Your Food & Mental Health

You have most likely heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” But did you know that your personal nutrition can help curb (or exaggerate) your already existing depression and anxiety? Anxiety isn’t caused by what you eat, but if you are eating foods that are known to create anxiety symptoms and avoiding foods that fight anxiety, you could be contributing to your levels increasing. What you eat affects how you feel.

There are several foods that lead to healthy hormonal functioning, an improved sense of well-being, and a better case of your anxiety. 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 the very important vitamin that few people get. 25% of people in the United States are magnesium deficient.
  • Omega- 3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish, flax-seed, and winter squash.
  • Tryptophan-Rich Foods: Found in oats, soy, poultry, and sesame seeds. Tryptophan has a natural relaxation component.
  • Vegetables: Because vegetables are so rich in fiber, and contain many vitamins that get regularly depleted if you have anxiety.
  • Water: Did you know that a significant part of the population is regularly dehydrated? Drinking too much of liquids that aren’t water causes you to not drinking enough water, which leads to dehydration and anxiety.

Improving your diet is not just about eating healthy foods, it is also about avoiding the unhealthy, anxiety-triggering foods that can worsen your depression. Treat your anxiety symptoms by creating a diet that contains a lot more vegetables. You should avoid the following foods:

  • 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: Alcohol, besides contributing to most unwise decisions you will make in your life, does horrible things to your body and health. Dehydration, hormone alteration, and nutritional imbalance, and other physical symptoms caused by the toxins in alcohol can 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 that create a sense of panic can cause anxiety.
  • Dairy Products: These heighten your adrenaline levels and contribute to a more anxious state.
  • Fried Food: Everyone knows that fried things are terrible for your body. We all know that fried foods are difficult (sometimes even painful) 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 food has an effect on your brain; it stimulates the same centers that are stimulated by 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. It 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.