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Foods That Can Trigger Anxiety

Here’s why these common foods and drinks can cause anxiety:

Alcohol

Alcohol disrupts neurotransmitters in our brains, making you feel relaxed and confident in the short term. Buuuut, as these effects wear off, the body goes into withdrawal, causing anxiety – a known hangover symptom.

Sugar

Sugary foods like desserts, candy and ice cream, dramatically raise our blood sugar levels. The body reacts by producing a big dose of insulin (the hormone that removes excess sugar from the blood) that actually over-compensates, resulting in a sugar crash. This is a big trigger for anxiety and low mood.

Coffee

Coffee is high in caffeine, which triggers stress hormones that raise the heart rate, release sugar into the blood stream. It can cause jitters and even induce panic attacks, so caffeine is best kept to a minimum if you suffer with anxiety.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks and sodas are packed with sugar/caffeine/artificial sweeteners/other additives, that trigger the anxiety-inducing blood sugar rollercoaster, tax the body of nutrients, disrupt the gut flora and leave you feeling low and depleted. No. Just no!

Bread and baked goods

Bread and baked goods contain gluten, the hard-to-digest protein in wheat. Researchers have linked Celiac disease and gluten intolerances with anxiety symptoms. If you notice an increase in anxiety when you eat these foods, try gluten-free alternatives.

Processed foods

Processed foods deplete your body because they’re devoid of fibre, low in micronutrients, and often contain nasty additives such as monosodium glutamate – a substance that has been linked to anxiety and depression.

Dairy

Dairy foods contain lactose and casein that very commonly trigger an immune response in the gut. The digestive disturbance and inflammation have been linked to anxiety. In fact, a study on autistic children who cut out gluten and casein showed improvements in anxiety (Iranian Journal of Pediatrics, 2008).

 

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