Feeling Anxious? Don’t Eat These

Whether you suffer from anxiety chronically or just occasionally, what you eat might play a bigger role in exacerbating it, than you might think.

If you suffer from anxiety, eating can be one of the things you naturally turn to for comfort and to reduce feelings of stress. Although that in itself isn’t necessarily a problem, if the foods you’re reaching for include things like heavily processed foods, excess amounts of caffeine and foods containing sugar and artificial sweeteners, it may be that these foods are responsible for making your anxiety worse.

In the case of sugar, once the initial energy boost has worn off, blood sugar levels drop meaning that the body feels lethargic and sluggish. This causes the body to release stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, which worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Foods that are highly processed are another culprit. More often than not, they contain excessive levels of salt which can raise blood pressure and put the heart under increased strain. This leads to the body releasing more adrenaline into the body. Caffeine, when consumed in small amounts is often tolerated by people with anxiety, but when drunk in large quantities it can have an adverse effect. Because it stimulates the nervous system, too much of it can directly affect your mood, leading to irritability, insomnia and palpitations. Caffeine also hinders the absorption of key vitamins, including B vitamins that are responsible for helping the body to relax and induce calm.

If you’re looking to help improve your anxiety, eating the right diet can have a big impact. As a rule, stick to whole, unprocessed foods, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and ensure you keep well hydrated with plenty of water. Aim to increase the amount of complex carbs you eat, such as oats, quinoa and wholegrain bread as they’re thought to trigger the production of serotonin in the brain. Eating something protein-rich for breakfast is also a good idea as it’ll help keep your blood sugar steady and provide plenty of energy to start the day. A healthy shake made with oats, banana, nut milk and two scoops of Workshop's Organic Vanilla Pea Protein Formula is a great place to start.