Feeling stressed? Avoid these foods

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Woman in Stress
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Many of us turn to food to help us relax when we’re stressed. However, the foods we reach for, a cup of strong coffee or a sugary snack does not inherently fall under the healthy category.

In her recent post on Instagram, Dr. Uma Naidoo, a Harvard nutritional psychiatrist observed that “when we’re stressed, we often choose the most convenient foods to fit our schedule. However, these foods usually contain ingredients that worsen your stress levels.”

These foods can satisfy the taste buds, but they are highly processed and can cause gas, acidity, and inflammation. In fact, “inflammation is the number one cause of a mental illness, so it’s so important to minimize it,” Dr. Naidoo appended.

Below is a list of nine foods that are advised by Dr. Naidoo to avoid when you’re irritated or stressed.


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Caffeine is beneficial to the body when consumed in a regulated manner, but more than two cups can cause inflammation. It may also cause increased stress and anxiety by “wreaking havoc on the adrenal glands,” according to the nutritional psychiatrist.

Processed Meats

They are high on preservatives like nitrates and sulfites, as the name implies. “They disrupt gut health and have been linked to mood shifts,” the doctor pointed out.

Refined Carbs

This is not the best item to eat if you are trying to lose extra kilos. It should also not be on the list because it increases blood sugar levels and induces stomach inflammation as a result of slow digestion. Since “processed carbs are stripped of fiber,” this occurs.

Breakfast Cereal

Dr. Naidoo said that “it’s almost always full of sugar and refined carbs and will spike your blood sugar, leaving you on an emotional rollercoaster for the rest of the day,”


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This is a big no, and you must be aware of the sugar intake because it is often hidden in our daily foods. Sugar disrupts your gut by destroying beneficial bacteria. Since our mental wellbeing is significantly linked to our gut health, include these foods in your diet to keep your gut healthy.

Processed Vegetable Oil

While Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to our health, processed vegetable oil contains the bad kind, which is inflammatory and can cause stomach problems.


Dr. Naidoo remarked that “Even without the sugar in many alcoholic beverages, alcohol is well known to disrupt the gut lining and be linked to depression.”

Artificial Sweetener

It’s all downhill from there once you start consuming artificial sweeteners because they disrupt the gut microbiome.


“Besides the sugar, dark sodas contain phosphoric acid, which competes with magnesium absorption, an essential nutrient for mental health,” Dr. Naidoo concluded.

Related: This is what 2 servings of fish per week can do to your heart