Food and Anxiety | You Are What You Eat

You have most likely heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” Did you know that your nutrition can help curb (or exaggerate) your already existing depression and anxiety? If you are eating foods that are known to create anxiety symptoms and avoiding foods that fight anxiety, you could be contributing to your ever-increasing anxiety levels. What you eat affects how you feel. Food and anxiety go hand in hand.

There are several foods that lead to a healthy hormonal function and an improved sense of well-being. Good foods include the following:

  • Fresh Fruit: Fruits like blueberries and peaches contain sugar that can be converted into energy and better nutrient content than refined sugars.
  • Magnesium Rich Foods: Found in black beans and tofu. Magnesium is an essential vitamin that few people get. 25% of people in the United States are magnesium deficient.
  • Omega- 3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish, flaxseed, and winter squash.
  • Tryptophan-Rich Foods: Found in oats, soy, poultry, and sesame seeds. Tryptophan has a natural relaxation component.
  • Vegetables: Because vegetables are rich in fiber, containing many vitamins that are depleted with anxiety.
  • Water: Did you know that a significant part of the population is dehydrated? Drinking too much of liquids that aren’t water causes you not to drink enough water, which leads to dehydration and anxiety.

Unless you improve your diet, it’s hard to reduce your anxiety. Improving your diet is not just about eating healthy foods, it is also about avoiding unhealthy foods that can worsen your symptoms. Treat your symptoms by consuming a diet containing more vegetables and avoid foods that contribute to anxious feelings. Avoiding the following foods can aid in a healthier mind:

  • Acid Forming Food: Certain foods produce acid and cause a drop in your magnesium levels. Foods like yogurt, eggs, pickles, sour cream, liver, and wine need to be eaten in moderation to help curb your anxiety.
  • Alcohol: Besides contributing to a few unwise decisions you will make in your life, alcohol is hard on your body leading to dehydration, hormone alteration, and nutritional imbalance, and other physical symptoms caused by the toxins in alcohol trigger anxiety attacks.
  • Coffee: A known anxiety stimulant that may not be harmless if it is just one cup in the mornings. However, the more you drink coffee, the more you increase your risk of anxiety, rapid heartbeat and other sensations creating a sense of panic.
  • Dairy Products: These heighten your adrenaline levels and contribute to a more anxious state.
  • Fried Food: Everyone knows that fried anything is not the best thing for your body. Fried foods are difficult to digest, have little to no nutritional value, and contribute to heart issues. So why do we still eat fried things? It turns out that fried foods have an effect on your brain; stimulating the same centers that stimulate depressants like heroin and alcohol. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to reduce your anxiety if your body is poorly processing your food.
  • Refined Sugars: Unlike sugar that is found in fruit, white sugar is never good for your body. Refined sugar stimulates your body like caffeine, in a way that creates a jitteriness that makes anxiety symptoms worse. Not to mention the inevitable crash that follows.

Schedule your appointment with Dallas General and Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutker.

Dr. Michael Sutker specializes in minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery. Dr. Sutker is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons. Named Top10MD in 2017 – an honor only 1-in-3 doctors succeeds with in the United States. To schedule, a consultation with Dr. Sutker click on his profile or call his office at 972.566.7860