Food Shopping & Storing Food Shopping & Storing 5 Foods to Avoid When You're Feeling Stressed, According to an RD Because we'll try anything to reduce our anxiety right now. By Betty Gold Betty Gold Betty Gold is a food writer and editor with more than a decade’s experience working on titles such as Food Network Magazine, Bon Appetit, and Good Housekeeping. She is the former senior digital food editor at Real Simple and is currently overseeing all food and nutritional content for Well+Good as senior food editor. Real Simple's Editorial Guidelines Updated on October 23, 2022 Fact checked by Danielle Slauter Fact checked by Danielle Slauter Highlights: * Has worked as a fact checker for Real Simple since 2022 * Worked as a staff writer for Mochi Magazine * Currently runs and operates the United States blog for Student Beans Our Fact-Checking Process Share Tweet Pin Email Between our regular workloads, managing money, back-to-school season, plus trying to get dinner (and breakfast and lunch) on the table while juggling other household tasks, it's easy to feel stressed on the regular. 12 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Better Every Day Figuring out the best methods for managing anxiety is incredibly important for your overall health and immune system. One often overlooked way to keep stress at bay? Choosing wholesome foods that are also good for your gut. "There is over a decade of research showing a connection between our diet, gut health, and our mental health outcomes," says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, and former lead dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. "Studies show that certain foods may help reduce the risk and symptoms of depression and anxiety, perhaps through mechanisms related to both gut health and inflammation." Your Gut Needs Prebiotics and Probiotics—but What's the Difference? This RD Breaks It Down Luckily, there are foods you can eat to reduce symptoms of anxiety. As for the worst foods to eat when you're experiencing symptoms of anxiety, read Kirkpatrick's recommendations below. 01 of 05 Fast Food and Junk Food angelo pantazis A 2019 study found that poor diet quality was linked to poor mental health, regardless of factors such as gender, age, education, marital status, and income level. The study showed that fried foods, foods high in added sugar, and refined grains were all associated with increases in depression. Another study, published in 2013, found that individuals who consumed fast food were more likely to develop depression. 02 of 05 Sugar clarissa carbungco A 2019 study examining depression during the winter months found that consumption of sugar exacerbated depressive symptoms by increasing inflammation in the brain. This finding correlates with several other studies linking excess sugar, inflammation, and mood disorders. 03 of 05 Low-Fiber Diets kristina bratko Low-fiber diets (such as those found in the "Western" diet) are associated with poor gut health. In turn, gut health is highly correlated with mental health outcomes. Multiple studies show that improvements in gut health (through diet and probiotics) may help to improve overall gut health and can positively impact anxiety and depression. RELATED: Top 10 High-Fiber Foods for Great Gut Health 04 of 05 High-Fat Diets jon tyson A 2015 animal study found that body weight and blood sugar changes caused by a high-fat diet caused changes in the brain that increased symptoms of anxiety and depression. Another animal study, published in 2017, found that pregnant primates that consumed a high-fat diet were more likely to produce offspring that developed depression and anxiety. 05 of 05 Alcohol fabio alves A 2013 study found that heavy drinkers had a rewiring of brain activity that made them more likely to have anxiety. Other studies in teens found that binge drinking increased future occurrence of depression and anxiety. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Real Simple is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. Ljungberg T, Bondza E, Lethin C. Evidence of the Importance of Dietary Habits Regarding Depressive Symptoms and Depression. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(5):1616. Published 2020 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/ijerph17051616 Banta JE, Segovia-Siapco G, Crocker CB, Montoya D, Alhusseini N. Mental health status and dietary intake among California adults: A population-based survey. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2019;70(6):759-770. doi:10.1080/09637486.2019.1570085 Sanchez-Villegas A, Martínez-González MA. Diet, a new target to prevent depression? BMC Medicine. 2013;11(1). doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-3 Reis DJ, Ilardi SS, Namekata MS, Wing EK, Fowler CH. The depressogenic potential of added dietary sugars. Med Hypotheses. 2020;134:109421. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2019.109421 Frame LA, Costa E, Jackson SA. 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