Feeling anxious? Avoid these foods

Feeling anxious? Avoid these foods

For those struggling with anxiety, seeking comfort in their favorite foods is often a way of dealing with it. 

Anxiety is a problem that many Americans deal with. The National Center for Health Statistics shows that almost 30% of American adults deal with anxiety.

For those struggling with anxiety, seeking comfort in their favorite foods is often a way of dealing with it. Unfortunately, rather than helping, some of these foods may only worsen symptoms of anxiety. Here are a few of the foods to avoid:

1. Refined Carbs and Sugar

Indulging in that pint of Ben and Jerry's or eating a bag of Oreos may seem like the perfect way to calm your nerves but it does the opposite. Foods high in added sugar or are highly refined cause your blood sugar to spike and then rapidly drop. This stark change cause anxiety symptoms to worsen and can even bring on panic attacks in some people. It's not just the obvious culprits like donuts and cookies that you need to avoid. Condiments like catsup and BBQ sauce as well as fruit juice cocktails and yogurt are all high in added sugars.

2. Bad Fats

Foods high in saturated or partially hydrogenated oils (otherwise known as trans fats) can also trigger anxiety. These kinds of fats contribute to inflammation in the body and inflammation, in turn, affects the brain and can increase the possibility of anxiety in those who are susceptible.

3. Alcohol

While it seems counterintuitive that alcohol would increase anxiety, people who are anxious are more sensitive to its effects. Alcohol floods the brain with dopamine and in the short-term, provides feelings of relaxation and happiness. But when the dopamine levels drop, the anxious feelings return. In addition, alcohol disrupts sleep and this leads to blood sugar spikes.

4. Artificial sweetners

Artificial sweetners are classified as neurotoxins and adversely affect the microbiome and contribute to inflammation. They can also disrupt normal nervous system function resulting in increased anxiousness. Aspartame, in particular, has been found to inhibit the movement of dopamine and serotonin precursors into the brain and may increase the levels of excitatory neurotransmitters making a person more prone to anxiety.

If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, talk to your primary care provider about your symptoms and discuss the best course to manage your symptoms including the best diet options.

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