I know we’ve been told over and over to stay away from food for an emotional fix. But there are foods that are actually super good for busting stress, anxiety, and depression.
And no, it’s not the quart of peanut butter triple caramel ice cream in the freezer (I wish it was too).
So what does help our bodies function better? What foods help us bust through stressful periods of our lives or help our bodies deal with periods of high anxiety?
I guess the short answer to this…
Here’s the longer answer.
I bet you were all expecting this one.
I’ve written enough about managing anxiety and depression naturally you all probably know some of these foods already.
Leafy Greens like chard, spinach, and kale are high in magnesium (a.k.a. the chill pill). Do preventative medicine and eat them frequently before the hard times.
And when the hard times roll in just keep eating them even if you really just want junk food.
I know I feel a marked difference in how I feel after eating a big salad when I’ve been stressed out. It really does take a load off.
I also love eating leafy greens through smoothies! Super tasty!
High in folic acid and B vitamins, asparagus can be a great stress and anxiety buster.
Low folic acid levels are linked to anxiety, so make sure you’re getting enough natural folate to keep those levels up. Your body doesn’t just make it on its own, you have to eat it or supplement (read my post about folate/folic acid and where to find the best sources).
Also bountiful in B vitamins, avocados also contain potassium which helps lower blood pressure. Not to mention the monounsaturated fats which are healthy for your brain.
These are my favorite to put on an egg sandwich or some fish tacos.
Fantastic food all the way around.
High in antioxidants and vitamin C, berries are a great way to boost your immune system during stressful times.
Also a great way to boost your immune system during stress!
It’s very important to baby your immune system during stressful times because stress negatively effects your ability to fend of illness.
Garlic is full of antioxidants and can be your immune system’s best friend.
Also high in zinc, cashews are a great snack to have all the time!
They also have a great combination of protein and fat which can be very filling while eating very little.
These are great in a chicken stir-fry or trail mix.
I really can’t get enough of oatmeal. Something about the warmth and smell brings me so much comfort.
This complex carb helps your brain produce serotonin (the chemical in your brain that helps you feel happy).
Oatmeal is also incredibly filling and a great energy-food. It keeps me and my kids going for hours and it’s super healthy.
Eat some with berries and nuts to soothe your way through hard times and feelings.
If you’re not a fan of fish and organic red meat, then you can also get eggs, milk, and butter that have been supplemented with omega-3s. Walnuts also have some of this fatty-acid.
Fish is the best source for these awesome fatty acids which help reduce anxiety, decrease inflammation, and manage cortisol and adrenaline (making sure it doesn’t hike up suddenly).
Also, it’s incredibly good for your brain and heart. So eat up!
Interestingly enough, an imbalance of zinc to copper contributes to anxiety. It’s hard to tell whether or not you have an imbalance without a test. But if you suspect your deficient in zinc, oysters are a great source!
Also be aware that grains and legumes contain phytic acid which can bind zinc and block absorption.
If you’re ok eating meat, organ meats are packed with nutrients that help beat anxiety and depression.
Liver has tons of B vitamins and other organ meats have a lot of zinc and vitamin D—all of which are healthy stress busters.
Adrenal fatigue is a leading cause for stress and anxiety. When the adrenals get worn out, they tend to stay stuck on that adrenaline “fight or flight” mode that causes us to freak out.
Ashwagandha helps sooth and nurture the adrenals so that they can relax and your body can stop producing all those cortisol levels.
Researchers are still investigating how this tea has a balancing effect on the stress hormone, cortisol. It is a very tasty way to bring some calm to your day.
Chamomile tea is great for reducing anxiety. It’s very calming and especially relaxing at night.
Drink it consistently to get steady and helpful results in just weeks.
I love kefir!
Your gut is called your second-brain because of how it interacts with the brain. It is important to replenish and take care of the delicate balance of bacteria in your stomach.
Kefir is a rich source in probiotics as well as K2, A, and D vitamins (all of which are good for mood regulation and brain health).
If you’ve gone through a recent bout of antibiotics, then it’s especially important to replenish the probiotics in your gut.
I saved this one for last just to finish on such a pleasant note.
Dark chocolate reduces stress! Yay!
In a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, they found that those who drank about 1.5 oz. of dark chocolate a day felt more calm than those who didn’t. (1)