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Does Being Anxious Affect What You Eat?

Does Being Anxious Affect What You Eat?

Some people use food as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, while others forgo food altogether when they are suffering from anxiety. A healthy diet can make a big impact when a person is combating anxiety.

Problems: Stress and anxiety can lead to a host of unhealthy eating behaviours, from under-eating to binging on junk food. Although the initial energy boost from a high-sugar and high-fat snack can alleviate stress temporarily, these foods tend to aggravate symptoms of anxiety in the long term.

Foods that can help: The amino acid called tryptophan can improve mood and encourage a sense of relaxation in people with anxiety. Foods containing tryptophan include poultry, bananas, sesame seeds, milk and oats. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are more effective than simple carbohydrates such as sugar. B vitamins are also beneficial and can be found in fish and dark green leafy vegetables.

Food to be avoided: Because it is a stimulant, caffeine can increase nervousness and should be avoided. Alcohol can also intensify the symptoms of anxiety as it is metabolized by the body. In addition to physical discomfort, food sensitivities can trigger mood shifts.

Plan of action: For people with anxiety, how you eat is as important as what you eat. Eating small meals throughout the day keeps blood sugar stable. People who forget about food when they are stressed should plan meals in advance and stick to a consistent eating schedule. People who binge on junk food to cope with anxiety should purchase healthy snacks to have on hand.

Eat right even when you don't feel right!


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