17 Foods + Drinks to Calm your Anxiety & Stress Right Now [Infographic]
Stress and anxiety can creep up on you when you least expect it. For instance, work, school, and family responsibilities are enough to give you stress or anxiety. However, below I share many foods for anxiety so you can test some of them out to see if they will help you heal your mind disorder naturally.
But then life throws you a curveball — in addition to all of the above, your husband gets laid-off from his job, your car breaks down or there is a death in the family.
As a result, all these can really stress someone out and cause anxiety, panic attacks and can even lead to chest pain and other health problems.
Subsequently, generally, people go to a doctor and are prescribed pills or some kind of therapy in order to treat anxiety and stress.
However, the question remains, did you ever think your diet could help? Did you think there were possibly foods for anxiety?
Most importantly, below are 17 foods and drinks you can have that help calm your anxiety and stress. Almost all are easy to snack on foods that require no prep.
To sum up, now that I’ve taken the time to write out these 17 food items to help you out – please, take care of your body by trying one or 2 of these foods/drinks right now.
What causes stress and/or anxiety? Here is a simple list:
- An exam or test.
- An important doctor’s appointment.
- A big presentation you have to give at work or school.
- Making a big decision that could change your life.
- Your car breaking down/flat tire.
- Someone stealing your purse.
- A friend or family member being diagnosed with an illness or a friend or family member dying.
- Moving to a new place.
- Starting a new job.
- Losing a pet.
- Having a child with health issues.
- Losing your job.
- …. so many other things can cause stress or anxiety and even little things like burning dinner when you have guests on their way over for your dinner party.
Foods for Anxiety:
1. Banana reduces anxiety quickly!
Did you know that eating a banana about ½ an hour before doing something that causes you anxiety will help calm your nerves?
So say you had a big performance and you get stage fright. Well, just before the performance, eat a banana! Timing is key!
Most importantly, bananas are natural beta-blockers. According to healthextremist.com, beta-blockers are given to patients (in a pharmaceutical form) to help with anxiety, blood pressure or heart conditions. Banana does the same thing if you time it right.
- Eat 1 or 2 bananas right before your stressful event.
- If you still feel stress or anxiety, take a break and swallow down another half-way through.
- Always keep a banana in your purse or bag if you lead a stressful life at school or work and know you’ll need it to help calm you down.
2. Fermented foods help with anxiety.
As cited in Nevada Today by UNR.edu, stress can disrupt the balance between good and bad bacteria.
Consequently, bad bacteria can cause anxious behavior.
Meanwhile, fermented foods (which contain probiotics) have been shown to bring balance back to your system and reduce anxiety and panic attacks.
Pretty cool, huh!
FERMENTED FOOD OPTIONS:
- Kimchi – a Korean treat made of spicy fermented cabbage. Have by itself as a snack or with rice.
- Kefir – a creamy treat. Comes with flavors and sometimes has added fruit. Similar to yogurt only thinner.
- Natto – Made of fermented soybeans. Be cautious though, the flavor isn’t for everyone.
- Kombucha – a fermented tea. You can find kombucha in the cold section of most supermarkets. You could also make your own!
- Tempeh – made with soybeans usually. It’s a “meat alternative”. You can use it in stir-fry’s, bake it, fry it, steam it, BBQ it. Some even crumble it and use it in soups or chili.
- Miso – used in Asian foods, one of the most popular uses is making a simple bowl of miso soup.
- Sauerkraut – made from cabbage. Popular in German food.
- Injera bread – a staple in Ethiopian food. A flatbread served with Ethiopian dishes.
- Sourdough bread – bread widely used in the USA for sandwiches or garlic bread.
- Yogurt – plain, fruit-flavored, Greek – any are fine.
3. Enjoy a square of dark chocolate for peace of mind.
Dark chocolate increases serotonin in the brain which helps ease stress & anxiety. In addition, it also contains flavonols which are antioxidants that help boost brain function.
WAYS TO EAT MORE DARK CHOCOLATE:
- Keep a bar in your desk at work. Grab a square when you’re feeling the stress. You deserve it.
- Always have a bar of dark chocolate at home. Eat 2-3 squares for dessert. Not only is it better for you than most desserts, but it will also help calm your mind.
- Powdered Dark Chocolate is also good to use in recipes for cakes or brownies.
4. Sprinkle some turmeric to help with your nerves.
Turmeric contains a polyphenol called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to provide many health benefits. Firstly, it aids in reducing the effects that stress and anxiety have on your body.
According to LifeExtension.com curcumin can also reverse harmful brain changes that are caused by stressful events. Now that’s some good stuff!!
