3 Foods That Fuel Panic Attacks


We are what we eat. While the phrase is universally applicable, it couldn’t be more relevant to those suffering from panic attacks in particular. A panic attack is a state triggered by the nervous system which is in turn affected by the food we eat. Studies indicate that there are certain foods that are notorious for the emergence of such attacks. Eliminate these from your diet completely and you may be able to reduce your panic attacks.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant which means that one of its after-effects is a state of reduced activity. Depression, in turn, is one of the symptoms that eventually leads to panic attacks. It also leads to dehydration, dizziness, and sweating. Need I say more? There are many theories that propound the use of alcohol to calm down your nervous system, even in case of a panic attack. Don’t believe them. Numerous studies have shown that alcohol and panic disorders are related and that long-term use of alcohol can aggravate the state and frequency of panic disorders. This is not to say that you must quit drinking completely in one go. Sudden withdrawal brings with it more problems, and so the idea is to reduce the intake and eventually stop drinking completely.

Caffeine: Caffeine, like alcohol, is a psychoactive drug that triggers our nervous system. As a result, it causes  which makes people more vulnerable to panic attacks. Also, when we consume caffeine, our lactate levels rise, a condition known to produce panic attacks. Caffeine also interferes with a brain chemical called adenosine whose job is to calm down our nerves. The problem with avoiding caffeine is that it is also found in many other foods, for example, tea and chocolate. This makes it all the more difficult to reduce caffeine, but determination helps.

Sugar: This is perhaps the most difficult food item to avoid. Present in almost everything that we eat, sugar can wreak havoc on your system leading to panic attacks. Sugar-rich foods produce lactic acid in our bloodstream which releases large doses of insulin. The blood is not able to produce enough glucose, and depression and anxiety set in. Chocolates, sweets, sodas, and sugary drinks are all responsible for panic attacks.

While it’s not at all easy to control our cravings for the foods listed above, a strong will and the determination to have good health should be our motivating force. Panic attacks can prove to be severely detrimental to our confidence and self-esteem, which is why a small sacrifice of quitting these foods shouldn’t hurt.

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