Anxiety and depression can get worse by eating certain foods like toast and juice, otherwise thought to be harmless. Here are some examples:
The fiber in whole fruit fills you up and slows down how your blood takes in energy. Without that fiber, you’re just drinking nutritious sugar-water that can quickly hype you up and crash you down just as fast. This will leave you hungry and angry. Eat your fruit whole and drink water when you’re thirsty.
Anxiety: Regular Soda
It has all of the blood-spiking sugar of fruit juice with none of the nutrition. Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda have a direct link to depression, too. If you crave a pop, try seltzer water with a splash of juice instead. It’ll give you a bubbly fix without too much of the stuff you don’t need.
Yup, you read correctly. No sugar, so no problem, right? Not exactly. You may not have the energy crash that comes with having too much sugar, but diet soda may make you depressed. In fact, it could make you feel more down than its sugary cousin would.
Wait, toast?! If it’s made from white bread, yes. The highly processed white flour it’s made from quickly turns to blood sugar after you eat it. That can cause energy spikes and crashes that can increase anxiety levels. You can have your toast and eat it, too. Just use whole-grain bread.
Light Salad Dressing
You might know to avoid some pre-packaged dressings and marinades loaded with sugar, often listed as “high-fructose corn syrup.” But what about “light” or “sugar-free” dressings? Many get their sweetness from aspartame, an artificial sweetener linked to anxiety and depression. Check the ingredients or, better yet, make your dressing at home from scratch.
It’s mostly tomatoes, right? Well, yes, and sugar, lots of sugar. Four grams per tablespoon, to be exact. And the “light” stuff may have artificial sweeteners that could be linked to anxiety and depression. Try homemade tomato salsa instead. Want a little kick? Add a bit of cayenne pepper.
If you’re not used to it, the caffeine in it can make you jittery and nervous. In fact, It can also mess up your sleep. Caffeine withdrawal will make you feel bad, too. If you think it causes you problems, cut caffeine out of your diet slowly. If you’re OK with it, then drink decaf as caffeine-free coffee can actually help make you feel less depressed.
Anxiety: Energy Drinks
They can cause weird heart rhythms, anxiety, and sleep issues. That’s because it’s not always easy to know the sky-high caffeine levels hidden in ingredients like guarana. These beverages often have loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners, too. Drink water if you’re thirsty. Want a sugar hit? Eat a piece of fruit.
Even a little can mess up your sleep, since not enough rest will raise anxiety and cause depression. The key is how much you drink. For example, drink in moderation; 1 drink a day for women, and 2 a day for men, is the limit.
It’s the sugar, right? Well, yes, but that’s not all. It’s also loaded with around 2 grams of “trans fats” per serving. They’re linked to depression. Sometimes called “partially hydrogenated oils,” they’re also in fried foods, pizza dough, cakes, cookies, and crackers. Check your labels. If you do eat fat, make it the “good” kind you get from foods like fish, olive oil, nuts, and avocado. Those foods will lift your mood.
Anxiety: Soy Sauce
This one is only for people who are sensitive to gluten. In addition to breads, noodles, and pastries, it’s also in prepackaged foods like soy sauce. If you’re sensitive to gluten, it can cause anxiety or depression. It can also make you feel sluggish. So, make sure to check labels and stay away from the soy.
Anxiety: Processed Foods
If you eat lots of processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, candy, pastries, and high-fat dairy products, you’re more likely to be anxious. A diet full of whole fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish will certainly help keep you on a more even keel.
We all love them, and little treats now and then can help your mood and keep anxiety levels low. But, too many donuts are pure poison. For example, they have all the wrong kinds of fats, snow-white flour with little fiber to slow absorption, and lots of added sugar. Eat them sparingly.