10 Foods to Avoid If You Have Anxiety or Depression

Foods and anxiety are closely correlated. Anxiety is a sort of mental disorder, and to your utter surprise, some foods can relieve it, and some others can trigger it. It is no less than a war for people with anxiety that they constantly fight within themselves and always get a horrible feeling that they are losing. In some cases, the situation gets out of control, and people contemplate taking their life.

Consult a doctor if anxiety lingers for more than six months or if you feel the problem is too overwhelming to handle on your own. However, you can make some welcoming changes in your diet chart to stave off and stub anxiety. If you are on a quest to find out foods that cause anxiety and panic attacks, this article will be a great read to offer some help.


Who not love to take a sip from a cup of frothing coffee, especially during chilly cold or when it is raining heavily? Do you know that caffeine has a bad reputation for making users feel nauseous, nervous and anxious? The stimulant is known for triggering a fight-or-flight response in the body. Switch to a green juice or herbal tea if you are already suffering overwhelming anxiety.

Processed foods

There is increasing evidence that processed foods aggravate anxiety. Processed foods contain preservatives and additives. Refined sugars and flours have been found to create a suitable ambience for harmful microbes and bacteria to thrive in the gut. Research says that poor gut health heavily affects your mood. Many good bacteria that proliferate in your stomach can successfully treat your mood disorder. Taking processed foods once in a blue moon is not that harmful but if you are a frequent restaurant-goer, avoid the grilled foods and switch to fruit salad.

Artificial and Refined Sugars

Sugar hides in nearly everything you eat, and that makes it impossible to follow the advice. Sugar is not directly linked to anxiety. However, it makes changes in your system to intensify anxiety symptoms and impair your body’s natural mechanism to adjust to the stress naturally. Sugar crash and caffeine crash are similar, and both contribute to mood swings, fatigue, heart palpitations, and lack of concentration. All of these are preliminary symptoms of a panic attack or anxiety.


Gluten is present in rye, wheat, and barley products. The protein triggers anxiety symptoms. As per research, it is now confirmed that people with gluten intolerance and celiac diseases are at a higher risk of developing multiple mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. If you have anxiety symptoms, cutting on glutton consumption will help you manage the hazards more effectively.

Fried Foods

It is now an open secret that fried foods are very unhealthy. Give them a wide berth if you are looking for ‘Health and Taste’ with each byte. Fired foods offer almost nil nutritional value. Poor food choices do no good, and an unhealthy cooking process multiplies the harmful effects. Hydrogenated oil is usually used for cooking most fired foods such as onion rings, chicken fry, and French fries. Fried foods also cause your waistline to protrude.

Fried foods cause high pressure, which is one of the controllable reasons for cardio problems. Occasional relish is not too bad, but moderation is a key to keep the harmful effects at bay.


Say NO to MILK if you want to manage anxiety. A study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31868529/) has found out that people with anxiety notice an increase in their anxiety symptoms soon after consuming dairy items. Lactose intolerant is estimated to be present in 10% of adults. A greater percentage of people have problems digesting cow milk as it contains casein. Dairy products are inflammatory by nature. It damages your digestive system and might cause diarrhea, constipation, and bloating, among several other health hazards.

Foods Rich in Sodium

Gen Y and even middle-aged people are hooked to the rising wave of fat-free craze. What many of them don’t know is fat-free products are rich in sodium and/or sugar. Sodium is important for health but too much of it will see you slither down a sloppy swing of anxiety, depression, and panic. Researchers have found that sodium-rich foods cause fatigue and a damaged immune system. Moreover, these foods also cause weight gain, water retention and high blood pressure.

Fruit Juice

It comes as a shocker. But then, we are not talking about fresh fruit juice but about canned products. Fruit juice, like store-bought beverages, contains sugar. Sugar can be classified under three categories – Fructose, Glucose and Sucrose. Fructose, naturally found in vegetables and fruits, is added to fruit-flavored drinks and fruit juice. Your body can process fructose in the liver and it is not a preferred source of energy.

Fiber prevents our system from absorbing too much fructose from vegetables and fruits. Once you get rid of fiber, you put yourself at a higher risk of overconsumption. Therefore, avoid store-bought fruit juice and instead switch to home-made alternatives. Maintain a 4:1 ratio when using fruits into green juices.


If you are on a sugar-cleansing journey, make sure not to indulge yourself into soda that contains artificial additives and food coloring. In addition, soda contains aspartame, a harmful ingredient that is believed to cause headaches, anxiety, insomnia and mood disorders. It is even linked to certain forms of carcinoma. Still, dare to enjoy a sip of it?


Some are addicted to alcohol, whereas others just enjoy it occasionally. Excessive intake of alcohol is believed to induce and intensify anxiety symptoms. Alcohol causes physical malfunctioning and mental impairment by adversely affecting the levels of serotonin, a brain hormone.

Alcohol damages the nervous system and can cause hypoglycemia, hypersensitivity, tachycardia, and acute dehydration. The next time you are going to hang out with your friends at a restaurant-cum-bar, skip the drink on the menu.

Bottom Line

Anxiety is a mental disorder that affects everyone, more or less. As long as it is manageable, you don’t need to worry. But if your anxiety is too overwhelming to manage, don’t make the mistake of ignoring it. Modify your daily diet and lifestyle and switch to some healthy and anxiety-preventive foods and habits. Most importantly, make sure not to succumb to woes and worries as these are a part of life and instead fight odds and adversities like a true soldier. Finally, prepare yourself to adopt challenges, adapt to changes and accept crushes with bold and beautiful grace.