A List Of Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety And Stress

Everyone knows that healthy eating has a positive impact on our physical health, but most people underestimate the impact that healthy eating has on our mental health. 


Feeling anxious from time to time is normal, especially in stressful situations. However, we must take care when anxiety is characterized by excessive worry, emotional distress, fear, or apprehension.  


Over 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from anxiety. Many people choose to treat anxiety through medication, but the side effects of the medication could result in additional health concerns, including fatigue, headaches, sleep problems, and other side effects that can actually make anxiety symptoms worse.


The best thing you can do when you experience feelings of anxiety is to make healthy lifestyle choices to manage those feelings before they escalate into more serious health concerns. Healthy eating is one of the most effective ways to have a long-term, positive impact on your stress levels. 


Now, without further ado, here is a list of healthy foods that you should add to your diet. These foods will not only help you in your quest to reduce stress and anxiety, but also improve your overall health:




Fatty Fish


Salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, and other fatty fish are rich in omega-3, which have been proven in a recent study to help reduce anxiety in healthy adults. Omega-3s also promote healthy brain function, which can help you improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills to further reduce your stress.


Fatty fish also have vitamin D, which is positively linked to the control of seasonal affective disorder and depression. Additionally, fatty fish oils can support sensory and cognitive development, improve memory, fight dementia, and support a host of other brain functions to enhance your mental health. 




Dark Chocolate


This delicious treat is said to reduce your stress and improve your mood. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, which is a nutrient that reduces the symptoms of depression, as well as tryptophan, which the body processes and converts to the serotonin that we need to fight anxiety, depression, and insomnia.


Dark chocolate helps the body produce dopamine, which is also critical for our mental health. When your body does not produce enough dopamine, you are unable to experience pleasure when you exercise, eat your favorite foods, interact with the people you love, or participate in the activities that normally make you happy.


It may not seem that way, but dark chocolate is a surprisingly healthy food that you may want to add to your diet. Needless to say, dark chocolate is a calorie-dense food so make sure not to overeat.





Whether you enjoy pineapples as a fun snack or a healthy dessert, you will benefit from its vitamin B, which can enhance your brain function and give you the energy you need to deal with stress. Pineapples are also high on melatonin, which controls your sleep cycles, and they help your body produce serotonin, which promotes positive moods and behaviors.


Another benefit of eating pineapples is that its vitamin C facilitates the production of dopamine, which controls your emotions and behaviors. Whether you eat pineapples alone or add them to a drink or salad, they can work wonders to help you control your anxiety.

Green Tea


Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, and it promotes calmness and relaxation. Theanine also increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which are mood enhancers but each with its own unique set of positive impacts on mental and behavioral health.


To maximize the benefits of drinking green tea, you should use it as a replacement for soda, coffee, and alcoholic beverages. Try to drink at least one cup of green tea per day to improve your brain function, decrease your risk of depression, and enhance your multitasking abilities. 






Chamomile is a relaxing herb with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help improve brain function and promote the healthy flow of blood to your brain. It's very helpful when it comes to reducing the short-term and long-term symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Research shows that consuming chamomile can have a meaningful and significant impact to reduce generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.

You can add chamomile to your diet in tea, take chamomile capsules, or steep fresh chamomile in hot water. Consult your physician before taking chamomile if you have recently had surgery or if you have asthma. 






Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory root that reduces oxidative stress, which can help you fight anxiety and depression. It also helps the body produce serotonin and dopamine, the natural chemicals in the body that promote a positive mood, fight anxiety, and enable feelings of satisfaction.


You can often find turmeric in Indian and Asian foods, or it can be easily added to smoothies and casserole dishes. Turmeric can be enhanced with piperine, which is a substance found in black pepper, so adding ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to your food per day can help you feel better in the long run. As always, consult your physician before deciding to use turmeric or any other natural supplement for medicinal purposes.






Not only does yogurt promote brain health, but it also fights the inflammation that has been linked to anxiety and depression. Yogurt contains probiotics, which have become popular in recent years. Probiotics are healthy, live bacteria that help improve memory and fight depression. Other foods with probiotics include sauerkraut, kefir, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and pickles.


You may also enjoy a delicious frozen yogurt, which is similar to ice cream, but check the label to make sure that the yogurt has “live cultures” and the probiotics were not killed off during the manufacturing process.






Called nature’s candy, blueberries are full of vitamin C, which has antioxidants to relieve anxiety and stress. Blueberries boost serotonin levels and can help manage emotional detachment and other complications associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They also help fight Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and they can improve cognitive function and brain health.


Blueberries are made of about 85% water, which is needed to avoid the stress and anxiety that results from dehydration. Increasingly popular as a healthy treat, you can enjoy blueberries as a frozen snack, with dark chocolate, in your cereal, as an ice cream topping, or in a smoothie.  




Pumpkin Seeds 


These are high in potassium, which can help diminish the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Further, they have tryptophan, which aids in the production of serotonin that regulates your mood and melatonin that regulates your sleep.


Research shows that pumpkin seeds can be effective in addressing the body’s need for zinc, manganese, copper, magnesium, and other nutrients that are linked to mental health disorders. You can enjoy pumpkin seeds in a variety of ways, including raw, roasted, and toasted, or you can add pumpkin seeds powder to a drink to get multiple health benefits.






Avocados are high on vitamin B6, which is a natural mood enhancer that can have positive impacts on anxiety levels. They also have vitamin E, which has been linked to cognition and the healthy flow of blood into the brain for clearer decision-making.


Avocados are also high in monounsaturated fats, which control your blood sugar levels to help prevent spikes that cause anxiety, and they contain folate that helps fight depression.


Avocados are delicious when grilled, in guacamole, as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream, in soups and salads, on toast, or even in smoothies.



High in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, almonds are considered superfoods that reduce anxiety due to their positive impact on your mental health. Magnesium is needed to maintain adequate levels of serotonin in the brain, and almonds provide a powerful boost of magnesium.


Almonds also contain vitamin E, which is needed to assist in the prevention of anxiety disorders, and selenium, which is a mineral known to reduce stress. You can eat almonds as a snack, use almond butter in place of peanut butter, or add it to your salads. If you don't enjoy almonds, try almond milk to get the nutrients you need to help reduce your stress.






Widely known for its ability to support overall physical health, this leafy green vegetable is high in the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and several other vitamins and minerals that can also enhance your mental health. This includes magnesium, which helps you maintain your cortisol levels to manage your anxiety.


Research shows that spinach has anti-depressive qualities that help us manage chronic stress. About a cup of raw spinach per day can help you reduce your anxiety and do wonders for your health.


Additionally, there are foods that you should avoid if you have anxiety, including foods and drinks with caffeine. Gluten can also trigger anxiety symptoms for people with Celiac disease, and alcohol is a toxin that inhibits mental function and decreases the levels of serotonin in the body.


Also, foods that are high in sodium can trigger panic episodes and have a negative impact on the brain’s neurological function. Eliminating these foods from your diet can help you in your quest to keep your anxiety under control.


If your symptoms of anxiety persist over a long period of time or interfere with your daily life, this may be a sign of an underlying health condition that requires medical treatment. Contact your medical doctor or mental health practitioner if you still feel overwhelmed by anxiety despite your healthy lifestyle choices.

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