According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US affecting over 40 million adults. Although there are many causes of anxiety there are some common foods that may be making your anxiety worse or even be causing your anxiety in the first place. So we have put together a list of 5 common foods that might be making you anxious.
I know that we all love that early morning cup of Joe but your shot of caffeine could be contributing to your anxiety. Caffeine in everything from coffee to chocolate is a stimulant, which can be bad news for someone suffering with symptoms of anxiety. Caffeine can make even the calmest person sometime feel nervous and moody and can affect your ability to sleep deeply which may lead to fatigue. Another cause of anxiety.
Processed junk foods especially those high in refined sugars feed harmful, abnormal bacteria in our gut and lead to an imbalance of our gut flora. Researchers have found that the health of your gut bacteria may be the biggest factor determining your moods and anxiety levels. One study took gut bacteria from active and exploratory mice and colonized more passive mice with it. They also ran the study the other way round with the active and exploratory mice colonized with gut bacteria from the passive mice. What happened was that the passive mice became more active and the active mice became more passive. The study implies that any change in your gut bacteria can cause a change in your mood & behaviour.
3. Food Additives & Artificial Sweeteners
Many people suffer from mood swings after eating food additives like artificial flavours, colours & sweeteners. Avoid them where possible or if you do have something with an artificial dye or sweetener try to monitor how you feel afterwards. Many artificial sweeteners & colourings are neurotoxins and can disrupt the normal functioning of your nervous system resulting in increased feelings of anxiety.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been found to trigger panic attacks in some people. Added to many processed foods, MSG could be contributing to your anxiety. 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 as well as donuts, muffins & other pastries can cause large fluctuations in your blood sugar. Blood sugar crashes can have a big impact on your anxiety levels so try substituting your potatoes with some sweet potato or a whole grain like quinoa or millet and make sure you are having some protein or healthy fat with your starchy foods if you are going to have them. This levels out your blood sugar and help you to avoid the highs and lows experienced after refined carbohydrates.
All these are some general foods to perhaps avoid, everyone is different and therefore foods that may trigger anxiety or panic attacks in you may not in other people. Be a detective. Keep a food diary so you can pinpoint foods that make you feel good, and those that don’t. If you find a link between what you’re eating and your anxiety levels then eliminate that food and see what happens. You may be sensitive or allergic to a particular food and that is the cause of your anxiety.
Let us know in the comments below, are there foods that you have already discovered make you anxious?
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