Foods to avoid if you suffer from anxiety

Some health problems improve with the adoption of dietary guidelines. Recently, the relationship between food and mood has also become known. For this reason, many wonder if there are foods to avoid in case of anxiety.

Knowing what is beneficial or harmful is useful for improving the quality of life and obtaining better therapeutic results. In the following article, we reveal the latest insights into nutrition and anxiety, a disease on the rise in the modern world.

What is anxiety and what is its relationship with food?

Generalized anxiety disorder is a common and often disabling illness. It is characterized by the appearance of fear and excessive worry in relation to common events or problems.

Anxiety is accompanied by some physical symptoms, such as palpitations, muscle tension, chest tightness, irritability or difficulty concentrating. With increasing incidence, in some cases it can clearly affect social, work and personal relationships.

various studies suggest that there is a relationship between optimal nutrition and better mental health outcomes. A Mediterranean-style diet, characterized by the presence of olive oil, fruit and vegetables, fish and nuts, appears to have a protective effect.

On the contrary, there is a negative relationship between diet western and episodes of anxiety and depression. This way of eating is gaining followers, especially among the teenage population. It is characterized by the presence of fast food, fried foods, sweets, refined flours, processed meats and few vegetables.

Some of the possible explanations are the ability of some foods to create a pro-oxidative and inflammatory environment. Also the lack of essential and positive nutrients, such as zinc, folate and magnesium.

In both cases, it is clear that diet affects mood and mental health. Certain eating patterns can improve symptoms.

Anxiety and junk food.
A diet of fried foods, refined flours, and fast foods may be prone to increase anxiety symptoms.

What kind of food should you avoid if you suffer from anxiety?

A large proportion of people living with anxiety seek out therapies to manage their symptoms. And given the scientific data that we will present, it seems that removing the following foods from the diet can help improve the situation.


There are many people who consume coffee in the morning. Ingesting moderate doses of caffeine is considered safe and has benefits for the body. But it also has its downside.

As stated by American Psychiatric Associationtoo much caffeine can have side effects, such as irritability, nervousness and sleep problems.

High doses of more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day can lead to anxiety, excitement and agitation or make an existing anxiety disorder worse.

Energy drinks

These types of beverages should be eliminated from the diet at all costs. as they provide no benefit and have been linked to multiple health issues.

In reference to the nervous system, they are known for their ability to improve attention, mood and energy performance. But the effects of long-term consumption must also be taken into account.

For the moment the scientific proof show a relationship between the consumption of energy drinks and some mental problems. Among these is anxiety, but also depression and stress. However, further analysis is needed to determine if causality exists.


Alcohol intake clearly affects the central nervous system. Although it may have a calming effect at first, it gradually becomes more nervous and disturbs sleep.

It also changes the levels of serotonin and neurotransmitters in the brain, which makes feelings of anxiety worse.

Added sugar and artificial sweeteners

This ingredient is not recommended for those people who are more prone to anxiety and depression issues.. A publication in Scientific reports revealed that a diet high in sugar could influence mood disorders in both men and women.


Gradually the evidence shows the negative effects of this type of food in the diet. In relation to mood and anxiety disorders, the problem lies in the ingredients of its composition.

Most of them contain trans fats, saturated fats and high amounts of salt, sugar and refined flours. Therefore, it is believed that They are low nutrient and high energy foods..

How do they conclude the authors of recent analyses, an unhealthy diet is associated with significantly more symptoms of anxiety and depression than a Mediterranean-style diet. This is also known to affect the severity of symptoms.

Tips and recommended foods to avoid anxiety

One of the premises to take into consideration is that there is no diet to cure anxiety. However, experts agree that certain dietary guidelines are more conducive to managing the situation.

In an article published by Harvard University, the doctor of psychiatry Uma Naidoo lays the foundations of what should be an adequate diet for this purpose. The main recommendations are as follows:

  • stay hydrated with the choice of water as the drink of choice.
  • Avoid skipping meals as this destabilizes blood sugar levels.
  • Base your diet on fresh foods and mostly composed of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fiber and complex carbohydrates allow for better blood sugar regulation, promoting a feeling of calm.
  • The addition of olive oil, fish, lean meat, legumes and dried fruit completes the supply of vitamins and mineral salts necessary for the correct functioning of the nervous system.

Specific foods to reinforce in the diet

There are some specific foods that can be reinforced in the diet to improve symptoms attributed to anxiety. Among these we find the following:

  • Products with magnesium: green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hazelnuts and brown rice. These provide good amounts of magnesium.
  • Presence of zinc: This mineral is found in foods such as oysters, cashews, pumpkin seeds, meat and egg yolks.
  • Salmon: brings omega-3 fatty acids, whose function is to regulate the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters have calming and relaxing properties.
  • Probiotics: such as sauerkraut, yogurt or kefir. These can reduce anxiety. This is suggested by this journal study Research in psychiatry, although the exact mechanisms are currently unknown.
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spices: ginger and turmeric.
Salmon and green vegetables for anxiety.
Consuming salmon and green vegetables ensures an intake of omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc useful against anxiety.

There are foods to avoid if you suffer from anxiety

Nutrition and mood are associated. And although there are few existing studies, a positive relationship is known between a healthy eating pattern and a lower risk of anxiety and depression problems.

As a general rule, the products consumed are recommended to be high in healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. While it is necessary to separate processed foods, high in calories and with added sugars.

These changes may improve feelings of well-being and mood, but won’t interfere with any medical treatment. Other positive changes include improved sleep habits, stress management, and regular exercise.

The implementation of these rules never replaces the guidelines and advice of the therapist.. Instead, it is advisable to implement all dietary changes to best meet each person’s needs.

The post Foods to Avoid if You Have Anxiety appeared first in Better With Health.



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