Put Down the Bag! Those Pringles Might Be Giving You a Panic Attack

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These foods are making your anxiety worse.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population, suffer from some form of anxiety or depression. Good news: there are changes you can make to your life right now to feel better. In fact, you can find solutions to your anxiety and depression in your own pantry.

If you're anything like me (or Bridget Jones), after a bad day or a breakup you might reach for that pint of ice cream or bottle of Pinot. Turns out, there's nothing worse for your anxiety, depression, or health than some of our favorite comfort foods. There's a huge link between your emotions and food intake (obviously)- but did you know that it actually works the other way around too?

What you eat totally affects your mood. Here are some foods that help and hurt your anxiety.

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These foods will make you depressed/anxious

  • Sugar. According to a Columbia University Study, "Foods with high GI scores — like white bread, soda, boxed cereal, white rice and potatoes — could be causing or worsening depression symptoms."

  • Booze. It's a depressant. Which might come as a surprise since it's the international liquid of partying. But it actually exacerbates the symptoms of depression.

  • Fried Foods. It's the hydrogenated oil, and it's linked to depression, and wreaks havoc on your brain chemistry not to mention your weight.

  • Trans Fats. Snack foods, packaged foods, desserts, aka: the fun stuff. How do you feel after you eat an entire box of oreos? Yeah. I thought so.

  • Caffeine. Why? Caffeine effects your sleep cycle, which is one of the biggest indicators of happiness. Less caffeine means better sleep means better mood.

  • Wheat. I always thought wheat was a healthy person food, but: "wheat bran gets a black mark in the anti-anxiety department for its notoriously high concentration of phytic acid. This anti-nutrient binds to important mood minerals like zinc and limits their absorption. Adequate levels of zinc are especially important for anxious people, as deficiencies are common and have shown to induce anxious behavior and depression." The more ya know ;)

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Foods that Make you happier!

  • Fatty Fish. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other mental disorders. Okee dokee, sign me up.

  • Leafy Greens. They're high in folic acid, and low folate levels have been linked to depression.

  • Probiotic Yogurts. They can affect the neurotransmitter GABA, which reduces anxiety and stress hormones.

  • Water, water, and more water. Duh.

  • Oysters and Mussels (rich in zinc-which fights depression- and brain healthy selenium)

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So want to take immediate action to take care of your physical and mental health? Start in your own refrigerator, and watch the immediate positive effects it has on your life. It might be a little difficult at first, but you'll thank us for it.

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