As individuals become more and more attuned with their mental and physical wellbeing Google searches for ‘sugar anxiety’ are up 36% in the last quarter.

Fruit-infused water company, DASH Water, has partnered with  medical doctor and wellness expert, Dr. Rebekah Jade, to get her expert opinion on whether sugar anxiety exists. 

Does Sugar Cause Anxiety?

While sugar itself doesn’t directly cause anxiety, it can exemplify anxiety symptoms. Dr. Rebekah Jade explains, “It’s well reported that the prevalence of processed and sugary foods contributes to elevated sugar intake in many individuals in Western countries. Diet alone cannot cause anxiety, however there is a growing volume of research around the gut-brain connection and how our diet can impact our mental health. 

While it’s important to clarify that anxiety is not directly caused by diet alone, there are notable ways in which sugar can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. The body’s response to sugar, including the energy spikes and crashes it induces, can mimic physical manifestations of anxiety, such as shaking and nervousness.

These fluctuations, often referred to as the “sugar roller coaster,” may intensify existing anxiety in susceptible individuals. Moreover, research suggests that diets high in added sugars can disrupt blood sugar levels, potentially aggravating symptoms like fatigue and mood swings associated with anxiety.”

What Are the Best Foods and Drinks to Ease Anxiety?

Because there is a connection between the brain and gut, there are certain foods and drinks that can soothe symptoms of anxiety. According to Dr. Rebekah, “Opting for a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods can be beneficial for reducing symptoms of anxiety. Incorporating a colourful array of fruits and vegetables provides essential vitamins and minerals crucial for optimal brain function and nervous system health. 

Prioritising complex carbohydrates such as whole grains supports sustained energy levels, and drinking water rather than sugary drinks, helps to mitigate the risk of energy crashes that may exacerbate anxiety symptoms. 

While making minor dietary adjustments may not entirely alleviate anxiety, cultivating healthier eating habits can elevate the body’s resilience to stress and improve overall well-being.”

Which Foods and Drinks Are Worse for Anxiety?

Just like some foods and drinks can make you feel calmer, there are others that can make you feel jittery. “Certain dietary choices can potentially exacerbate anxiety symptoms. For example, alcohol can disrupt hydration and sleep patterns, exacerbating anxiety related issues. Similarly, caffeine is a known central nervous system stimulant and excessive intake may manifest as restlessness and heightened unease, exacerbating feelings of anxiety.” Says Rebekah. 

“Added sugars and refined carbohydrates, which are prevalent in processed snacks and sugary drinks, can disrupt blood sugar levels leading to mood swings and increased anxiety levels.”

Discover more about the role sugar plays on your mental health with DASH Water.

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