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Top 9 Foods to Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Good nutrition not only improves mood, but also ensures the normal functioning of the brain. A diet that includes fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and gluten-free grains helps to soothe the body and mind. For example, vegans are less stressed and anxious than meat eaters.

A good example of this is the professional photographer from Houston (USA) Gia G., who refused sugar, gluten, caffeine and animal products - they contribute to the deterioration of mental and physical health. At the same time, the woman increased her intake of plant foods and the result was striking.

“Usually I experienced a lot of stress, as if my body was buzzing. But as soon as I eliminated the culprits of this condition from my diet, the stress level decreased significantly, now I am very calm. My mind remains clear and there is no longer that state of distraction that I had to fight with, ”admits Gia.

Food and well-being are interconnected - poor nutrition leads to poor well-being. Refined carbohydrates and sugar increase blood glucose levels, briefly increasing energy levels, but then a decline follows, followed by fatigue and irritability. You have probably noticed that when you are in a bad mood, you are drawn to various unhealthy snacks, but their consumption only worsens the situation, and as a result, you get a vicious circle.

Relationship between food and mood

There is a term “mood food”, which refers to the relationship of food with mood. In fact, it means that when you eat well, you feel great, and if you don’t, then your mood is not so hot. Too much fat, meat, sugar, and processed foods lead to poor mental health, decreased vitality, and even anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, a diet of fresh, wholesome foods provides us with a full range of vitamins and minerals, and switching to organic foods will help to avoid unnecessary toxins affecting the body and brain.

Although many manufacturers fortify their products with vitamins and minerals, these are synthetic substances that are poorly absorbed in the body. In addition, such food is devoid of many useful nutrients - enzymes, flavonoids, antioxidants, etc., and these elements are important for the full functioning of the body. Nutritious nutrition is also important for mental health, as it helps reduce anxiety and stress levels, in part through the complex carbohydrates found in certain fruits, vegetables, and grains. These carbohydrates are involved in the release of serotonin, a chemical regulator of mood and behavior.

Best Foods to Reduce Anxiety

Fermented products

Fermented foods have the ability to reduce anxiety, both directly and indirectly. Pickled, salted, soaked fruits and vegetables retain a maximum of useful vitamins and minerals, they also contain probiotics, which not only helps reduce anxiety, but also calms the brain. Fermented foods include: kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, umeboshi plums (dried Japanese plums), dairy-free yogurt, and kefir.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced in the body, so a person must replenish their supply with food. These acids are beneficial for the brain and nervous system. Eating foods rich in omega-3s can help reduce irritability and reduce symptoms of depression (eicosapentaenoic acid). Omega-3 acids are found in large quantities in fish and fish oil, but eating seafood is not always beneficial due to the pollution of the seas and oceans. Fortunately, there are plant-based alternatives that are also rich in these acids: flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, legumes, olive oil, and algae oil.

Tulasi (Holy Basil)

Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is a plant used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine for its valuable properties, including the ability to normalize blood glucose levels, regulate mood and protect the body from toxins that negatively affect the physical and mental state.

Anxiety and sleep disturbance are often associated factors. Consuming basil will help promote better and more restorative sleep, reducing fatigue and providing energy.

Foods rich in enzymes

As you know, the state of the intestinal microbiome directly affects overall well-being, including mental health. Many certainly have repeatedly paid attention to the connection between anxiety and the gastrointestinal tract. For example, when you're nervous before a job interview or a date, you often get "butterflies in your stomach" or feel nauseous in unpleasant or traumatic situations.

Stress can lead to changes in the structure of the microbiota, which in turn will affect mood and vice versa, a healthy brain leads to a healthy microbiome. Prebiotics, probiotics and enzyme-rich foods (papaya, pineapple, avocado, honey, ginger) will help improve intestinal health.

Moringa leaves

Moringa is a plant that grows in South Asian countries and has a lot of useful properties, including those that affect mood and memory. This herb is high in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which helps moringa boost energy levels and calm the nervous system.

Moringa is a versatile and very useful plant with a pleasant taste. Moringa leaves can be eaten as is, consumed as a tea or supplement, and the powder or liquid extract can be added to smoothies and other dishes.


Turmeric is a yellow spice that is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines. Not only does turmeric add flavor to food, but it is also known for its health benefits due to its curcumin content. This compound has a calming effect and helps reduce symptoms of stress, as well as boost the immune response to inflammation.

Dark chocolate

Good health means taking care of yourself. This means not depriving yourself of small pleasures, such as a piece of dark chocolate, which has already been proven to have a positive effect on mood, especially in women. Dark chocolate causes the body to release endorphins, or as they are also called "hormones of happiness."


Mankind has been growing and cultivating tea for thousands of years, and in some countries the preparation of this drink is a real ritual. The process of brewing tea leaves, their aroma and the warmth emanating from the walls of the mug and warming the palms - all this evokes a feeling of peace. In addition, tea reduces the level of cortisol (stress hormone).

Oolong, black, green and white teas are made from the Camellia sinensis plant and contain almost the same concentration of L-theanine. This amino acid, found in unfermented tea leaves, promotes the activation of thought processes, stimulates the production of the "happiness hormone" dopamine, and thereby improves mood and resistance to stress. It reduces anxiety symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, and over-anxiety, and improves sleep quality. Since tea also contains caffeine in addition to L-theanine, you should choose teas that contain less caffeine, such as green or white.

Foods with a high concentration of magnesium

Magnesium is found in a wide range of foods. This mineral is important for bone health, normal functioning of nerves and muscles. Magnesium also helps fight anxiety. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts, avocados, bananas, and figs. Magnesium can also be taken in supplement form.

What do you need to remember?

There really is a connection between food and mood: what you eat has a huge impact on your overall well-being. Healthy eating helps to maintain mental clarity, improves mood and gives vitality.

If you want to feel happy, healthy and full of energy, do not neglect fruits and vegetables, as well as fermented and fermented foods. Eliminate animal products, sugar, gluten, and industrially processed foods from your diet. Try to eat a balanced diet high in natural foods that have a positive effect on mental health.