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Mental Mondays: 10 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety

Mental Mondays: 10 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety



ust as different types of fuel can affect how smoothly a car runs, the food you eat can impact how your body and mind function. When it comes to anxiety, certain foods contain nutrients and compounds that can either calm your nerves or rev them up. For example, some foods contain substances that help regulate brain chemicals responsible for mood and anxiety levels. In this piece, I dive into 10 easily accessible foods that reduce anxiety levels.

Every food comes with its own set of benefits. While some foods are known for their energy-giving factor, some foods support a healthy gut, closely intertwined with our emotional well-being via the gut-brain connection. Foods rich in antioxidants safeguard your body against stress, a significant contributor to anxiety. Essentially, by selecting the appropriate foods, you furnish your body with the means to effectively combat anxiety and foster tranquility and mental well-being.

Here are 10 foods that help reduce anxiety…

#1. Dark leafy greens

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Veggies like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with nutrients that can help ease anxiety. They’re rich in magnesium, which plays a key role in regulating neurotransmitters that influence mood, such as serotonin. Additionally, they contain folate, a B-vitamin that supports the production of dopamine, which is another neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. These greens also provide ample amounts of antioxidants, which protect the brain from oxidative stress that can contribute to anxiety. Including a generous quantity of dark leafy greens to your meals can provide a calming boost to your mood.

#2. Fatty fish

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Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health and may help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Regular consumption of fatty fish has been associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress. Therefore, aim to include fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week to reap the anxiety-reducing benefits.

#3. Yogurt

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Yogurt, especially varieties that contain probiotics, can have a positive impact on anxiety levels. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy balance of gut flora. Since there’s a strong connection between the gut and brain, known as the gut-brain axis, maintaining gut health is crucial for mental well-being. Consuming yogurt with probiotics can help regulate the gut microbiome, which in turn can influence mood and reduce anxiety. Incorporate yoghurt into your diet as a snack or as part of your meals to support gut health and promote calmness.

#4. Berries

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Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are not only delicious, but also incredibly beneficial foods that reduce anxiety. They’re packed with antioxidants like flavonoids and vitamin C, which help combat oxidative stress in the body. Additionally, berries contain natural compounds that may have a calming effect on the brain, alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety. Enjoy a handful of berries as a snack, or add them to your breakfast for a mood-boosting treat.

#5. Nuts and seeds

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These foods are excellent sources of nutrients that can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. They’re rich in magnesium and also packed with B vitamins, including folate and vitamin B6, which promote feelings of calmness and well-being. Snacking on a handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds can provide a satisfying crunch while easing anxiety.

#6. Whole grains

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Grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice are complex carbohydrates that can help stabilize blood sugar levels and promote a steady release of energy throughout the day. This can be beneficial for managing anxiety, as fluctuations in blood sugar can contribute to mood swings and feelings of irritability. Additionally, whole grains are rich in fiber, good foods that reduce anxiety, and can support gut health by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria.

#7. Dark chocolate

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They are not only a delicious treat, but also a surprisingly effective mood booster. It contains compounds like flavonoids and polyphenols, which have been shown to have mood-enhancing properties. Dark chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine and theobromine, which can have stimulating effects on the brain and improve focus and concentration. Additionally, dark chocolate contains magnesium, which can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Enjoying a square or two of dark chocolate as a snack or dessert can provide a satisfying indulgence while supporting your mood.

#8. Herbal teas

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Teas like chamomile, lavender, and green tea have been used for centuries as natural remedies for anxiety and stress. Chamomile tea, in particular, is known for its calming properties, reducing feelings of anxiety, and promoting relaxation. Lavender tea has a soothing aroma and may help calm the mind and body, making it an excellent choice for unwinding before bedtime. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that fosters relaxation and reduces stress levels. Hence, incorporating herbal teas into your daily routine can provide a comforting ritual and help ease feelings of anxiety.

#9. Avocados

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Avocados are not only delicious but also nutritious and beneficial for reducing anxiety. They’re rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. Additionally, avocados contain potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and reduce feelings of stress. Adding avocado slices to salads, sandwiches, or smoothies is a delicious way to incorporate this anxiety-reducing food into your diet.

#10. Eggs

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Eggs are a nutrient-rich food that can help reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calmness and relaxation. They’re packed with protein, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of mood swings and irritability. Eggs also contain choline, an essential nutrient that supports brain health and may help reduce symptoms of anxiety. They are also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate. Enjoying eggs as part of a balanced breakfast or incorporating them into meals throughout the day can help support your mental health.

Featured image: @nutritionstripped / Pinterest

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