A glass of iced coffee sitting on a table.

March 28


4 Foods That May Worsen Anxiety

By Harrison Payton

March 28, 2021

You Can Look At Food As Medicine

When we think of food, we tend to think of it as nourishment or pleasure, or both. Food is so much more than mere nourishment. It’s essentially a form of “slow” medicine. When you make healthy choices or nutritional choices that lessen anxiety, you’re choosing to feel better. It may not be quite as quick or obvious as traditional or modern western medicines, but eating the right foods can have a dramatic and positive effect on your physical and mental health over time.

…But Not All Food Is Medicine

As much as it would be wonderful if all foods nourished us equally, the reality is that there are many foods out there that can make you sluggish, out of energy, and just plain sick. (We’re looking at you, funnel cakes). The reality is that there are even foods out there that can trigger feelings of stress and anxiety or make existing feelings more intense. Let’s take a look at a few below.

4 Foods That May Cause Issues With Anxiety


While coffee itself may not be directly to blame for its role in causing or worsening anxiety, it’s what’s in coffee that matters. Coffee is one of the most popular and regularly consumed drinks in America, but it’s also loaded with caffeine. Caffeine is known to cause and worsen anxiety, because it provokes your body into making adrenaline. It can also contribute to the release of cortisol, which is a powerful stress hormone. The caffeine in coffee can make it difficult to sleep and it can wreak havoc on your heartbeat and blood pressure as well. If you have to consume caffeine, make sure it’s in moderation.

White Bread

We all love white bread, but unfortunately, it’s loaded with refined sugars and simple carbohydrates. These refined sugars cause your blood sugar to quickly peak, which is then followed by a crash. This crash is often associated with feelings of anxiousness and irritability. Look for a natural, whole grain bread instead to better keep your mood balanced. 

White bread can potentially worsen anxiety symptoms.
White bread can potentially worsen anxiety symptoms.


Alcohol is another sneaky “food” that you wouldn’t think could contribute to feelings of anxiety. In movies and even among friends, you often hear the phrase “I need a drink” when someone is stressed out. In actuality, the pleasant effects of alcohol are only temporary. Anxiety can actually worsen over time with regular alcohol consumption. It’s been noted that even people who have no history of anxiety can develop issues as a direct result of abusing alcohol. If you drink, as with many things in life, keep it in moderation! 

Artificial Sweeteners

These can be quite misleading. While your body is dodging a bullet by avoiding real sugar, artificial sweeteners can leave you feeling down. Your body’s natural serotonin production can temporarily be blocked by fake sugars like aspartame. With low serotonin in your system, you are more likely to feel anxious and stressed out. 

Wellness Starts With What You Are (And Aren’t) Putting In Your Body

Treating your food as medicine can help you feel better, especially when you are making consistent nutritional choices to lower your anxiety symptoms. When you have your next meal, consider adding a few drops of high-quality CBD tincture into your drink or favorite recipe. CBD may just help you feel a bit more relaxed due to its potentially calming effects on the endocannabinoid system. It may even aid with digestion in the gut since it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. View Danu’s entire CBD product line here.

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