WAYS TO GET TURMERIC INTO YOUR DIET:
- Add some to a smoothie!
- Cook with it. Make some Indian inspired dishes, or just add it to a stir fry.
- Make this wonderful golden milk drink.
5. Grab a handful of blueberries (blue foods for anxiety)
It’s all about the vitamin C when it comes to blueberries. And above all, it’s important to note that Vitamin C helps with anxiety and depression relief! Pretty cool right?
TIPS FOR BLUEBERRIES:
- Buy fresh or frozen, both are great.
- I like to keep a bag of frozen in my freezer and pop a couple in my mouth as I please, especially in the summer, they’re a great snack.
- Add to a smoothie! There’s nothing better than blueberries in a smoothie.
- Make some muffins! Blueberry muffins are so yummy. Especially these lemon blueberry ones here.
6. Spinach (+ all leafy green veggies)
Magnesium is found in spinach or other dark leafy greens. As a result, one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is anxiety. Eat your dark leafy greens, skip the anxiety!
WAYS TO GET MORE DARK LEAFY GREENS INTO YOUR DIET:
- Put leafy greens in a smoothie. This is good for anyone who doesn’t “like” greens – you won’t even notice them in a smoothie.
- Add to a pasta sauce. Leafy greens shrink really well when cooked. Add a couple of handfuls to a tomato-based spaghetti sauce and stir until the spinach wilts.
- Eat as a salad. Add some tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, olives, or any other veggies you’d like.
Omega 3’s are found in salmon. For brain health, eat your Omega 3’s.
And most importantly, omega 3’s are also beneficial for calming your anxiety, so eat up!
WAYS TO GET THE BENEFITS OF SALMON:
- Salmon can be grilled or baked.
- A popular way people eat salmon is raw – like in Sushi!!
- Eat on salads, sandwiches or as a main dish.
- Take a fish oil supplement that contains the same fats that help your anxiety and stress.
8. Turkey (one of the most popular foods for anxiety)
You’ve probably heard of tryptophan and how it can relax you. Around Thanksgiving, many people are eating turkey and tend to doze off afterward. That’s the effect that tryptophan will give you. Relaxation!
WAYS TO EAT TURKEY
- Have a Sandwich
- Add to a salad
- Eat it as a Main dish
9. Reishi Mushrooms are magical.
Reishi mushrooms are not hallucinogenic “magical”, but truly magical because of the mood-enhancing compound triterpene.
In other words, according to Healthline.com these compounds help you sleep better, help reduce anxiety and help with depression.
WAYS TO CONSUME REISHI MUSHROOMS
- There is reishi powder that you can make a tea with.
- Four Sigmatic is a new company that creates teas, elixers, coffees, etc with all the benefits of Reishi (along with other mushrooms!). ==>> Check them out by clicking here. f
- Add the reishi powder to your smoothie.
- Put fresh mushrooms in soups.
- Grill the mushrooms for a side dish.
10. Have a bowl of oats
According to popsugar.com, oats contain tryptophan, melatonin, B6 and magnesium – all of which help calm your nerves and in addition, will relax your mind.
If you’re anxious or can’t sleep – have a bowl of oats.
WAYS TO EAT OATS:
- Make a bowl of oatmeal. You can eat this any time of day, not just breakfast!
- Add some oats to a smoothie.
- Prepare overnight oats ahead of time, if you know you have a stressful the next day and won’t have time to prepare your oats in the morning. That way, you can still eat a calming bowl of oats.
- Add a banana or blueberries for added calming benefits.
11. Sip Some Chamomile Tea to Calm Your Mind
Chamomile has been used for thousands of years to help calm the mind + many other beneficial uses. According to verywellmind.com, chamomile is available as capsules, tinctures and teas.
It’s a very popular natural remedy. As a result, many people use it as a sleep aid or as a calming tea for stress or anxiety with success!
WAYS TO CONSUME CHAMOMILE:
- Purchase chamomile tea bags and make a hot tea to drink. For example, 1-4 cups of tea a day is recommended, as needed.
- If you want to take a pill supplement – adults are recommended 400-1600 mg a day in divided doses. Experiment to see what works for you. If you need more, take more. If it’s to much, take less.
- Tincture – adults can consume 1-3 tsp per day as needed. Drop into your mouth for consumption.
If you suffer from B12 or Folate deficiency, then you might experience depression.
However, there are foods you can eat to beat these symptoms.
According to DailyMeal.com – getting the proper amount of these nutrients is vital to proper neurological function.
