CLB 005: How to Calm Anxiety with Food

calm anxiety with food

In episode 4 we delved into how to untangle yourself from thoughts so that the no longer have a control over you and your actions. In this episode we’re going to take a bit of a break from mindfulness practice to focus on nutrition, in particular how to calm anxiety with food.

More and more research indicates that diet affects mental health. Now, the research examining diet has focused more so on generalized anxiety and depression than social anxiety specifically, but I think there are definitely some lessons we can gleam from these studies that are certainly applicable to social anxiety, too.

Find out the specifics by listening to this episode…

Key Points

  • Processed foods increase reactive oxygen species, causing oxidative stress that may contribute to the development of anxiety.
  • Reactive hypoglycaemia is when there is an excess fall in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels that causes your body to compensate by releasing epinephrine and norepinephrine (sometimes also referred to as adrenalin and noradrenalin). It also triggers the “flight or fight” response, which itself can manifest as anxiety, palpitations, sweating, tiredness, depression, forgetfulness, nervousness, poor concentration and irritability.
  • Eat foods that have a low glycemic index.
  • Excessive caffeine intake can cause symptoms that are indistinguishable from those of anxiety disorders like nervousness, irritability, insomnia and palpitations. And research shows that people with anxiety tend to be more susceptible to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine.
  • Consider doing a 3 or 4 week trial of completely avoiding caffeine – coffee, regular tea, chocolate – to determine if caffeine is a contributing factor to your anxiety or not.
  • Long term alcohol use can reduce levels of critical nutrients needed for brain function, such as B vitamins. Treatment of alcohol use in patients with SAD has been shown to reduce anxiety levels.
  • Anxiety has been reported to be one of the adverse effects of the artificial sweetener aspartame. Avoid artificial sweeteners.
  • Ruling out the possibility of food allergies and intolerances is an essential step to take when investigating underlying causes of SAD.

Testing to consider:

  • Kryptopyrrol to rule out the possibility of pyroluria
  • Food intolerance testing
  • Celiac panel if suffering from digestive symptoms
  • Glucose tolerance test to rule out hypoglycemia

Episode Transcript

You can download a copy of this episode’s transcript by clicking here.


Choose one of the areas discussed in this episode and work solely on that. The one that you believe if you were to change could make the most impact in your life and how you feel.

If you know that you probably drink too much coffee, start weaning off of it. If you know you eat drink too many soft drinks start with cutting those out of your diet. If you know you aren’t having a source of protein with each meal and each snack start by adding more healthy protein into your diet.

I’d love to hear how you make out with the changes you make… please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Then, when you’re ready, I invite to join me for episode 6



6 responses to “CLB 005: How to Calm Anxiety with Food”

  1. Hi Candice! My name is Tanica Russell and I’ve been following your podcast, blog, everything for the past couple of days and it has been a revelation for me. I came about your podcast after an argument with my spouse. When I finally got some time to reflect I couldn’t help but think “what’s wrong with me? I must have some kind of anxiety disorder because I constantly worry about what other people think about me and so on” so fast forward to today, I stayed home with my 2 year old and this morning I thought “I need some coffee to keep up with him this morning.”

    Now prior to this morning, I’ve gone two days without coffee after your podcast about the effects of different food. So I drunk some this morning and felt fine. Not even 20 minutes ago I felt a wave of sadness come on. I didn’t know where it came from or why. Then I thought “Oh my goodness, I had coffee this morning! This is exactly what Candice was talking about.” After a few google searches, it was evident to me what was going on. So unbelievable! I’m thrilled because I’m glad I discovered a source as well as a concrete reason to lay off caffeine as I’ve been wanting to quit for a long time. I just wanted to share with you my findings. Thank you for everything that you do and being a light for me in my season of storms. God bless.

    • Hi Tanica. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to write and share a bit of your story. That’s a big awareness – what effect coffee was having on you. Good for you for taking that action for yourself. Awesome! If there’s anything else I can help with please let me know.

  2. Hello,

    I do enjoy the taste of coffee and the routine of sitting with a warming, soothing cup of coffee in the morning seems to ground me, and it does not seem to have a strong diuretic effect on me, what are your thoughts on drinking decaffeinated coffee?
    I know switching to green tea is the better option, but I find it has a strong diuretic effect on me, which is inconvenient at work to have to pee so often! (Not to mention I have washroom anxiety) Would this diuretic effect of green tea settle down as I become more accustomed to green tea?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated
    Pierre D

    • Thanks for your comment, Pierre. Good questions. I think coffee becomes more problematic when we’re over-doing it… one cup may be fine for you. That being said, you may wish to experiment a bit and see how you feel without the coffee for one or two weeks… what changes do you notice? It’s more about testing it out for yourself. I find a key difference between coffee and green tea is that coffee tends to be more dehydrating… so although you may not be urinating as often, it may be taking minerals along with it… whereas the green tea has more of a detox effect and is not dehydrating. Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Thank you Candice for your videos. I’m really getting a lot out of them. Started eating more protein as one of you suggestions and I do feel better. Eating nuts before eating fruit helps a lot. I would have never thought to do that on my own. So great full for that piece of advice.

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