Can food trigger anxiety or stress?

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • a rapid heart beat
  • a sense of dread
  • feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • grinding your teeth, especially at night when you’re sleeping
  • headaches
  • pins and needles
  • changes in your sex drive
  • feeling restless or unable to sit still
  • hot flushes


It’s worth noting that anxiety can be a symptom of depression. If you feel as though you’re currently experiencing a high level of emotional stress in your life and you’re concerned you may have depression, it’s worth checking in with your GP to talk to them about your current well-being. It may feel daunting to open up but be assured that they will have the knowledge and support to help you.

Symptoms of depression can be especially complex. However they can include:

  • feeling anxious or worried
  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling tearful
  • having suicidal thoughts or having the urge to harm yourself
  • not getting any enjoyment through the hobbies you used to once love


The exact causes for SAD are not fully understood, with lack of exposure to sunlight often being suggested as a potential contributor, as well as changes in diet and eating habits during the colder months. The role of diet on mood cannot be understated, and in recent years there has been an increased focus in scientific circles of the relationship between the digestive system and the brain.

Did you know that the gut produces 90% of the body’s serotonin, the hormone responsible for feelings of happiness? Or that 90% of the fibres that make up the body’s main nerve, the vagus, are responsible for carrying information from the gut to the brain?

This means if the gut is unhappy, it’s likely you’ll be unhappy too. Around a quarter of people will suffer from depression at some point in their life, and according to a leading UK charity* around 45% of people will show symptoms of food intolerance.

Research has discovered that gastrointestinal inflammation, one of the most frequent symptoms of food intolerance, is frequently found in those showing signs of depression. The relationship between gut health and depression has also been suggested to be bi-directional. This means that if you’re feeling depressed, the health of your digestive system is likely to suffer. Likewise, if you’re suffering from digestive problems, the chance of experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety markedly increases.

Do certain foods cause anxiety?

What foods cause a reaction for one person may not be the same for another. This is why at YorkTest we refer to this as an individual’s ‘food fingerprint’ and recognise that there is a no-one-size-fits-all approach.

We find that an average YorkTest customer reacts to 4-5 different foods and some ingredients may be unsuspecting.

Why YorkTest

What our clients have to say

Stephanie Eaton

Stephanie Eaton

Symptoms: bloating, brain fog, anxiety Food Reactions: cow’s milk, egg white, plum, lamb, goat, pomegranate, buckwheat
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Symptoms: behavioural issues, tiredness Food Reactions: cow's milk, yeast, egg
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Sarah Healy

Sarah Healy

Symptoms: bloating, weight gain, anxiety Food Reactions: wheat, eggs, coconut, chia seeds
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David Brown

David Brown

Symptoms: fatigue, anxiety Food Reactions: egg
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