8 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety

Medically Reviewed on 8/31/2022
8 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety
Here are 8 foods that can help relieve anxiety, as well as some foods to avoid

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting millions of people around the world. 

Although medications and therapy can help ease symptoms, your diet can also help manage anxiety or lessen its severity.

Here are 8 foods that can help relieve anxiety, as well as some foods to avoid.

8 anxiety-easing foods

1. Kale

Leafy greens like kale are rich in magnesium and vitamin C, which play key roles in managing mood and can help easy anxiety symptoms.

Vegetables in the leafy greens group include kale, spinach, and swiss chard. One cup of kale contains nearly the entire daily limit of vitamin C.

2. Salmon

Because fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is good for brain health and can help lower inflammation in the body. 

According to studies, inflammation has a major impact on certain parts of the brain, including the amygdala, which is crucial for regulating emotions.

Salmon is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid your body uses to make serotonin, the “happy hormone.” This acid has been linked in several studies to lower levels of anxiety.

The most effective way to get omega-3s is through fatty fish, but if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can also obtain omega-3s through avocados, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and olive oil.

3. Dark chocolate

Studies have shown that dark chocolate is linked to lower stress levels. Dark chocolate contains a high amount of flavanol, a plant chemical that is associated with enhanced blood circulation and better mood.

Dark chocolate contains a good amount of stress-relieving minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, the deficiency of which has been linked to an increased risk of anxiety.

4. Green tea

Green tea is high in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and symptoms of anxiety in people who have stress-related mental health issues.

L-theanine, an amino acid that interacts with the body's neurotransmitters, is one of the key active ingredients in green tea. Studies report that green tea can help improve cognitive health in addition to reducing anxiety and stress. Additionally, L-theanine stimulates the production of relaxing alpha waves in the brain.

5. Chamomile

There is evidence to support the medicinal benefits of chamomile, including stress reduction and better sleep quality. Many people find that a warm cup of chamomile tea has a calming effect that can relieve tension in the body and calm nerves.

6. Yogurt

In recent years, scientists have learned more about the relationship between the digestive system and mental health—called the gut-brain connection. 

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help keep the gut healthy, which in turn can have a good effect on brain health by releasing serotonin and other mood-boosting chemicals.

Fermented foods such as yogurt contain high concentrations of these beneficial bacteria. In addition, yogurt may also help lower inflammation which is also linked to anxiety and depression.

7. Vitamin B6-rich food

Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with greater levels of anxiety and stress. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include beef liver, some poultry, chickpeas, and starchy vegetables.

8. Blueberries

Berries are a good source of phytonutrients and antioxidants, both of which help lower stress and anxiety. Blueberries help boost the synthesis of nitric oxide, which lowers blood vessel pressure and blood sugar and relaxes the muscles.

What foods can worsen anxiety?


Although indulging in the occasional sweet treat is fine, eating a diet high in added sugar can have a negative effect on mental health. Studies have shown that people with high sugar intake tend to be at higher risk of anxiety and mood swings.


Alcohol use has been linked to an increase in anxiety symptoms due to its effect on neurotransmitters in the brain.


Caffeine consumption can result in an adrenaline surge that mimics increased heart rate and faster breathing, which feels similar to panic. Caffeine, particularly in larger doses, can worsen anxiety in those with and without mental health disorders. 

Processed foods

Highly processed foods have been linked in studies to anxiety, possibly due to their role in promoting inflammation.


Foods That Aren't as Healthy as You Think See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 8/31/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Can I Eat My Way Calm? Https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/ss/slideshow-calming-foods

Coping with anxiety: Can diet make a difference? Https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/expert-answers/coping-with-anxiety/faq-20057987

Eat These Foods to Reduce Stress and Anxiety https://health.clevelandclinic.org/eat-these-foods-to-reduce-stress-and-anxiety/

Eat to Beat Stress https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7781050/

Diet and Anxiety: A Scoping Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8706568/