What Foods are Best for Anxiety? (15+ List)
This blog will explain to you which foods help you fight anxiety better and why. We will first understand how food plays an important role in dealing with anxiety disorders. Then, we will describe sixteen of the best foods for anxiety.
What Foods are Best for Anxiety?
If you’re planning to support your fight against anxiety through dietary changes, here are some must-have food items that help beat anxiety:
- Chia Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
- Goji Berry
- Flax Seeds
- Brazil Nuts
How can Food Help with Anxiety?
There are multiple ways how anxiety impacts our nutrition and physical health. Firstly, when our body experiences chronic anxiety, our parasympathetic nervous system stays deactivated for longer than it should.
This system is responsible for various bodily functions including digestion. As a consequence, we may suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, a lot of drugs used to treat anxiety disorders lead to similar deficiencies in the body.
Therefore, it makes sense to manage your diet in a way that undoes this damage. Fortunately, several food items can help you deal with anxiety. These foods are rich sources of important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, probiotics, and adaptogens.
16 Best Foods for Anxiety
In this section, we have included the best fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and adaptogens that you can add to your diet for a better chance at beating anxiety.
While most fish supply us with important omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is known as one of the best sources of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This makes it good for anxious people as treatment with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may help reduce symptoms in patients with clinical anxiety, according to scientists.
Salmon is delicious but a little expensive. In case you can’t afford to have it daily, you can also opt for other rich sources of these important fatty acids.
These tiny black seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is related to the mint plant. Historically, chia seeds were significant in Aztec and Mayan diets as a source of sustainable energy.
In fact, the name ‘chia’ comes from the Mayan word for ‘strength’. Eating these seeds regularly will bring strength to both your body and mind. They are a good source of fibre, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Yoghurt comes packed with probiotics that improve your gut bacteria. A 2016 systematic review of randomized controlled trials concluded that probiotic supplementation can positively affect anxiety and depressive symptoms.
There are countless ways you can enjoy the benefits of yoghurt. If you don’t like it as it is, you can add some fresh fruits and berries on top. It can also be enjoyed as a smoothie, with cereal, or as a marinade for salads and meats.
Packed with vitamins, fibre, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a great food! They are also a good source of manganese and potassium. It is a good source of vitamin C which can help in combating stress to a great extent.
Strawberry’s contents prevent homocysteine from forming in unhealthy amounts and therefore enables the blood to deliver nutrients to your brain. Unhealthy amounts of homocysteine prevent glands in your body from producing hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, which improves mood.
Anxiety causes a hike in the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. You can lower your cortisol levels by using turmeric, report these Indian nutritionists. Turmeric is a close relative of the ginger plant and is often confused for it. But once cut open, the turmeric’s distinct bright yellow colour reclaims its identity.
Indian culture celebrates the nutritional benefits of turmeric as can be seen from its generous use in cooking. Besides lowering stress hormones, turmeric can also help with pain, inflammation, rashes, and healing injuries.
Chamomile is a type of flower commonly used to brew tea. It is considered an effective relaxant and is used for numerous health conditions like inflammation, menstrual disorders, insomnia, and pain.
Long-term oral administration of chamomile has been found to be safe and can significantly reduce moderate-to-severe GAD symptoms.
According to research, chocolate is actually good for mental health problems like depression and anxiety. But not just any chocolate, we’re talking about bitter dark chocolate, which is chocolate without no added milk solids.
So, if you don’t mind the bitterness of dark chocolate, start using it as a replacement for regular chocolate. Anxiety often causes chocolate cravings. The next time you get it, switch to the dark variety.
Quinoa seeds are edible and a good source of protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and dietary minerals in amounts greater than in many grains. Unlike most plant proteins, these seeds contain all the nine essential amino acids that we must consume via diet.
Having sufficient amino acids is necessary for good physical and mental health as they build up the proteins and neurotransmitters in our body. That’s why a quinoa salad for breakfast is a quick way to start your day fighting anxiety.
Grapefruit has vitamin C and potassium—nutrients your body needs to work properly. It’s rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fibre, making it one of the healthiest citrus fruits you can eat. Grapefruit decreases individuals’ “mood disturbance”—a global measure that comprises emotional states such as anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.
