Foods That Make You Stressed, Anxious and Depressed

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Last week we looked at foods that help you concentrate and today I want to take a look at foods that make you stressed, anxious and depressed. I am a firm believer that what you eat has a big impact on how “healthy” your mind is. If you have been feeling unusually stressed lately and aren’t sure why then maybe it has something to do with your diet.

Foods that make you stressed, anxious and depressed

1. Coffee

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The first one on the list is going to be the most controversial but I am willing to argue my point. Coffee is one substance that makes you stress and sometimes even depressed.

The reason for this is simple and it has to do with the sugar and the caffeine that comes in coffee. When we drink a coffee we usually get a caffeine hit and a sugar rush. This picks us up for a few minutes or perhaps even an hour but then comes the inevitable low. The crash. This is when we start to get feelings of sadness and stress and we cannot figure out why we are feeling so bad.

Test it out for yourself. See how you feel before a coffee, immediately after a coffee and then about two hours after a coffee. You might be surprised.

2. Meat

When I started eating a vegetarian diet I was absolutely shocked at how happy and “light” I felt all the time. I decided that I was going to do some research in to the matter and see whether eating meat causes stress or depression and it turns out that many ancient medical practices believe that it does. Every time I eat meat now I feel heavy and quite sick.

Many people in the East will tell you that feeling depressed after eating meat is due to the negative karma that is accrued due to killing an animal. Some more modern science, however, tells us that it might be due to the damage meat can cause your insulin levels as well as several other systems in the body. Meat has been linked to cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. One study even showed that vegetarians are happier than meat eaters!

3. Alcohol

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Alcohol has been shown to change the chemistry of the brain and make you more likely to experience long term depression. With alcohol we are not talking about a depression that lasts a little while – it is one that lasts a long time and usually leads you to your next drink. You then need to drink more than you used to to feel better and end up in a fast downward spiral. This is called tolerance and is a big part of why alcohol and any other drug is so addictive.

The sad thing is that people who are already feeling a bit depressed use alchohol to treat the depression. This just makes them feel even more depressed and doesn’t really get you anywhere.

4. Fast food

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A few months ago I was lucky enough to be the personal attendant of a very high Buddhist Lama when he visited Australia. During this special week we spent lots of time discussing buddhism and talking about all aspects of life. Every night we would go out for dinner and I would try to take him to places that only made clean and healthy food. After a while we got on to talking about fast food joints like Maccas, KFC and Burger King. He told me that if you want to get a serious disease and have a depressed mind you should eat them often.

I have always thought that these foods were bad. They are full of preservatives, salt, sugar, saturated fats and a host of other horrible chemicals. Think about all the antibiotics and hormones that KFC pump in to their meat before they lace it with salty bread crumbs and deep fry it. No wonder you feel heavy after you eat it.

Try and avoid these foods at lunch time if you are feeling stress and anxious and depressed. This will also distract you from your work because you will feel full and sick.


The best thing you can do for your health is eat a natural diet that has as little man-made foods as possible. A diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, raw milk, eggs and other natural things will leave you feeling lighter, happier and full of long lasting energy. Avoid foods that are overly processed and full of refined sugar, salt and saturated fats.

Does anyone have any experiences with food making them feel terrible?

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41 thoughts on “Foods That Make You Stressed, Anxious and Depressed

  1. The funny thing is I don’t consume most of these foods because of how they make me feel. Alcohol causes my sleep to be inconsistent and coffee makes me jittery. I think that when we pay attention to what we consume we can really feel their affects. Instead of ignoring these signs we need to act on them and see if we can substitute them for a better alternative.

  2. I agree completely with the post and with Karl. I did not know that meat eaters may possibly be unhappier than vegetarians though. I’ll have to look into that. Great post!

  3. I really enjoyed this article because it proved to me that all of these things are bad for you, no matter what other people try to get you to believe.

    I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee, alcohol & meat & have noticed a drastic change not only in my mood, but the way my body feels generally.

    For me, it was easy to cut all of those things out of my diet… but I know a lot of people who cringe at the thought of not eating their 1/4 lbs burger & drinking cheap beer.

    Thank you so much for enlightening me. :]

  4. You’ve got some good points. A lot of these foods do have measurable and significant effects on the brain and body. Still, I think that moderation is the right answer for most people. I don’t think that the occasional glass of wine or white mocha is going to make me stressed or depressed. I actually consider them to be happy foods!

  5. Great comments guys! I really appreciate your input.

    Sara – I think you are right about moderation. Usually these things start to make you feel bad when you have too much of it.

    Apricot – Keep up the good work with your diet changes.

    Zack – If you find anything interesting about meat eaters and depression let us know!

    Karl – You are so right about paying attention. Most people aren’t aware enough of their own body and don’t pick up the fact that the food is what is causing some of their problems.

