Foods for Anxiety - What Should I Eat?

What foods should I eat and not eat to reduce anxiety?

Is it possible that choosing the right foods to eat could actually help?

Indeed that may be the case for some individuals.

Nutritional deficiencies, such as magnesium and B vitamins, have been linked to certain anxiety disorders.

A balanced diet rich in minerals and vitamins may help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In addition, supplements such zinc, fish oil and calcium may prove to be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Find out below the types of food you should eat and those that you should be avoided...

General Tips on Reducing Anxiety

When eating a meal, avoid eating large meals or skipping meals.

This can cause your blood sugar level to fluctuate. The body will compensate by releasing the hormone adrenaline.

This sudden change in hormone levels may trigger anxiety and panic attacks in some individuals.

It is best to eat more frequent and smaller meals if this is possible at your workplace.

In addition, food allergies have been linked to anxiety and panic attacks in some people. This may be possible in individuals who have a history of allergies.

Eliminating certain foods (such as dairy or wheat) over a course of two weeks at a time can help to isolate possible sensitivities to foods.

This process may take many months (perhaps even years) so patience is absolutely essential. It may also be likely that you might not isolate the cause.

Be aware that for individuals who do not have sensitivities or allergies to foods, this may not be the cause of the anxiety symptoms.


Foods to Eat for Anxiety Control

Leafy green vegetables and whole grains supply substantial amounts of B-vitamins which are essential for reducing stress and maintaining the health of the nervous system.

Complex carbohydrates such as oats, wheat bran and brown rice (all whole grains) supply the body with serotonin, a neurotransmitter to allow brain cells to talk to each other. Serotonin induces a feeling of calmness and elevates the mood.

Magnesium is shown to help reduce anxiety. Foods rich in magnesium includes nuts, salmon, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, broccoli and chicken.

See the article Using Magnesium for Controlling Anxiety for a detailed discussion and some research findings.


Foods to Avoid If You Have Anxiety

Caffeine & Alcohol - These two beverages must be avoided as they can trigger and worsen anxiety for many people. If you are currently drinking more than two cups of coffee daily, cut back slowly to avoid withdrawal side effects.

Be aware that caffeine can also be found in tea, chocolate, caffeinated sodas and certain over-the-counter pain medications. Studies have shown that people suffering from anxiety appeared to be more susceptible to the effects of caffeine.

Sugar - Avoid sweats, pastries and any foods that contain excessive amounts of sugar. Sugar is known to cause swings in blood sugar levels which can lead to mood swings and this may make anxiety symptoms much worse.

Always read the label on the food packages to find out exactly how much sugar they contain. If you need to use sugar, choose raw sugar over white refined sugar. Better yet, use stevia, a natural sweetener.

White Flour Products - Individuals who suffer from panic attack need to avoid eating refined food products such as white flour and white sugar. They are known to deplete the body of vitamin B1 (thiamine) which may lead to increased anxiety.

Additives & Preservatives - Some people who are sensitive to these chemicals can experience anxiety attacks. These chemicals are often found in canned and processed foods.

MSG & Aspartame - Avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame when possible. Monosodium glutamine (MSG) is often added to snacks and canned foods to enhance flavour. Some experts have suggested that MSG is toxic to the nervous system.

Bottom Line

What you eat may make a difference when it comes to coping with anxiety symptoms.

Focus on high-quality foods and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.

Throw in some physical activities, a couple of times weekly and cut back on beverages with caffeine.

Do not try to make all the changes at once. You may likely just give up.

If you take it one step at a time, you are more likely to stick with the changes and realize the benefits.

Indeed changing the type of foods you eat and taking an all natural herbal supplement could may make a difference in your anxiety levels.