After eating or drinking, some people may feel anxious, nervous, wired, and jumpy. However, they may not make the link between these feelings and their foods or beverages.
“They don’t feel like they can settle down,” according to Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist in Massachusetts. “It’s almost a sense of internal panic when they eat particular foods but they don’t know the food they’ve eaten is causing it,” she explains.
Certain food components that cause blood sugar spikes might lead to more anxiety or trigger emotions, according to Maggie Michalczyk, a licensed dietitian from Chicago.
Foods to Avoid to Lower Anxiety
Here are the top five worst foods, drinks, and components to eat for anxiety:
1. Cakes, cookies, sweets, and pies are some of the common foods that cause anxiety.
Sugar-rich foods can produce blood sugar surges, which are linked to worry, according on Michalczyk. Stay away from foods that have been sweetened and save them for special occasions only. If you want something sweet, try fresh fruit such as cherries, blueberries, plums, peaches, persimmons, and nectarines instead.
2. Sugary drinks.
Fruit juice and soda pop are often sweetened with a lot of sugar. A 12-ounce can of soda, for example, has 8 to 13 tspns of sugar, depending on the kind. Many fruit juices are high in sugars but lack the fiber found in fruits. Fiber delays digestion and helps you avoid blood sugar spikes by slowing down your body’s absorption rate.
3. Processed cheeses, meats, and ready-made dinners
These foods are linked to inflammation, which may cause anxiety. These foods don’t have much fiber and have been shown to alter the gut microbiome, according to Devine. Your microbiome is a community of bacteria that live in your digestive tract. A healthy microbiome promotes optimal health by aiding proper body functions.
4. Coffee, energy drinks and tea.
Tea, Coffee and energy drinks can all increase anxiety. “The more you drink caffeine, the more likely anxiety will flare,” Devine adds. According to research, coffee drinkers who drink more than 5 cups a day are at an increased risk of experiencing anxiety. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in your peripheral and central nervous systems, which causes them to be activated. “Adenosine is involved in regulating the body’s fight-or-flight response.”
5. Artificial sweeteners.
“Artificial sweeteners, diet soda, and other sugar-free drinks have been connected to anxiety in some people,” Naidoo explains. Although they might be OK for some individuals, others are severely affected, she says. “Artificial sweeteners have been linked to neuropsychiatric issues including anxiety, according to a study published in the Feb. 12 issue of Frontiers in Psychiatry,” she adds.