Foods that can trigger anxiety

Foods that can trigger anxiety

Living with anxiety is like living on the edge constantly. Chronic worries, constant fear, and sensing danger all the time are some of the common symptoms of an anxiety disorder. For example, a panic attack can take some people by surprise, however, those living with it for a long time are aware of the triggers and usually take appropriate measures to prevent an attack.

Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 15 percent of the people will have an anxiety disorder during their lifetime, with the average age of onset being 11 years. Further, women are 60 percent more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than men.

Anxiety disorder is usually caused due to personal circumstances or genetic factors or a combination of both. While many experience an anxiety disorder due to a traumatic past or after witnessing a tragic event such as loss of a loved one, in many it is inherited. Notably, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event suffers from an anxiety disorder. Some studies have revealed that certain foods also excite anxiety such as:


Caffeine is believed to boost energy and calm the nerves. Some people cannot start their day without the essential morning cup of coffee or tea. Apart from these, caffeine is also found in energy drinks. However, excessive caffeine can lead to health issues such as heart palpitations and blood pressure. It can also cause restlessness, agitation, nausea, diarrhea and insomnia. Caffeine has the tendency to compete with adenosine inside the body, thereby stimulating the central nervous system leading to anxiety and panic attack in people predisposed to anxiety disorders.


Not just people with high blood sugar level, but even those with anxiety disorders should avoid sugar and sweets. Though sugar is believed to boost energy, it does so for a very short time. Contrastingly, the blood sugar level drops in some after a few hours of consuming sugar, thereby making them feel tired and sluggish. This condition is also known as hypoglycemia which can further trigger anxiety. In addition, this can cause fluctuations in the blood sugar levels (from high to low) which in turn releases adrenaline and cortisol, thereby causing anxiety and panic.


Salt is often associated with increased blood pressure, which forces the heart to work harder. This, in turn, makes the body release adrenaline to control the induced tension and pressure. Adrenaline can also trigger anxiety and panic, the same as sugar intake, especially in people with an anxiety disorder.


People often tend to consume more alcohol when stressed or anxious. However, it is one of the strongest triggers of anxiety. Alcohol is a depressant and interferes with the serotonin (neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood) in the brain. Therefore, more than uplifting the mood, the substance triggers anxiety and panic. Besides, alcohol also contains sugar, which further fluctuates the blood sugar levels in the body. Excessive alcohol intake can dehydrate a person. As a result, he may experience nausea, fatigue and muscle weakness, which can further lead to anxiety.

Food additives

Food additives are widely used to add taste and flavor to the food. However, studies have proven that the chemical used in food additives such as MSG and dyes are harmful to health. Food additives also contain Aspartame, which is used to replace sugar. Research has revealed that this substance can trigger anxiety, especially in people predisposed to anxiety disorders.

Road to recovery

Anxiety is a serious mental disorder which needs proper medical support. Anxiety treatment includes therapies and medication that help the patient identify the triggers and symptoms of anxiety, and then gradually overcome them.

If you or your loved one is suffering from an anxiety disorder, seek help from a certified medical practitioner at the earliest. You can connect with the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California for all the required details on anxiety disorders treatment in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 or chat online with our certified representatives to learn about anxiety treatment centers in California.

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