Can Diet Affect Anxiety Disorders?


dinnerWhile diet changes alone won’t cure anxiety disorders, watching what you do and don’t eat can have an impact on your mood and overall well-being. Whether you suffer from occasional or chronic anxiety, paying attention to the foods and drinks you’re putting into your body can be a useful tool to combat anxiety symptoms.

Protein Intake

Eating high-protein foods can help boost your mood by steadying your blood sugar levels. Protein also ramps up the production of brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that keep you alert and energized throughout the day. To maximize its effect, try to eat a protein-rich breakfast. Some great, healthy sources of protein include Greek yogurt, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and lentils.

The Impact of Complex Carbohydrates

They key here is to remember to opt for whole grain carbohydrates, not foods like white bread, sugary sodas or candy. Complex carbs include whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa. Although you may get an initial “rush” from sugary simple carbs, that feeling will only last for a short period of time. The inevitable crash later will likely make you feel even worse. Complex carbs have a similar mood-boosting effect, as they can also trigger serotonin production, but without the anxiety-causing blood sugar spikes.

Drinking Enough Water

Dehydration can often be a major contributor to anxiety. When your body isn’t getting enough water to function properly, your mood and general well-being suffer, adding stress on your body to perform routine functions. So although dehydration alone is probably not the sole cause of your anxiety, making sure your body is adequately hydrated may help alleviate some of the symptoms. You’ll also want to steer clear of things like alcohol and caffeinated drinks, as they can cause dehydration.