coffee beans

As normal human beings, we tend to anticipate the future with sometimes scary predictions that may not, and mostly don’t necessarily have any basis in truth. In principle, anxiety is apprehension over an upcoming event; physical and emotional responses to perceived dangers. Symptoms, for example chronic worrying and hot flushes are red alerts that your body and brain are stuck in flight or fight mode.

In everyday life, anxiety’s physical and emotional symptoms can mean;

  • An increased heart rate.
  • Poor concentration at work and school.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • Being totally cranky towards family, friends, and co-workers.

We often blame our jobs or family life, but what’s on our plate can also turn up the tension. There are lots of options available to manage your anxiety symptoms. But if you’re looking to reduce daily anxiety, cut your intake of these anxiety-boosting 5 foods and you will be on your way to reclaim that inner calm no time.

1.      Caffeine

Caffeine which is in everything from coffee to chocolate is a stimulant, bad news for someone suffering with symptoms of anxiety. Side effects of caffeine intake can include heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

Instead, try; Avoid energy drinks, drink more water, and decaffeinated tea and coffee, and ask the barista for only a single shot in your long black and switch to drinks such as dandelion coffee and herbal tea.

2.      Sugar

Sugar depletes us of key nutrients that help with anxiety (magnesium, zinc and chromium) and fills us up so we don’t eat healthy food in addition to containing fructose, which produces a spike in our levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Sugar can also leads to a roller-coaster of mood swings as it affects blood sugar. Research from Princeton University suggests that for sugarholics, this could mean anxiety episodes every time sugar intake becomes low.

Instead, try; Watch out for sneaky sugar sources such as fructose in low-fat and processed foods, glucose and dextrose.

Progressively reduce the amount of sugar you add to tea or cereal.

3.      Food Additives & Artificial Sweeteners

Food dyes and artificial sweeteners are neurotoxins that are capable of disrupting normal nervous system function, subsequently leading to increased symptoms of anxiety. Many people report mood swings and anxiety after ingesting man-made sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, food dyes and flavorings like MSG.

Instead, try: Try to home-cook some meals from scratch, snack on vegetable sticks or small handfuls of raw nuts and use natural food additives.

4.      MSG

Found in many processed foods, MSG could be contributing to your anxiety. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in frozen entrees, salad dressings, soups, chips, and many restaurant foods and has been found to trigger panic attacks in some people. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death.

Try this instead; Avoid eating processed foods where possible. Whole foods will help your anxiety and give you more energy.

5.      Starchy Foods

Starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, breads, pasta, bagels and cookies can cause large fluctuations in your blood sugar. Blood sugar crashes can have a big impact on your anxiety levels. Other grains such as Rye, Oats and Barley can be culprits as well, if they contain gluten which irritates the digestive tract.

Try this instead; substitute your potatoes with some sweet potato or a whole grain like millet or quinoa and ensure you have some protein or healthy fat alongside your starchy foods.

All these are some general foods to perhaps avoid, if you struggle from anxiety try ditching these five foods in order to see if you start feeling better.  The next step is helping your body to get the nutrition it needs from the right foods and supplements. Everyone is different and therefore foods that may trigger anxiety or panic attacks in you may not in other people. So, be a detective; be keen on identifying foods that make you feel good, and those that don’t.