    Great work everyone!


  6. Interesting observations. Nutrition is the key to more health problems and, conversely, healing, than any other factor. While nature’s unspoiled, unprocessed foods are just right for the human organism, most people are eating substances that the body considers “foreign invaders.” The result? Disease and dis-ease. โ€” Dr Vic,

  7. My personal experiences with food – emotional connection is whenever I consume too much fast food I feel lonely, lazy, and fat. Although, I eat enough variety in my daily diet that I can eat a steak and feel amazing afterward. It’s only when I eat the same thing for more than two days in a row that I start feeling bad, negative emotions. So personally, I believe it’s not at all about what you eat, but that you control how much of anything you consume. Eating solely vegetables is definitely bad for you because you wouldn’t be getting enough balanced nutrition.

  8. I feel rested and energetic in the morning if I sleep with the window open and the TV on all night. Weird, I know. If I eat raw fruit, nuts, raw veggies I feel ok throughout the day. The minute I eat fast food, chips, meat,bread or drink anything but plain filtered water I feel sluggish as if I have been drugged or I feel instantly depressed, or real hyper and disoriented. Its kind of hard not eating like everyone else. I do fall off the proper food wagon every once in awhile, and have a lousy day. Its not just about balanced nutrition for me. Barely coping. Nita

  9. Meat makes you depressed? What a joke. Coincidence does not imply causation. ever think that when you became a vegetarian you ate more vegetables…and that was the cause of you feeling ‘light’ not the fact that you cut out meat which is essential in a balanced diet. I would love to see the references for the studies you quoted to prove your point. What about the negative karma from killing all those plants…sounds like you are inconsistent…plant murderer! They have a right to live too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Hi Aaron.

    Thanks for your comment.

    I’ll try to address every point you made.

    1. I think it is important to remember that becoming a vegetarian does not necessarily mean one is eating more vegetables as you stated. In my case I started eating a lot more rice, pasta and baked goods. Not an ideal vegetarian diet.

    2. Meat is not essential in a balanced diet. It is important for some people but one can get by without it extremely well. I would like to see what studies you can produce to show that it is essential – many of these studies are funded by the beef, lamb or pork industry as happen in Australia in 2007 when the Government’s CSIRO Agency published a book favoring meat which was later found out to be funded by Lamb Association.

    I am not saying there are no health benefits of eating meat. There are. But it is not essential as these benefits can be obtained from vegetarian sources.

    3. If you want to find studies that indicate meat causes depression search for those that hypothesize that excess omega-6 fatty acid is linked with depression and outweighs the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acid found in meat.

    Furthermore, studies comparing vegetarians, partial-vegetarian and non-vegetarians in overall health consistently show non-vegetarians to be worse off.

    However, as always, there are studies that show the opposite. I guess it is up to the individual to decide.

    There are also numerous studies linking meat to heart disease and cancer.

    4. In terms of the Buddhist concept of negative karma, killing does not include plants because plants are not sentient. They have no mind or the ability to discern. Therefore, killing a plant is not considered “killing”.

    Eating meat could be considered negative karma, though, as one is causing more animals to be killed by participating in the economics of supply and demand. The more meat consumers demand the greater the levels of supply.

    My decision to stop eating meat was mostly an ethical one. The treatment of animals (animals can think and feel) is outrageous – especially in a modern place like the USA. In many documented cases the animals are still alive whilst being butchered for sale in markets.

    Also, as many scientists have posited, the meat industry does more harm to the environment then cars and air travel combined. It is extremely inefficient and unsustainable.

    Thanks for your comment. I understand your point of view and appreciate you expressing it. I hope I don’t come across as a raving vegetarian trying to convert you. I don’t care what you eat. But I think it is important we look at all the facts before making a decision – feeling ‘light’ is not just a digestive sensation – it is also a ‘peace of mind’ one.

    Perhaps check out

    Hope to see you around the site again.


  11. Coffee makes me completely stressed and anxious. I know this doesn’t sound sexy at all, but drinking coffee makes me sweat for hours after I drink it. The weird thing is that I can drink other caffeinated beverages and not feel this way at all. Very odd.

  12. Somewhere along the lines of studying ancient philosophy, occultism and growing up in a hunting/ fishing community i learned a little about eating meat that you may find interesting. Whether the fallowing is true or not i do not know and am only repeating relevant information.

    When hunting the idea of accuracy is important, not for showmanship but for health. If an animal is wounded and does not die immediately it releases adrenalin into the body tainting the meat, as adrenalin is utilized in muscle tissue.

    Other things that are found in lots of animals (including humans) and in some cases plants are nuerotransmitters such as serotonin and 5-htp. These are regulated and released within the pituitary gland and in a couple organs not sure how plants also develop these,but that is what the supplementations are derived from. When the body has to much serotonin for what it can utilize it stores it in the muscles, (huge issue surrounding mao inhibitors and ssri anti-depressents).

