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Eat Your Way To A Stress-Free Life: Top 7 Foods That Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Eat Your Way To A Stress-Free Life: Top 7 Foods That Reduce Stress And Anxiety

It’s no secret that food affects us in many more ways than just satiating hunger. Some foods have a calming effect on us while some could potentially act as temporary stimulants.

Food cannot ‘cure’ your anxiety or stress, as per the Mayo Clinic. Many foods, however, have been proven to reduce anxiety as stated by Harvard Medical Health. Many studies have reiterated this claim and substantially listed the plethora of mental health benefits offered by certain food items. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:


1)    Probiotics

The link between mental health and gut health has been firmly established. While it may not seem intuitive at first, there is constant ongoing communication between your brain and gut, known as the gut-brain axis. Probiotics lead to a healthier gut thereby positively impacting your mental health as well.

A study by Psychiatry Research has also pointed to a correlation between the increased consumption of probiotics and lower incidences of social anxiety. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are good ways to up your daily probiotic intake!


2)    Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate helps release serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is basically a ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter that helps you feel calmer and at ease. The antioxidants present in dark chocolate also go a long way in making you feel more cheerful and contribute to your overall health.

It is essential to stick to stronger varieties of dark chocolate, without added refined sugar, to get the desired benefits of dark chocolate. Generally, cocoa content above 70% is recommended.


3)    Chamomile Tea

At the end of a tiring, hectic day, a warm and comforting cup of tea can do wonders all by itself – even without the health benefits! But luckily, chamomile tea offers plenty of health benefits in addition to making you feel relaxed as you sip on the warm concoction.

A clinical trial conducted in 2016 published in Phytomedicine suggested that drinking this tea over long periods of time helped reduce several symptoms of anxiety in participants.

Chamomile, which has also been extensively used as a traditional herbal remedy, contains apigenin, a chemical compound that induces sleep. Chamomile tea is widely used as a calming night drink for sound and peaceful sleep.


4)    Foods rich in magnesium

As per Harvard Medical Health, many studies using mice have shown that diets low in magnesium tend to increase anxiety-related behaviours. Magnesium-rich foods may lead to calming effects in people if consumed adequately.

Magnesium is found abundantly in leafy vegetables like spinach and swiss chard as well as many nuts, whole grains, pulses, and legumes.



5)    Food rich in B Vitamins

B Vitamins, mainly B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12 play a major role in reducing mental fatigue and in helping you stay calm.

Foods like avocado and almonds are particularly recommended to ensure your B Vitamins are in order. Lack of B Vitamins could lead to higher incidences of nervous or jittery behaviours as per some studies.



6)    Berries

Berries like Blueberries are packed with Vitamin C as well as antioxidants, like flavonoids, which are known to boost mental health and lessen symptoms of anxiety.


Higher consumption of antioxidants helps relieve oxidative stress in the body which has an overall positive impact on your physical and mental health.


7)    Salmon

Many studies have stated that Omega 3 Fatty Acids play an important role in aiding crucial mental disorders including depression. A 2011 study on medical studies (by the NCBI)  also showed that Omega 3 Fatty Acids helped reduce anxiety in participants.

Foods like Alaskan Salmon which are high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids as well as other nutrients like Vitamin D are good bets to include in a diet aimed at reducing stress and anxiety.



While certain foods and supplements can help you in reducing symptoms of stress or anxiety, it is essential to remember that recurrent symptoms of mental health disorders need proper medical intervention and care. If you feel you are unable to handle your anxiety or stress over prolonged periods of time, it would be advisable to meet healthcare professional.

Stress and anxiety in adults are widely prevalent in our fast-paced society today and may seem impossible to avoid, but do take the time out to care for your mental health. Even small actions like taking time out for yourself, reading with a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed or including some foods listed above in your diet, could go a long way in helping you feel calmer.

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