains and refined sugars. In refined grains, the fibrous part which contains nutrients is removed. Examples of these grains include white bread, white rice, and white flour. Examples of refined sugars include sucrose, agave syrup, and corn syrup (high fructose).

Refined carbs are known to increase the risk of getting diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. They worsen anxiety by causing adrenaline spikes, which trigger feelings of anxiety. Aim to take whole grain carbs since they are not only good for anxiety but for other lifestyle conditions too.

  1. Alcohol

While having a little amount of your favorite alcoholic drink is not bad at all, it can be bad for people struggling with anxiety. Alcohol impacts proper physical and mental functioning, as it interferes with serotonin levels in the brain.

It may seem to calm the nerves, but it also impacts sleep and hydration, which triggers anxiety symptoms. However, you can talk to your doctor and ask whether it’s safe for you to take alcohol in moderation. If they suggest that you quit or cut the amounts, it’s always good to do so and take charge of your health. Some of these conditions require lifestyle adjustments and even adopting some programs such as those found at UnwindingAnxiety.com.

  1. Caffeine

Are you a coffee or tea person, and your mornings are never complete if you don’t take a cup? Sadly, your favorite drinks might worsen anxiety symptoms. Caffeine in high levels decreases the production of serotonin in the body, making one get a depressed mood. It can also increase nervousness and anxiety. However, taking Caffeine in low amounts is safe.

According to the FDA, 40 milligrams are considered to be safe and are not associated with negative effects. Forty milligrams are equivalent to four to five cups of coffee. Anything beyond that can worsen the symptoms of anxiety. Many packed foods usually contain information on the amount of Caffeine they contain; you can always check the amount of Caffeine in food to see whether they exceed the daily recommended amounts.

  1. Processed And Fried Foods

Processed foods such as processed cheese and canned soup usually have a lot of salt. Very high amounts of salt make the body release adrenaline to the bloodstream, which can increase anxiety.

Fried foods, on the other hand, are not easy for the stomach to digest. When a person takes them, they can develop gastrointestinal issues that trigger anxiety. Many fried foods also have very low nutritional values, meaning they only make you feel full but don’t offer much benefit to the body.

  1. Gluten

Gluten Is Found In Rye

Gluten is found in rye, wheat, and barley products. It can trigger anxiety symptoms, especially in people who are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease. You can talk to your doctor to get tested for gluten intolerance or celiac disease if you have anxiety. If you are intolerant or have the disease, you can substitute gluten with other products such as buckwheat flour, cornflour, gluten-free oats, millet flour, and sorghum flour.

When you are diagnosed with anxiety, you are usually advised what to do and what to avoid to manage it and avoid its triggers. Cutting down on foods that trigger anxiety is crucial in managing the condition, alongside other methods such as going for therapy sessions and taking medications. However, you should not substitute diet for professional help. If you feel like some foods not mentioned above trigger anxiety symptoms, you can talk to your therapist for advice.

The conclusion from the points

If you suffer from anxiety, then you know that the symptoms can be challenging to manage. It’s difficult enough to get through your day when you’re anxious and on edge without having to worry about what foods might trigger a panic attack or bout of irritability.

The good news is that there are some food triggers that can definitely aggravate anxiety symptoms. Here are five you should know about:

Refined Carbs

When your blood sugar is high, there’s a good chance that anxiety will settle in as well. For this reason, it’s best to limit the number of refined carbs you consume on a daily basis. This includes white bread and pasta as well as sugar-sweetened drinks.


It’s best to avoid alcohol if you suffer from anxiety. It doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of an anxious episode, but it does prolong the recovery time once one occurs. If you want to drink, opt for red wine instead of beer or cocktails made with fruit juice and soda. The fermentation process gives red wine a healthier dose of antioxidants.


Caffeine is another trigger for many people with anxiety, so it’s best to limit your intake if you know this is an issue. It can stimulate the production of stress hormones in your body and cause a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure levels. For this reason, it’s best to limit yourself to fewer than 200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day.

Processed And Fried Foods

The high amounts of saturated fats in processed foods can cause inflammation in the body, which will only aggravate your anxiety symptoms. Stay away from foods like fried chicken and french fries. Instead, opt for lean cuts of meat and baked or grilled fish instead.


If you suffer from anxiety, then gluten is another food that should be avoided at all costs. It causes inflammation and aggravates nearly every system in the body ( 2 ). On top of this, there is a nutritional component: gluten-containing foods are devoid of many essential vitamins and other nutrients that can help you stay healthy.

The fact that gluten also contributes to the production of stress hormones only makes it worse for those with anxiety issues. Gluten is found primarily in grains like wheat, rye, spelled, and other sources, so are sure to check food labels carefully before you buy.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand that correlation does not equal causation – just because these foods can make anxiety worse, it doesn’t necessarily mean they cause it (in most cases). But if you’ve already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and notice your symptoms worsening after you consume one of the trigger foods listed above, then you might consider avoiding them altogether.

The list of foods to avoid can be overwhelming, so it’s best to focus on the ones that are causing you the most trouble first. Keep in mind that this is just one strategy among many for managing anxiety. But if these triggers are causing more problems than they’re worth, then it may be worth your while to cut them out of your life.

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