    Most meat that you will find at a market in north america comes from an animal that has not lead a “good” life. It has been miserable and depressed, anxious and scared this will dictate how the meat makes you feel. If these animals have been slaughtered in a less then immediate way they suffer and so does the quality of meat and so does the person eating it. If humans do or feel something one way for long enough it becomes unclear how the other way would be this is escalated less and less consciously aware the person is.

    “we have been poisoned by the industrious manufacturers intent for profit. Prepare your own food and do yourself a favor, put some love into it”.

  13. how are you gonna say coffee is a food that will help you concentrate and then follow up with it being a stress and depression inducer? which one is it?

  14. Hi Roberta.

    I think it is both. For example, sugar will help you concentrate by causing you to perk up but it will also cause depression because, after the sugar high, comes a big low!

    Hope that helps.


  15. The sweating is coming from how your body manages the intake of coffee. Do you eat before coffee in the morning? I recommend a non-acidic substance for example potatoes or humus to help balance the digestive process. Do you drink at lest one cup of water extra with or after your coffee? This not only helps with hydration and the acidity but it will cause you to urinate more leaving less to come out through your pores.

    I do not know your diet so i can’t really recommend anything but it would be possibly worthwhile to look into having a cup of sage tea in the afternoon. Sage has been known to inhibit sweating. There are dangers attached to inhibiting sweating especially if you ingest a lot of toxins. Sage is subtle but may provide a bit of clarity and energy. Unlike coffee the energy is subtle you wont get jitters, you may just be more awake and alert.

    Try the recommendations of the first paragraph first. Ultimately not drinking coffee often and never becoming a daily drinker of it are the ways to stop it from breaking down the bodies way of metabolizing it.

  16. Awesome post! I know its a bit late to comment, but I will offer my own insight and experience with eating healthier. I am a vegan now for a number a years, and really didn’t realize how much meat and animal products were affecting my energy and health overall.

    Its amazing how much more I can do in day, and with less sleep while eating vegan. I also have no alcohol,don’t smoke, no drugs ( pharma or recreational) no coffee or sugar added to my food. It may sound boring but I won’t trade the high I get from living this way for anything.

    Eating vegan allows me to avoid ingesting bad karma associated with most meat and animals that are slaughtered or abused. I won’t buy into that, or support those abusive practices. its a choice one makes from a conscious effort to give back to the planet, humanity and the whole universe.


  17. um to point number 4. i’m pretty sure plants have some sort of feeling. vegetarians… just have nothing else to eat so they eat whatever doesn’t move around or make noises before they die.

    killing means to deprive of life, animal or vegetable, in any manner or by any means

    thats why people call that toxic can weed killer.

    its great you guys are doing good to those animals. but humans are always doing something wrong. survival of the fittest.

  18. You totally contradicted yourself from the article about Foods that help you concentrate. Coffee is on both lists!!! This is the reason why the internet sometimes can be a bad source of info : (

  19. Meat causes depression? Please. What nonsense. Where are your scientific studies to back this up?

    More likely what you eat “with” the meat is what is causing your depression.

    Man has been eating meat for 2.7 million years long before depression was around. Depression has only been existent since people started eating high carb diets.

    I eat a meat only diet, which is high in fat, moderate in protein and next to zero in carbs and I do not experience depression or anxiety. However when I ate the standard American diet, high in carbs I constantly felt like rubbish. Many vegans I know who have seen the light on this forum: ( have experienced the the same – they have switched over to meat and feel so much better for it.

    And no I do not feel guilty eating meat. A cow is not equal to man. You lose all credibility when you start talking Karma.

  20. Hi Rob.

    I don’t really feel like there is any point discussing the issue with you as you seem to already have made up your mind.

    As for a cow being equal to a man, who said it was? That doesn’t mean it feels zero suffering or pain or that it wants to be killed. Animals go through tremendous pain when they are slaughtered for meat. Have you ever taken a trip to a local abattoirs? I encourage you to do so.

    Meat is now also an issue for climate change and cancer. A study of over 500 thousand Americans has shown that high levels of meat increases risk of over five cancers buy up to 60%. So while you may not feel depressed (that is excellent by the way) you are actually increasing your risk of several other diseases.

    Thanks for your comment.


  21. Rob you never said why you think a cow is less important then a human.

    Lets consider this. We are all born despite species we all exist or equally dont exist. No one of us, including any other animal has any more natural right to the resources of the planet, humans think they do for two reasons, inheritance and dominion. Inheritance is truly greedy and selfish right in line with humans, like the immature brat at the toy store who wants everything, even opens a few toys. Dominion.. well we are efficient at a lot of things, but our tendencies are no better so far seemingly worse, most people i’ve come across are unethical, no i do not suppose that anything but our tools would give us the right to claim kingship over the other animals. Other animals utilize tools also though, maybe not as complicated machinery.

