Stopping all forms of caffeine is a #1 step as part of anxiety therapy. It’s and absolute truth that caffeine can trigger anxiety & panic attacks. After much frustration, trial, and error – surprisingly I figured out one of the things that would set me off besides caffeine was hot peppers. Hot, super spicy foods were one of my ultimate favorite things! Anything with cayenne, chilies, habeneros, and jalepenos would make me do an unwelcome sanity dance. Go figure? Help anxiety, cool out on the hot stuff.
My two fold theory:
1) When the adrenals are weak, so is the mucosa lining in the intestines. Therefore, irritants like capsicum from hot peppers just makes a bad situation worse by creating more inflammation in the fragile intestinal lining. It’s like getting hot peppers in your eye, ever done that? With increased inflammation, digestion and absorption of proteins in the intestines gets jacked up and the body cannot make brain calming neurotransmitters since the raw material (amino acids) can’t be absorbed. Hence, general anxiety increases because feel good brain chemicals aren’t in supply.
2) The other deduction I’ve made is how hot peppers must stimulate an adrenaline response. Hot stuff are stimulants right? I have found no specific research to back this up this ‘hot pepper & adrenaline’ theory. (If any of you locate some, please let me know!) An adrenaline response from fatigued adrenals can create anxiety and even a panic attack. I’ve lived it. In years past, almost every night I used to eat spicy foods, as I hit rock bottom I could no longer eat anything spicy without ‘loosing it’ a few hours later. Now that my adrenals and gut are getting stronger I can do spicy here and there. THANK GOD! Missed that one as much as I still long for coffee…
So, if you are still narrowing down causes for anxiety and panic attacks – eliminate and re-introduce things and note your body’s response. You might be surprised and what your triggers really are. Never would have thought hot food would trigger panic attacks!