Stress and Anxiety Symptoms: 5 Foods to Avoid for Relief | Integrated Counseling and Wellness

Stress and Anxiety Symptoms: 5 Foods to Avoid for Relief

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Avoid These 5 Foods to Help Relieve Your Stress and Anxiety Symptoms

Everyone knows that eating right is important to overall health. But, did you know that certain foods can actually contribute to stress and anxiety symptoms, making them worse?  Knowing which foods to avoid can be helpful in reducing your anxiety levels and living a more stress-free life.

Anxiety Food to Avoid #1:  Artificial Sweeteners, Coloring, and Dyes

There may be a connection between artificial food additives and mood, according to The Today Show’s Health and Wellness section.  These can include:

  • High fructose corn syrup.
  • Food dyes and coloring.
  • MSG

These additives are neurotoxins and can negatively impact the nervous system. Whenfood shopping buy foods that are fresh and have not been processed. If the food is packaged, study the ingredients carefully to check for any additives.

Anxiety Food to Avoid #2:  Gluten says that gluten can be a cause of anxiety, especially if you eat a lot of it. Also, wheat that is not grown organically may have been treated with the herbicide glyphosate, which can cause a loss of nutrients the body needs, including minerals that contribute to mood.

Anxiety Food #3:  Apple Juice

Another culprit on’s list of foods to avoid is apple juice.  This is because many apple juices are high in fructose (sugar) and low in fiber, which could cause a rapid increase in blood sugar. The result is a release of adrenaline that can make it seem like you are having a panic attack.  In addition apple juice could contain arsenic.

Anxiety Food to Avoid #4:  Coffee

Coffee does have some positive health benefits, such as antioxidants, as well as having a positive impact on health conditions like diabetes. However, the caffeine in coffee could be a problem for people looking to relieve their stress and anxiety symptoms. Caffeine can make people jittery, contributing to their anxiety. Other foods and drinks that have caffeine include:

  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Energy bars and drinks.
  • Soda
  • Ice cream

Anxiety Food to Avoid #5:  Fast Food

Fast food contains sugar, fats, lots of empty calories, and undergoes a lot of processing that includes chemical dyes and adding MSG. In other words, fast food is a perfect storm that can wreak havoc on both your mental and physical health.
If you are looking to reduce your anxiety symptoms, don’t go to the fast food restaurant or even the quick sit-down restaurant for your next meal. When you do eat out, choose places that use healthy whole foods. When in doubt, ask the server what’s in your meal.

So What Foods Should I Eat?

Great question! Luckily, the website has several ideas for foods that can help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms. These include:

  • Turkey: contains tryptophan, which is related to serotonin, one of the “feel-good” chemicals.
  • Beef: contains B vitamins along with eggs, pork, and chicken.
  • Fresh Leafy Greens: another source of B vitamins and other nutrients. Try spinach or kale.
  • Salmon: a great source of omega-3 fatty acids helpful for combatting heart disease.
  • Greek Yogurt: contains protein that helps with brain chemicals.
  • Beans, Soy, and Lentils: good sources of protein.

Not sure if you are getting the right nutrients for your diet? Consider consulting a nutritional therapist who can advise you on nutritional supplements and help you maintain your mental health.
Knowing which foods to avoid and which to eat is important not only for your overall health, but for the health of your brain too. Eating well can help reduce your stress and anxiety symptoms, and contribute to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well.

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