Certain foods stress the body, and, if you have anxiety or panic attacks, that’s the last thing you need. In fact, some nutritionists believe diet plays a large part in relieving symptoms related to anxiety and panic attacks, and sufferers may benefit by following a strict diet that allows them to restore their nervous system to good health. To do so, there are a number of foods to avoid for anxiety because they may stress the body. They are
- Alcohol. Alcohol depresses the nervous system and even small amounts may worsen anxiety and panic attacks. In addition, alcohol affects calcium absorption, and calcium has a relaxing effect on the body. When you drink alcohol you rob your body of calcium making it less able to handle stress and anxiety. If you have anxiety or panic attacks some health care professionals recommend you completely avoid alcohol and that means don’t even take it in cough syrups or tinctures.
- Caffeine. Caffeine overstimulates the nervous system. It also affects the adrenal glands, and the adrenal glands are often associated with problems related to the nervous system. To prevent further adrenal gland and nervous system agitation, it’s probably best to avoid stimulants, such as coffee, cola drinks, and caffeine-rich foods.
- Chocolate. I love chocolate, but if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, chocolate does not necessarily love you. Chocolate used to be made without sugar, and no one thought about adding sugar to it. Now that chocolate has sugar, if you must eat it, recommendations are to eat dark chocolate because it’s good for the heart, and then don’t eat it more than a once or twice a week.
- Processed, Packaged, and Refined Foods. Foods that are processed, packaged, and refined, contain many things that are not natural and are probably not good for your body. They are filled with food dyes, synthetic hormones, and preservatives. Additionally, unless they’re organic, they’re also full of pesticides. These items stress the body and the nervous system. You can decide today to start eating healthy, and clear your cupboards of foods that may be anxiety and panic-inducing. If you want to learn more about diet and how it affects health, Dr. Andrew Weil, an author, holistic practitioner, and teacher of integrative medicine, talks about nutrition in his book Eight Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body’s Natural Healing Power. He provides small steps that build on each other until, by the time you’re done reading, you’ve created a foundation for healthy living.
- Soda Pop. Soda pop is another food that is best avoided if you have anxiety. It has no nutrients and is loaded with phosphorus. Phosphorus competes with calcium, and, in general, most people consume too much phosphorus and have too little calcium. If you want something sweet, better choices include orange juice, grape juice, or acai juice instead.
- Sugar. Sugar provides short-term energy, and when it hits your system, it gives you a temporary high followed by a low that usually makes you feel tired and irritable. In addition, sugar depletes the nervous system of calcium, just like alcohol does, because it competes with calcium. Sugar is also over consumed by Americans and may result in hypoglycemia, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. It’s also blamed for a litany of other illnesses that include gout, cancer, tooth decay, obesity, and chronic tiredness. Sugar also has no nutrients because all the minerals and vitamins are stripped out when it is processed. Therefore, when you consume it, you’re consuming wasted calories with no nutrients. If you want to learn more, read Sugartime: Aspartame, Saccharin, and Sugar.
Anxiety or panic attacks can cause physical symptoms, such as chest pain, headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, stomach aches, and more. If you choose foods that increase bodily stress, it’s likely to make anxiety worse, and, if you eliminate those foods, it’s likely to lessen or even eliminate anxiety. So, to give yourself a chance for an anxiety-free life, avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, soda pop, sugar, and processed, packaged, and refined foods. If you’re interested in learning what nutritional aids may help, read Anxiety Reducing Nutritional Aids.