Which foods can trigger anxiety?

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Which foods can trigger anxiety?

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In America alone, roughly 40 million Americans are suffering from an anxiety disorder. If you live with anxiety or chronic stress, you might spend much of your daily life, managing it with therapy, exercise, and anti-anxiety medication. Did you know that certain foods can trigger anxiety?

Tools like therapy, exercise, and anti-anxiety medication can be a healthy way to tackle anxiety. But if anxiety is still causing issues in your life, you might want to look at the foods you are eating. 

Here is a list of the top four foods that can cause anxiety. 


Believe it or not, that drink you're sipping on to reduce your social anxiety makes it more severe. 

Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE says in her book Belly Fat for Dummies, "Although it may seem like it calms your nerves, alcohol can harm hydration and sleep, both of which can trigger anxiety symptoms when suppressed." 

Alcohol can change your neurotransmitter and serotonin levels, which will make anxiety worse. 


Many people love coffee; 62% of Americans drink coffee daily, according to a study from the National Coffee Association. On average, most Americans will drink around three cups per day. 

Caffeine can be safe in low doses, but high levels can cause anxiety. In one study, when a person drank 300 milligrams or more caffeine per day, they would experience twice as much stress as those who didn't. Three hundred thirty milligrams of caffeine is equal to one "grande" coffee cup from Starbucks.

Added Sugar

It's almost impossible to avoid sugar as it is naturally in fruit and other healthy foods that we eat. Sugar is a contributor to anxiety. 

Added sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike up and back down, along with your energy levels. When your blood sugar crashes down, your mood will spoil, and anxiety will increase. 

Eating large amounts of processed sugars can trigger sadness, irritability, and a feeling of worry. 

Several other foods have added sugar in addition to candy. A few to watch out for would be ketchup, pasta, white bread, and salad dressing. 

Conventional non-dairy creamer

Hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, can be found in non-dairy creamers. Trans fats are packed full of LDL cholesterol and can lower HDL cholesterol. These fats are linked to mental health issues, depression, and anxiety

You might consider replacing non-dairy creamers with almond or soy milk.

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