5 Foods to Avoid If You Have Anxiety or Depression

The Canadian Mental Health Association defines anxiety as a mental illness that seriously impacts our lives and how we think, feel and act.

For example, they explain that a panic attack, which is a type of anxiety episode, is a feeling of sudden and intense fear that will last for a short period of time. With that said, there are certain types of foods and drinks that can trigger or contribute to anxiety and depression. Below you will find the top foods to avoid if you have anxiety.

1. Alcohol

Even a little can mess up your sleep. Not enough rest can raise anxiety and cause depression. Too many ZZZs can cause even more problems.

That said, a drink could calm your nerves and make you more sociable. That can be good for your mental health. The key is dosage: A drink a day for women, and two a day for men, is the limit.

2. Caffeine

A known stimulant and psychoactive drug, caffeine has long had a reputation for triggering the body's fight-or-flight response. Very similar to the symptoms associated with anxiety, caffeine can also make its users feel nervous, nauseous, light headed, jittery and yes, even anxious.

If you're suffering through anxiety, I recommend reconsidering that morning cup of coffee and instead opt for an herbal tea or a green juice.

3. Suagr

This is one that seems hard to ignore simply due to the fact that sugar hides in everything! Studies have shown that although sugar does not cause anxiety, it does create changes in your body that can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and impairs the body's ability to effectively cope with stress.

A sugar crash is similar to a caffeine crash, and can also cause mood changes, heart palpitations, difficulty concentrating and fatigue— all of which can be interpreted as the beginning stages of an anxiety or panic attack.

4. Trans Fats

Trans fat, which is also known as hydrogenated fat, is considered one of the worst foods for your diet, but what many don’t know is it’s also bad for your moods.

According to a study published on PLOS, trans fat is associated with an increased risk of depression. Spanish researchers followed over 12,000 Spanish university graduates, who had no depression symptoms, for a total of six years. They monitored their intakes of various types of fat and their occurrence of depression.

5. Gluten

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye products. For many anxiety sufferers, gluten can also be a huge trigger for anxiety symptoms.

Research has now confirmed that people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerances (like myself) are at higher risk for anxiety, depression and mood disorders. Talk to your doctor about getting tested for Celiac or a gluten intolerance. Cutting out gluten could be the difference between living with anxiety and managing it for the better.