In today’s fast-paced world, Stress and Anxiety have become all too common. While there are many ways to manage these conditions, one often overlooked solution is through the food we eat. Certain foods have been shown to have a positive impact on our mood and mental health.
So, what about Foods that Reduce Stress and Anxiety? Well, In this article, we’ll explore some of the best foods for reducing stress and anxiety, and explain why they work.
Whether you’re looking for simple ways to improve your mental health or just want to incorporate more healthy foods into your diet, this guide will help you make informed choices about what to eat. So…
8 Foods That Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety?
So, many people are struggling to keep their stress and anxiety levels on an even keel. You do what has been recommended to you by your doctor. This may mean you attend it could be taking your medication as prescribed. Or that you have a good support system of family and friends?
The problem is, a lot of people think this is the answer. That taking the medication, talking to a professional, or having a heart-to-heart chat with others is all it takes to get better.
You need to change your diet as well. If you haven’t tried changing what you eat then you may be missing a very important opportunity to bring your stress and anxiety under control.
Read a Related Post here; Anxiety and Gut Health – How Probiotics May Be the Answer
How This Is a Thing…
Medical professionals are starting to understand a whole lot more about how the nutritional properties of the foods we eat affect our brains. “There is a clear and important connection between the brain and the gut,” explains Jodi Godfrey, MS, RD, a health and nutrition educator.
“Researchers now refer to the gut as the second brain. When essential nutrients are not sufficiently available, there is a direct effect on the production of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry that can increase or lessen anxiety-related behaviours.”
When you feel stressed, food can be one of your best friends to help to alleviate the feelings as long as you eat the correct foods in the right quantities. Eating comfort food is not always the answer. Sugar makes you feel good for a short time but in the long run, it makes the symptoms of stress worse.
If changing your diet does not appeal to you then you could learn from this article as well.
The Good Foods To Eat :
- Dark Chocolate
- Nuts and Seeds
- Citrus Fruits
- Whole Grains
- Fatty Fish
- Fermented Foods
- Leafy Greens
What Are Foods that Reduce Stress and Anxiety?
1# – Dark Chocolate
This is my personal favourite. I’m sure I have said this many times now but it fascinates me that something which is considered a ‘treat’ is also good for you. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and is rich in magnesium. This comes from the Cocoa Beans it is made from and this is a very important trace mineral.
It can help with trouble sleeping and by reducing stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Not too mention release endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine. The 2 main pleasure hormones. The fact that it tastes great as well is exactly why I have place this right at the top of my list.
Although there is definitely a limit when it comes to things like Chocolate. Like Red Wine actually, which I recently wrote about being good for the heart. It (Chocolate) should only be eaten a few squares at a time. Despite all of its health benefits, it’s still full of sugar. The recommended amount to eat is 1 ounce a day.
2# – Nuts, Seeds and Legumes
Almonds, Pistachios and Walnuts are each full of B vitamins. They also contain healthy fatty acids and nutrients which are an important part of a healthy diet. They can help also help reduce stress much as Dark Chocolate does.
Pistachios for instance contain a high healthy fat content, lots of fibre and antioxidants which help to keep blood vessels open and relaxed during stressful moments
As for seeds that have similar healthy properties. Pumpkin seeds are packed with potassium and zinc. These are also important minerals for managing stress levels.
Peanuts and Cashews are not actually nuts but are part of the legume family. They also contain Magnesium and that has been linked to better anxiety levels.
The recommended amount to eat is a handful a day.
3# – Citrus Fruits
Oranges, Mandarins, Satsumas, Grapefruit, Lime and Lemons all contain Vitamin C. Along with many other exotic fruits that you most likely have never heard of before. See this list for different citrus fruits.
Studies have shown consuming Vitamin C helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
The recommended amount to eat is 500 mg a day.
4# – Avocados
Sometimes known as the Aligator Pear – This superfood contains stress-relieving Omega 3 fatty Acids. These acids help to improve your mood, give your concentration a lift and relieve Anxiety. They also contain Fiber and other Nutrients.
In fact studies taken about the Fibre content in Avocados suggest that by eating this fruit you can stay fuller for much longer. Why it is great to eat around breakfast time.
See my recipe for Avocado and Spinach HERE<<
Have you ever tried guacamole? It tastes delicious. I’m not a fan of Avocados but I do like Guacamole. Especially with cream cheese, salsa dip and tortilla chips.
5# – Whole Grains and Carbohydrates (1)
Sweet Potatoes and Whole Grain Bread contain healthy carbohydrates that can improve levels of Serotonin. Once the feel-good levels of serotonin increase they help to boost your mood and can also boost your concentration.
Not all carbs are good for you. Especially if you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Although for those of us that can eat carbs it can really make the difference to go for say whole grain over white bread.
Also, you can get whole grain pasta which is much healthier plus cereals as well. Muesli, porridge oats, granola and shredded wheat are all high fibre options. More so feeling full during the morning until lunchtime can definitely help you feel less stressed.
6# – Fish (2)
Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Halibut and Sardines are all classed as fatty fish because they all contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which has been proven to help with Depression and Anxiety.
It is recommended to eat fish twice a week.
If you don’t like fish you could eat seaweed, Chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and fortified food, such as certain brands of milk, soy milk, and nut milk.
You can also try omega-3 supplements in the form of Fish Oil.
7# – Calcium Rich Foods
Calcium is a huge stress reducer. Having a cup of warm milk before bed helps you to sleep better. Therefore reducing the feelings of tiredness and stress. If you don’t like milk, other dairy products like yoghurt and cheese, are other sources of Calcium. Not forgetting as well that dairy-rich food products such as these are also full of probiotics.
I’ve written about Probiotics for stress and anxiety before on this website – read more here.
If you are lactose intolerant here are some other ideas; Tinned Salmon, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, and Green Leafy Vegetables like Broccoli, Turnip Greens, and Kale are also good sources of Calcium.
8# – Fibre Friendly Foods
Eating foods high in Fiber such as beans, peas, berries, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, and lots of greens, like kale, spinach and broccoli.
Whole grains are also full of fibre. The high fibre content in these foods helps to lower stress, Anxiety and Depression.
My Final Thoughts
Stress Anxiety and Depression can all be helped a great deal by eating the right foods in the right amounts. The 8 foods listed have been studied and tested by various institutions around the world and found to make a difference to people suffering from one, two or all three of these conditions.
We have been taught all of our lives to eat a healthy balanced diet to keep our bodies functioning properly, this also helps to keep our mind in sinc in the process.
I want to thank you for reading this Article, if you know someone else who would benefit from it, then please feel free to share it.
If you have a comment or a question then leave it below, I love reading them and I will get back to you.
Take good care of yourself because you are worth it.
Alex B Chivers