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11 Anxiety Causing Foods To Stay Away From

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 11 Anxiety Causing Foods To Stay Away From

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According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 18% of Americans are affected by anxiety. While medication can help manage anxiety in some individuals, it's important to note that certain foods can also contribute to anxiety and anxiety-like symptoms.
With the guidance of a healthcare professional and through an elimination diet, it may be possible to reduce or eliminate the need for medication by cutting out these 11 anxiety-inducing foods. Surprisingly, some of the foods on this list are commonly consumed, and you may be consuming them without realizing their potential impact on your anxiety levels.

1. Caffeine

While caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, it can also lead to anxiety. Firstly, caffeine suppresses serotonin in the brain, leading to feelings of depression and irritability. Secondly, it has diuretic effects, potentially causing dehydration which can contribute to feelings of depression. Lastly, it can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to increased stress.
Reducing your intake of coffee, soda, and hot chocolate may result in improved sleep quality and reduced jitteriness.


2. Sugar

The rapid spike in blood sugar caused by sugar consumption can lead to feelings of anxiety. Increased insulin production due to sugar intake can also result in fatigue.
It's important to note that fruit juice can be as detrimental as soda in terms of rapidly raising blood sugar levels. Without the fiber from whole fruit, fruit juice essentially becomes a source of added sugars.
While sweets and treats may provide temporary pleasure, they can lead to subsequent feelings of anxiety. Minimizing sugar intake can be beneficial for managing anxiety.


3. Hidden Sugar

Even when avoiding obvious sources of sugar like sweets and sodas, it's essential to be aware of the various names under which sugar can be disguised in processed foods. Many processed foods contain hidden sugars, such as spaghetti sauce, ketchup, low-fat yogurt, granola, and vitamin water. These hidden sugars can elevate cortisol and adrenaline levels, contributing to feelings of anxiety.
Being vigilant about reading food labels can help in managing anxiety levels.


4. White Flour

White flour can essentially act as a hidden source of sugar in the body as it is processed into sugar by the body. Consuming products made with white flour, such as sandwiches, cakes, and pastries, can lead to blood sugar spikes and subsequent increases in cortisone and adrenaline levels, resulting in feelings of anxiety.
Opting for whole grains over products made with white flour can help maintain lower anxiety levels.


5. Alcohol

Alcohol, despite its initial depressant effects, can ultimately lead to increased anxiety. It may initially provide a sense of relief but can disrupt sleep quality as its effects wear off, potentially leading to bad dreams or panic attacks. Additionally, alcohol causes dehydration and depresses serotonin levels, both of which contribute to heightened anxiety
Limiting alcohol consumption is advisable for managing anxiety.


6. Processed Foods

Processed foods containing trans fats like hydrogenated oils are associated with depression and anxiety. These trans fats can be found in various products including baked goods, snacks, fried food, refrigerator dough, non-dairy creamer, and margarine. Reading food labels can help in identifying these trans fats, as they may not always be listed if their levels are below 0.5g per serving.
Opting for reduced-fat dairy products over full-fat options can reduce the intake of naturally occurring trans fats.


7.Energy Drinks

Looking for an energy boost but concerned about potential side effects like depression and anxiety? Energy drinks fit that bill exactly. Packed with high levels of caffeine, sugar, and chemicals, these beverages have been associated with irregular heart rhythms and sleep disturbances, both of which can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression.
Furthermore, it's important not to overlook the impact of artificial sugars, as research suggests a connection between sugar, artificial sweeteners, and depression. Additionally, artificial sweeteners can trigger calorie cravings, perpetuating a detrimental cycle.


8.MSG and Gluten

For individuals sensitive to gluten and MSG, these substances have been linked to heightened anxiety. MSG, a gluten derivative, is commonly found in processed foods, Asian cuisine, and frozen meals. On the other hand, gluten occurs naturally in wheat products such as white flour.
Research has indicated that a gluten-free diet can significantly benefit individuals with untreatable anxiety, indicating a direct correlation between gluten and anxiety.


9.Preserved Foods

While the traditional methods of food preservation have provided sustenance during scarcity and yielded delicious meals, it's important to be aware of the potential downsides. The process of preserving foods generates biogenic amines, including histamine, which in some individuals can elevate adrenaline levels and lead to symptoms of anxiety and insomnia.
If you experience digestive, cardiovascular, or nervous system issues after consuming preserved foods, it's possible that you may be sensitive to histamines. In such cases, avoiding these foods can help manage anxiety levels.



Containing a protein called casein, dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream have been associated with various conditions, including depression. Considering a 30-day elimination diet may help determine if high-protein milk products contribute to heightened anxiety, with the option to reintroduce them later if no adverse effects are observed.



Individuals who still experience anxiety after eliminating the aforementioned foods may be sensitive to nightshade plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and goji berries. These plants contain glycoalkaloids, a natural pesticide that can overstimulate the nervous system upon consumption.
It takes approximately five days to clear glycoalkaloids from the system, and these plants are prevalent in numerous products, from potato starch to spices like paprika.

In summary, a variety of food-related factors can contribute to or simulate symptoms of anxiety. Addressing dehydration, low serotonin levels, and heightened cortisol and adrenaline levels is crucial. Furthermore, eliminating certain foods like caffeine and those mentioned above might help alleviate anxiety symptoms or improve overall health.