A study found that olfactory stimulation from citrus fragrances reduced stress levels. It studied yuzu, a Japanese fruit similar to grapefruit. After just 10 minutes of smelling the fruit, participants’ mood disturbance levels were significantly lowered.
The goji berry is native to Asia. People in Asia have been using this brightly coloured fruit for more than 2,000 years. Especially as a medicinal herb and food supplement. Goji berries are widely available for purchase in health food stores and online.
A study found that drinking goji berry juice could improve energy, mood, and digestive health. Goji berries have also shown improvement in depression and anxiety-like behaviours. Goji berries are generally imported to the West from Asian countries.
Flax seeds are famous for being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated fats that play an important role in the human diet.
Flax seeds have health benefits for conditions like cancer, heart disease, inflammation, mental health, and ageing. They also contain high-quality protein that is needed for healthy development. Munch on some of these seeds to keep your hands busy when anxiety has you all jittery.
Brazil nuts, as the name suggests, come from the Amazon and are packed with nutrients that help with overall health. They reduce inflammation, support brain function, improve your thyroid function, and increase heart health.
This recent study also found that eating Brazil nuts can decrease anxiety. This happened because the buts stabilised glucose and insulin production in the body. When we’re anxious, we produce too much of the former and not enough of the latter. Add these tropical nuts to your diet to live a calmer, healthier life.
Asparagus stems are known for being rich in potassium, fibre, vitamins A, C, E and K, and the beneficial trace element chromium. This nutritional composition makes it excellent for fighting anxiety and stress.
You can have asparagus with eggs, cheese, grilled, or simply as a salad with dressing. Mix and match recipes to add variation to your menu.
Bergamot is rich in beneficial plant compounds known as polyphenols, including the flavonoids neo-eriocitrin, neo-hesperidin, and naringin. These polyphenols act as antioxidants, which fight reactive molecules called free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease.
Bergamot oil comes from bergamot oranges and has an invigorating citrus scent. According to a 2015 study, both animal and human trials have found that bergamot helps relieve anxiety and improve mood. Bergamot essential oils are also extremely helpful to relieve anxiety.
Eggs can be served boiled, fried, scrambled, poached, deviled, scotched, and in many other ways. It doesn’t matter how you like your eggs, they’re an excellent source of nutrition to start your day with an energy boost.
Besides being rich in protein, eggs also contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps create serotonin. In disorders like anxiety and depression, the levels of serotonin in your body get impacted. Reverse this effect by eating eggs for breakfast.
Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and contains decent amounts of potassium, copper, vitamin B5, and vitamin C. Watermelon is a scientifically proven mood-booster and mood-elevator. That is because it is crammed generously with vitamin B6.
Research has confirmed that people who suffer from chronic depression and anxiety have lower levels of vitamin B6. Thus, eating watermelon regularly prevents low mood and anxious thoughts from occurring. Watermelon is not just a summer fruit. It is delicious, nutritious and available year-round!
This blog explained to you which foods help you fight anxiety better and why. We first understood how food plays an important role in dealing with anxiety disorders. Then, we described sixteen of the best foods for anxiety.
The food items that can help you with anxiety listed here included Salmon, Chia Seeds, Yoghurt, Strawberries, Turmeric, Chamomile, Dark Chocolate, Quinoa, Grapefruit, Goji Berry, Flax Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Asparagus, Bergamot, Eggs, and Watermelon.
FAQs (What Foods are Best for Anxiety?)
Which fruit is good for anxiety?
The following fruits are said to be good for anxiety because of their nutritional value:
- Blood orange
What vitamins help with anxiety?
The best vitamins that help with anxiety are Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
What is the best natural remedy for anxiety?
There are many natural remedies for anxiety that are organic, safe, non-addictive, and effective. These are in the form of dietary supplements, adaptogens, essential oils, and natural medicines. Common plants used to make these products are ashwagandha, chamomile, lavender, alfalfa, cannabis, milk thistle, Rhodiola rosea, and many more.