For example, just 1 cup cooked asparagus (about 10 spears) gives you 50% of what you need of these nutrients. So eat up!
HOW TO COOK ASPARAGUS:
- The simplest way to cook asparagus is to steam it. Steam for about 5-10 minutes. Squeeze some lemon juice and pepper and enjoy.
- Subsequently, you could also grill it on a BBQ. However, might need to put in a metal pan so it doesn’t fall between the grill slats. Grill for about 5-10 min. I like to toss with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper first.
- Alternatively, some people eat it raw. For example, chop up and add to a salad.
- Lastly, saute in a veggie stir-fry.
13. Avocado is beneficial for calming your nerves.
According to Vivala.com, avocados are rich in B vitamins. As a result, B vitamins help release serotonin and dopamine – both of which will boost your mood and help relieve stress and anxiety.
For instance, adding avocados to your salad or smoothie will make you a happier person all around.
WAYS TO EAT MORE AVOCADO:
- Mash it up and make guacamole. After that, dip some chips in it or cucumber slices and you’ve got a healthy and happy snack.
- Put ½ an avocado in a smoothie.
- Add slices to a salad.
- Similarly, sliced or mashed avocado is a great addition to a sandwich or burger.
- Likewise, you could make avocado toast.
- Eat it as it is. Firstly, take bites with a spoon or fork. Secondly, add some salt, or balsamic vinegar for a little extra flavor.
14. Kiwi Fruit brings peace from Anxiety
The alternativedaily.com shared a survey done with 54 healthy young male adults. ½ of the participants were given ½ a kiwi a day. Meanwhile, the other half were given 2 a day.
In short, after 6 weeks, the study showed that those who ate 2 a day had less depression and fatigue and were more energized and loving life.
Kiwis contain Vitamin C. This essential vitamin helps to protect the body from the effects of stress and it fights free radicals.
Above all, kiwi provides you with so many great benefits along with its delicious taste!
WAYS TO EAT MORE KIWI:
- Eat as is – as a snack.
- Secondly, add to a smoothie.
- Thirdly, make a fruit salad.
- Similarly, you could add to a green salad.
- Lastly, eat kiwis for dessert!
15. Oranges and vitamin C Boost your Mood
To clarify, oranges contain Vitamin C which boosts your mood and reduces stress and anxiety.
Firstly, simply consuming the fruit brings about these benefits.
In addition, just the smell of oranges has been shown to help with this. Therefore, the orange essential oil will also reduce your anxiety.
- Firstly, eat the fruit as a snack.
- In addition, drink orange juice – try to squeeze your own using a hand squeezer or juicer. However, no sugar added is always the best.
- Meanwhile, use essential oils:
- Add a drop to your laundry, as a result, you will smell the benefits all day long.
- Similarly, put a drop or 2 on your wrist and rub in and breathe in the smell.
- Lastly, if you have a diffuser, add some drops to it (But, be sure to follow directions for your diffuser).
16. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts contain the nutrient selenium. To clarify, selenium helps improve mood, therefore, it reduces stress and anxiety.
HOW TO EAT:
- Firstly, grab a handful and eat as a snack.
- Secondly, add a handful to a smoothie.
- Lastly, blend up and sprinkle on a salad.
As mentioned earlier, magnesium helps keep your mind calm and keeps the anxiety and stress at bay. Almonds are full of magnesium so eat them up!
WAYS TO EAT THEM:
- Firstly, I recommend you simply eat as a snack – for example, put about 10 almonds in a small container to carry in your purse for snacks on the go.
- You can purchase or make your own almond butter. In short, it’s similar to peanut butter, only made with almonds. For example, you can spread onto whole grain bread for a healthy breakfast and dip some celery in it.
- In addition, you can throw some in the blender along with your smoothie.
- Lastly, you can chop some up and sprinkle on a salad or stir fry.
★ Anxiety causing foods (AVOID THESE!):
On the other hand – there are also foods that can cause stress and anxiety. To sum up, here is a handful of them to avoid at all costs!!!
- artificial sweeteners
- hydrogenated oils
- trans fats
- fast food
- processed foods
- foods with gluten
- high sodium foods
Above all, you don’t have to eat all the food on this list. In other words, pick and choose the ones you like to eat and try it. See if it helps you. If it doesn’t, move on to the next one.
Most importantly, explore new foods. Meanwhile, find what food helps YOU calm your anxiety and stress and go with those for better mental health.
FOODS FOR ANXIETY SOURCES:
Spinach has been implicated in kidney stone formation so if your genetics are prone to kidney stones limit your spinach!