Foods and drinks linked to anxiety

Jun 16, 2024, 7:00 AM




SALT LAKE CITY – According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorder. Can the foods and drinks we put into our digestive system trigger and even worsen our anxiety levels?

In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, Maria Shilaos spoke with Dr. Julie Gatza, Health Educator and Co-founder of the Florida Wellness Institute, to learn what to eat and what to avoid to reduce anxiety.

Foods and drinks linked to anxiety…
12 minutes

The digestive system was designed to follow a couple of steps. First, it breaks down the foods we eat. Then, it pushes those nutrients into the bloodstream, before finally being carried to different areas of the body.

When people have anxiety, they don’t digest quite well. This causes them to feel gassy, bloated and irritated. Sometimes they even experience heartburn.

“This is often because of the fact that there’s just other stressors going on in the body, and there’s no way digestion is taking over as its first main event,” Gatza said.

So, what kinds of foods and drinks should we be consuming if we have anxiety? Gatza says the first rule is eating protein 3 times a day.

“I think that people have a tendency to skip eating the amount of protein that they need… You don’t want your blood sugars to dip down. That on top of it can trigger somebody to actually feel anxious and hyper,” she said.

The second rule is eating vegetables, and the key here is to have them steamed or sauteed.

“Just get them cooked slightly so that they’re easier to break down. Then you can have things like fruit,” she said.

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Foods and drinks linked to anxiety