    Non of that really matters what it comes down to is that each earthling, including cows and other creatures, independently exist, or equally independently dont exist and therefore deserve the same rights and liberties.

    I eat meat occasionally especially now that its winter. Summer i am mostly raw vegan. But just because im going to eat meat (i rarely eat cow) doesn’t mean i need to believe the lies and in the end lie to myself to justify what im doing.

    life feeds on life, energy is not created nor destroyed only changes.

  22. I know this is an old thread, but I’ve been doing some research on caffeine being a chemistry student and all.
    Coffee. The weird thing is, coffee makes me feel like I’ve got psychosis. I’m normally a slightly anxious person anyway, worrying about tests and exams and uni in general, but when I drink coffee (which I’ve only done a few times…) I feel like something really really bad is about to happen but I don’t know what. I also feel like I have to GO and it doesn’t matter where – I just get this feeling I have to leave/get out/get away.I also feel and act frantic, nervous, jittery, panicky, and like I need to vomit but can’t. The last time I drank coffee, I went out for lunch with a few friends and ordered an iced coffee which was really strong. I went to my nan’s for tea on the way home, but as I sat down, I didn’t want to eat, I just told her I had to get out and drive home. I didn’t want to drive home, I just had to “go.”

    Once the anxiety has gone, I crash and sleep for hours.

    Moral of the story? Coffee isn’t good (for me anyway)!

  23. You are not alone. Coffee makes me crazy too. It is not the caffeine; I can drink tea or soda all day. It also makes me eyes feel weird, like I could lose vision at any moment. I thought it might be the warmth, or maybe my body is so used to getting sugar with caffeine that it freaks out when there is no sugar; but I am just brainstorming. I have no answers.

  24. hi all i have read all of ur comments and the articles but i dont see anyone who has similar feelings to myself… i love eating my veges and love fruit but have noticed that if i eat fruit i feel anious on edge and cant escape all of the irational thoughts that go with the anxiety. why is it that fruit being ” good natural health food ” makes me feel so wrong?

  25. I agree with becci. Whenever I eat really healthy, eat lots of fruit, vegetables, take my vitamins, ect; I tend to feel more anxious and have more rapid and weird thoughts. Also, caffeine relaxes me instead of amping me up and makes me feel happier and not anxious. I can finally enjoy a nice conversation or relax without feeling tense or thinking weirdly. And lastly, fastfood and junk also seems to make me feel happier. I don’t eat it a lot and I’m not addicted to it, but whenever I get a big share of calories and carbs I seem to be nice and relaxed and more laid back. I still eat healthy, take vitamins, omega 3 fish oil pills, eat fruits and veggies, but I also mix some “unhealthy” things in there daily to keep my mood up. I guess for some people different foods react differently.

  26. Coffee affects me horribly, I get a great rush where I’m very productive followed by a terrible crash. This crash lasts for anywhere from 5-8 hours, and is not helped by further coffee consumption. Hence, I rarely drink it.

    Alcohol I love, but you must constantly be aware of how it is affecting you in your life. Daily consumption is a no-no and should be taken as a sign you are headed down a dangerous path. Moderation and recuperation time for your body is a must with drinking alcohol.

    I take issue with including meat however. It’s more of a shameless plug for vegetarianism than a worthwhile point. I understand you are happy for your switch, but in your case I think the feeling of “health” is more mental than real. My girlfriend of nine years was raised vegetarian since birth, and I love vegetarian foods, so I am not a biased meat eater…just someone pointing out that it appears to me your opinion on meat came from an emotional rather than practical source. For the record, there are just as many studies that consuming meat is has many positive health effects as there are the opposite. As is the case with those who do not eat meat, it is often the quality of the ingredient that is of true importance. Which leads me to your last point:

    Fast food. It’s absolute garbage. It is greasy and salty in the best of cases. That said, it’s delicious most of the time. Fast food is something you should avoid if you have serious health issues, but if not it’s fine to enjoy once in a while. Just don’t make it a regular part of your diet, like you wouldn’t make cake or chocolate a regular part of your diet.

  27. Indian cuisine in Asia is replete with vegetarian dishes, many of which can be traced to religious traditions (such as Hindu Brahmins). Gujarati cuisine of India is predominantly vegetarian among other Indian cuisines and Gujarati thali is very famous among Indians. -:^^

    Brand new content article on our own web blog <

  28. Just had 5 weeks without a coffee and was coping after a break up. Had 3 coffees and a coke today and I just bawled my eyes out about my break up, as if there was a huge chemist al imbalance in my brain. Coffee definately contributed.

  29. What about diet soda? I think I’m addicted to diet coke and I have been feeling more tired depressed etc. Could these things be related

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