Fighting Anxiety? Four Foods to Avoid

by Carrie Clouse - Date: 2007-01-08 - Word Count: 448 Share This!

After a long, stressful day, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting down on the couch with some potato chips and a soft drink, right? Well, not quite. Because no matter how much we want to reward ourselves for our hard work, eating some of our favorite foods can actually cause our anxiety and stress to increase. So what's the answer? It's cutting out the junk food and replacing it with lots of fruits and vegetables. But we already know that, and we still aren't changing our diet. It can seem a bit too overwhelming. So start by taking note of these four foods to avoid, and suggestions on what to replace them with.

Avoid Coffee and black tea
Why: Both coffee and black tea contain high levels of caffeine. In college I drank multiple cups of black tea a day and wondered why my anxiety was getting worse and why I was always jumpy. Then I quit caffeine and the answer became clear.
Replace with: Herbal tea. There are so many varieties to experiment with and many of them have added health benefits. Chamomile is a good choice if you want a calming drink with a mild flavor. If you need something to wake you up in the morning, try some yerba mate. It's a natural stimulant that contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and antioxidants without causing the jitters.

Avoid: Milk chocolate
Why: Sugar and caffeine are present in milk chocolate.
Replace with: Dark chocolate. Many people don't want to give up chocolate. The good news-instead of cutting out chocolate we can replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains potent antioxidants that are good for health. Unfortunately, dark chocolate does contain more caffeine than milk chocolate, so don't overdo it.

Avoid: Soft Drinks
Why: Most have caffeine and sugar. Drinking this instead of water can lead to dehydration
Replace with: Water. Staying well hydrated is critical for your body and mind. Try to drink 50%-75% of your body weight in ounces a day. If you don't like plain water, flavor it with some lemon.

Avoid: Processed foods, mainly chips and cookies.
Why: Little to no nutrition and often high in sugar. They are easy to fill up on which could cause deficiency in the B vitamins, the most important vitamin family when it comes to regulating stress.
Replace with: Bananas. You already know that they are easy to find, inexpensive, and make a great snack. But did you know that bananas contain B vitamins?

So whether you are nervous about starting a new job or feeling general anxiety about the stress of every day life, implementing these suggestions will help you feel more balanced, relaxed, and healthy.

Related Tags: anxiety, food, nervousness

Carrie Clouse is author of the choose calmness newsletter. Visit her website to learn more of her tips for beating anxiety.

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