The Best Diet for Anxiety Sufferers

With 18% of the U.S. population affected, anxiety disorders have ranked as the most common mental health illness in the country, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. This prevalence, which affects approximately 40 million adults aging 18 years and older, is very much alarming. Although the use of anti-depressants, relaxation techniques and psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy help to quell nervous symptoms, experts still say that adjustments in dietary habits can lead to a better coping ability against stress.

With this in mind, individuals with sensitive nerves are very much encouraged to take notice of what they eat. Avoiding certain foods that can cause anxiety and taking those which will help fight anxiety will effectively boost their chances of improved health. Listed below are recommended nutrition for anxiety sufferers.

1. Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains come from wheat plants and is used to make pasta, oatmeal, cereal, and bread among many others. Whole grain foods help release insulin into the bloodstream, clearing away those elements that boost energy levels that can lead to anxiety activation. They also increase the level of serotonin in the brain producing a calming effect. With the nerves calmed, nervous feelings will be controlled. Aside from this benefit, eating these kinds of foods create a feeling of fullness that aids in digestion because of its high-fiber content.

2. Include Protein in the Diet

The protein found in lentils, peas, beans, tofu, nuts, chicken, and yogurt help influence mental performance as well as emotional balance. Amino acids, known as the building blocks of protein, increase the production of neurotransmitter serotonin, which produces a sense of calmness. In addition, the nutrient protein helps regulate sugar levels, preventing sudden surges of anxious feelings. With the inclusion of protein-rich foods in the diet, problems with stress and inability to sleep will be addressed.

3. Seek Omega-3­­-Rich Foods

Fish rich in omega-3 like salmon, mackerel and fish oil is good for people with high anxiety levels. This is due to omega-3’s ability to reduce bad cholesterol and plaques that might build up or clog blood vessels. With the reduction of bad cholesterol, the body becomes stronger in the fight against stress. Chances of developing heart-related diseases will be reduced, as well.

4. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol can be good for the body, but in moderate amounts. When too much of this beverage is consumed, it depletes the body’s vitamin stores. Moreover, alcohol makes it harder for the body to use oxygen. This difficulty can make the drinker more sensitive to stress. When one is unable to properly manage the stresses that come, his inability to cope can cause anxiety symptoms. Or perhaps, this could lead to depression.
In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can impair work performance. Relationships will be strained as well. These difficulties can add on to the stress, worsening anxiety.

5. Avoid Coffee

Most people in western countries bring this bitter-sweet drink into their daily lives. It gives the body a jolt that keeps them alert and stimulated and ready for the day’s work. However, these are not the only feelings this caffeine-rich beverage brings. Nervousness, irritability, apprehension and shaking of the hands will be felt too, whenever one consumes more than what is enough. Hence, if you are suffering from over excitability of the nerves, better limit or totally avoid this stimulating drink. Your system has to stay rested and calm. But a word of caution, reduce your coffee consumption gradually. You do not want to suffer from coffee’s rebound effect.

6. Drink More Water

All of the body organs, particularly the brain, need water to function well. A lack of this essential drink will not only cause physical discomforts but also a wide range of potentially critical mental and psychological problems.

This information is supported by a study conducted at the Tufts University which detailed how a lack of water and adequate fluid intake can affect mood and not just the motor skills. The study concluded that dehydration can result to a general feeling of “negative mood, including fatigue and confusion.”

7. Quit Smoking

Smoking decreases the lungs capacity to take in oxygen that is vital for cellular function. With decreased oxygen supply to organs, especially to the brain, the whole system will recognize this as a threat that will trigger anxiety reactions. Therefore, try to eliminate cigarettes from your daily menu. They are not good for you and for the people around you.

Eliminating food triggers of anxiety and taking in those which help soothe the nerves will greatly improve your overall health condition. Giving more attention to your diet will help aid in the relief of the symptoms, making other conventional treatments and other strategies work better. So, take control of your diet. Change what needs to be changed and embrace what is right for your body.

Suppressing anxiety is difficult. Ryan Rivera can attest to that. But his feelings of panic have been resolved mostly through self-help techniques, including proper diet and exercise. If you wish to learn more from him, please visit

<< Article Index