“You are what you eat” – this saying is something most people have heard during their lifetime, often enough times to not really take it seriously. However, for those that suffer with anxiety, what you eat can not only affect your health, but can have a serious negative impact on anxiety symptoms and episodes. As unrealistic as it may sound, some foods can actually trigger anxiety in us. Eating wholesome foods improves physical health as well as benefits the nervous system, which plays an important role in the way we feel and the emotions we experience. The following are some foods that should be avoided by people who suffer with anxiety:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol, being a depressant, interferes with the function of the serotonin in our bodies, which operates as a neurotransmitter that regulates our moods. Consuming alcohol, therefore, significantly alters a person’s reactions by impairing our body’s capability of controlling mood. Using alcohol to attempt to ward off anxiety is actually extremely counterproductive because alcohol disrupting our mental disposition will usually result in more anxiety.

2. Sugar

Frequently consuming refined sugar gives our bodies an empty thrust of energy. With the energy levels rising and dropping so quickly due to our body undergoing constant fluctuation of blood sugar levels, this destroys any attempt at mood stabilization. These fluctuations also lead to the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The effects of these hormones cause many people to feel panic and nervous, which is even worse for those who already suffer from anxiety issues.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine is found in many popular drinks we consume, like: coffee, tea and energy drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant that can trigger the “fight or flight” response in the body. According to studies, this can be extremely detrimental to those who already suffer from anxiety. The effects of caffeine make you moody and nervous, which in turn makes your anxiety even worse.

4. Food Additives

Food additives (such as food coloring and preservatives) used in various products can disrupt the normal function of the nervous system, which can cause anxiety issues to worsen. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and Aspartame, which are sweeteners most commonly used in many processed and diet food items, have been shown to have links with increasing anxiety levels along with various other health conditions.

5. Unhealthy Processed Foods

Unhealthy processed foods are full of additives and chemicals. These foods are likely to have long term negative effect on our bodies and mental health. The chemicals used in producing these foods are linked to various health disorders. The delicious or addictive tastes we get from these foods trigger a positive feeling momentarily, but in the long run they destroy our system from within. Avoiding chemicals and unhealthy food items is the best way to go to manage anxiety and be able to avoid anxiety attacks it better.