15 Foods to Reduce Anxiety Naturally

The foods you eat can have a direct impact on your anxiety levels.

In this article I’ve compiled a list of 15 foods that can help to reduce anxiety naturally.

Important Note: These foods can be helpful for anxiety symptoms but they’re not a cure for anxiety. Please talk to your doctor about treatment options for anxiety.

Foods to reduce anxiety

A balanced, healthy diet is essential for controlling anxiety and stress.

Foods high in magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, and omega-3 fats are especially beneficial.

It’s also important to ensure that you’re drinking enough water.

Studies have found that dehydration can worsen anxiety symptoms and headaches, so aim for 8 glasses of water each day. [1]

Food sensitivities can cause a variety of issues including mood swings, irritability and anxiety.

Some of the most common triggers for food sensitivities are processed foods containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, along with gluten and dairy.

Here are some of the best foods that can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety naturally.

Beneficial foods for reducing anxiety

Green vegetables including broccoli, arugula (rocket) and spinach contain magnesium and folate.

Folate is required for neurotransmitter production and magnesium is a mineral that helps to calm the nervous system.

Good quality protein, including meat, fish and chicken is also important for neurotransmitter production as neurotransmitters are made from amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

Eating a protein rich breakfast can help you to stay satisfied longer throughout the day and keep your blood sugar level steady so you’re not feeling hungry again a few hours later.

Protein isn’t stored in the body, so it’s important to consume protein rich foods with each meal.

Avocado is great for brain health and reducing anxiety.

Avocado contains potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure, along with B vitamins and monounsaturated fats that are needed for neurotransmitter and brain health.

Nuts are a good source of dietary fiber and provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium.

A small handful of nuts is a good snack between meals that will keep your blood sugar level steady.

Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and magnesium.

Another ingredient in dark chocolate is theobromine, which has a positive, mood elevating effect.

A couple of squares of dark chocolate after dinner is a nice treat.

Turkey contains tryptophan, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel happy.

Some other good sources of tryptophan are chicken, eggs, cheese, tofu, fish, nuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.

Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease anxiety and inflammation. [2]

They can also reduce cortisol and adrenaline spikes.

Omega-rich foods like salmon can help to improve overall mood and ability to cope with stress.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a phenolic compound that has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to enhance mood.

Oats, brown rice and quinoa help to increase the level of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is responsible for mood balance and higher serotonin levels have shown to have a calming effect. 

Foods to avoid

Omega-6 fats from vegetable oils can increase inflammation in the body and have been linked with mood imbalances.

The most common sources of omega-6 fats include safflower oil, corn oil, sesame oil and soy oil.

Better options for cooking and food preparation include coconut oil and olive oil.

Alcohol has an immediate calming effect, but the process of metabolizing alcohol can interfere with your ability to sleep.

Alcohol can also trigger panic or anxiety attacks.

Caffeine can heighten anxiety and the stimulating effect can take up to eight hours to wear off.

A high intake of caffeine can interfere with sleep and trigger anxiety and panic attacks.

Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee and tea but is also present in some sports drinks, energy drinks and weight loss supplements.

I hope these foods will help you to reduce the symptoms of anxiety naturally.

RELATED ANXIETY POSTS

Have you tried any natural treatments for anxiety? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Natural Treatments for Anxiety and Anxiety & Stress Relief that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

Best foods for anxiety

Best foods for relieving stress and anxiety

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a qualified Nutritionist and Herbal Medicine Practitioner. I have a passion for all things natural, healthy and holistic. I created this blog to share my knowledge and inspire women who are looking for natural health solutions. Read more

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