What we eat affects us in many ways, though the chemicals they contain and hormones they activate are both good and bad. While a cup of lemon balm tea before bed is calming, some foods and drinks can increase anxiety.
Dr. Banu Fresko, a neuroscience specialist, said, "When you are more stressful than you normally are, adjusting your diet accordingly can help you a lot."
Here are some foods and drinks that can increase stress levels:
While small amounts of caffeine can boost concentration, more than 200 grams of caffeine increases the levels of stress hormones and causes your body to release adrenaline, making you more stressful and anxious. Moreover, excessive amounts of caffeine intake can lower the levels of magnesium in the body, which can raise blood pressure and cholesterol making stress hormones dominate your nerves.
Thein in tea is the sister of caffeine in coffee. While the caffeine molecule is more loose, thein molecules are bonded to each other, making the effects of thein to come out over time. Drinking tea makes the same effect on the body and increases stress levels with excessive consumption. Do not forget that two cups of tea is equal to one cup of coffee.
Consuming sugary food in high quantities causes the body to release a high amount of insulin, leading to a sudden drop in blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops, you become more agitated and nervous. Since sugary food is not rich in nutrients, your metabolism is stressed, and so is your body.
Artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks
Although they are not real sugar, artificial sweeteners increase insulin levels as well. Moreover, since they stimulate the brain, it also doubles your stress levels.
Cola and similar drinks have the same effect on your body as well. They contain artificial sweeteners in high amounts which is no different than drinking a bottle of sugar.
For your body, complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta etc.) and sugar have no difference in the end because all carbohydrates are absorbed as sugar. Hence, eating food rich in carbohydrates also makes you nervous and your stress levels grow apace since these foods contain both sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Gluten found in food can contain refined carbohydrates or refined products. They increase the release of insulin in your body, cause your blood sugar to drop and... voila! You are stressed.
Gluten also increases stress levels, causing inflammation in the body and the brain, as it is hard to be absorbed by the bowels. Moreover, gluten can cause depression and anxiety in people with a gluten intolerance.
Deli products are in fact bringing various protein sources (meat, organ, skin, cartilage, etc.) together with a substance called "microbial transglutaminase" to look like a whole piece of meat. This substance, which gives the deli products their color as well, increases bowel permeability, eventually stressing the body.