4 food items that may exacerbate anxiety symptoms

4 food items that may exacerbate anxiety symptoms

An emerging body of literature continues to support that some food items have a calming effect on the mind while some can worsen anxiety symptoms. Therefore, for an individual grappling with an anxiety disorder, it is always prudent to be mindful of selecting food items. Listed below are some food items that must be eliminated or reduced from the diet, for their fear of worsening anxiety symptoms.


An individual susceptible to anxiety is advised by health care professionals to avoid white or refined sugar, commonly present in processed foods, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. After consumption of sugar, one might feel energetic for a while because of the burst of energy, however, soon, this blood sugar level drops, manifesting symptoms of fatigue. When the sugar levels drop down further, low blood sugar level or a state of hypoglycemia is induced that might lead to anxiety. When the sugar levels oscillate frequently between high and low levels, adrenaline and cortisol hormones are released,  causing anxiety and panic attacks. Therefore, to prevent such symptoms from manifesting, one should always be mindful of keeping the blood sugar levels constant.


People across the globe feel compelled to have a cup of coffee before they set out to do their routine tasks because coffee has caffeine, which acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. However, caffeine might cause irritability, nausea, diarrhea, restlessness, agitation and insomnia. Caffeine can produce heart palpitations and an elevated blood pressure. Tea, coffee and almost all aerated beverages are laced with caffeine and while caffeine might induce short-term agility, it might exacerbate anxiety and panic systems in already susceptible people. In addition, the human body produces adenosine hormone, which primarily slows down the CNS. On the other hand, caffeine antagonizes this effect and produces an alertness which might be detrimental to the health of those, already predisposed to coffee inducing anxiety.


No matter how contradictory it may sound, but alcohol does play a role in developing anxiety symptoms. After a long week of grueling office, it seems natural to have a drink or two with friends to unwind. While alcohol might initially calm someone’s nerve and induce sleep, the problem arises when the effects start wearing off. The metabolism of alcohol is dependent on age, gender, genetic factors, but most importantly on the quantity of alcohol consumed. So when alcohol gets metabolized from the blood stream of an individual, the calming or sleep-inducing effect starts wearing off, resulting in restless sleep, disturbing dreams, acute anxiety and even panic attacks. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic and thus, can cause dehydration, leading to impaired cognitive functions and hence, anxiety.


As per reports, gluten; a protein found primarily in wheat, rye and barley products is associated with a plethora of disorders, including anxiety. One must be tested for gluten intolerance before modifying the diet. If it is established, one should quit consuming all products containing gluten.

Reaching out

One can successfully eliminate anxiety-inducing food from the diet by keeping and maintaining a journal. However, sometimes, this might not suffice and one might need intervention to overcome the symptoms. Anxiety disorders, in extreme cases, do not fade away on their own. It might be useful to seek professional help if self-help strategies do not work. If you or someone you know is grappling with such a situation, contact the Anxiety Disorder Helpline to get details about the most effective anxiety disorder treatment centers in the USA. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-7951 or chat online to know about the anxiety disorder treatment clinics in the USA.

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