Anxiety is familiar to all of us. We all know the nerves and fear before public speaking, important events, and new dates. However, for many, anxiety is a more serious issue. Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million adults in the United States alone. They are the most common mental illness. The good news is that it is absolutely possible to reduce anxiety
If you have anxiety, getting exercise is important and it is incredibly important to look at your diet. Inflammatory foods may increase inflammation, pain, and the risk of health issues. They may also trigger anxiety.
Sugar and Processed Foods
Refined sugar is incredibly inflammatory. When you eat too much sugar, your body simply cannot process it quick enough. As a result, it releases pro-inflammatory messengers called cytokines that may lead to physical and mental health issues.
Processed foods are not only high in sugar, but are usually high in other anxiety-triggering substances such as processed vegetable oils, artificial flavorings, gluten, and additives. Consequently, sugar and processed foods may both trigger anxiety.
Gluten and Grains
Gluten is a protein found in a variety of grains. Gluten is particularly problematic for those with Celiac disease or gluten allergies. However, a large number of the population is sensitive to gluten and may experience inflammation, pain, and health issues from it. Gluten may also trigger mood issues. For some, even gluten-free grains are difficult to digest and trigger anxiety.
Artificial ingredients are designed to enhance flavor, texture, or color, or to extend shelf life. Aspartame and MSG are two particularly dangerous artificial flavorings that may trigger anxiety. However, you need to be careful with all artificial ingredients and other additives or preservatives, including monosodium glutamate, artificial coloring, high fructose corn syrup, guar gum, sodium benzoate, trans fats, and any artificial flavoring. They all may lead to inflammation, increase the risk of disease, and impact our mood.
Processed Vegetable Oils
Processed vegetable oils, such as corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and peanut oil are high in omega-6 fatty acids. This means that they are also inflammatory and contribute to pain and health issues. Processed vegetable oils may trigger anxiety as well.
Conventional Meat Products
I believe that eating meat is important for your health. However, the kind of meat you eat absolutely matters. Animals raised for conventional meat products are not treated by the highest of standards. They are treated with hormones and antibiotics and fed with grain instead of grass. As a result, conventional meat products are inflammatory and may trigger anxiety.
Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine may trigger anxiety. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks, such as sodas and energy drinks may cause jittery effects and stimulate a flight or fight response. Sodas and energy drinks are also full of sugar and artificial ingredients that can further trigger anxiety.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know how important your gut health is. Your gut literally affects everything in your body, including your brain and mood. It is not surprising that what we eat impacts our mood and can trigger anxiety.