15 Stress-Relieving Foods

Young woman preparing vegetable saladIn a volatile, changing, uncertain world, you may find yourself dealing with unusually high amounts of stress.

There are a lot of ways to reduce your stress: meditation, exercise, and therapy, just to name a few. However, many people are unaware that the foods they eat can actually impact their levels of stress.

Stress is all about hormones. When you’re feeling stressed, your body produces excess amounts of adrenaline, which increases your blood pressure, and cortisol, which elevates your blood sugar. If stress is a chemical reaction, it makes sense that the nutrients in food can help combat it. Below, read about some of the best foods to eat when feeling stressed.


Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a tasty food that can help lower your body’s levels of cortisol. This healthy carbohydrate contains high levels of potassium and vitamin C, both of which are important for managing how your body responds to stress. In addition, vitamin C can be a great immune system booster.

Sweet potatoes are generally considered to be a more healthful choice than regular potatoes. Although both contain a large serving of carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are higher in fiber. This means that you’ll feel fuller more quickly, reducing your overall food intake.



Broccoli is in the class of cruciferous vegetables: a food group well-known for its healthful properties. However, broccoli also contains a wide array of nutrients that have been shown to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression. These nutrients include magnesium, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and sulforophane.



Spicy chickpeasChickpeas (garbanzo beans) are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. This diet is often considered to be much healthier than typical Western diets because of its focus on whole foods instead of more processed options. Foods included in this diet, such as chickpeas, also have the potential to combat stress.

Chickpeas contain important stress-fighting nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper, and L-tryptophan. These nutrients, especially L-tryptophan, help regulate and stabilize your mood to keep stress at bay.



Fruits are a delicious, sweet treat that can help you satisfy your sweet tooth without busting your diet. In addition, delicious fruits like blueberries often contain important stress-reducing nutrients that your diet needs.

The primary reason that blueberries are a stress-buster is their high level of flavonoids. Flavonoids are important for reducing the body’s inflammation, which can protect against stress-related cell damage. Flavonoids are also believed to protect against symptoms of depression.



Eggs may have a controversial history, sometimes demonised for their high cholesterol, but most nutritionists now agree that they are an important part of a healthy diet. A rich source of healthy proteins, eggs are also great for reducing the body’s stress.

Eggs contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants that are vital to a healthy stress response. However, the star of the egg comes in the form of a little-known nutrient: choline. Choline is great brain food that improves focus and may fight against stress. Not many foods contain this vital nutrient, making eggs a bit of a superfood.



Natural purple vegetables artichokesThere’s more to artichokes than their unique appearance. This vegetable is chock-full of nutrients that can help fight stress, such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

In addition, artichokes are rich in prebiotics: a type of fiber that plays an important role in managing the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. Prebiotics are also important for managing the body’s stress response.


Chamomile Tea

People often turn to a cup of hot tea when they’re feeling stressed, and chamomile is one of the top choices for relaxation. There’s a good reason for this: people have been using chamomile for centuries to relax and improve sleep.

Chamomile has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol: the primary stress hormone produced by your body. A nice cup of this tea at the end of the day can work wonders for reducing stress.



Vitamin B12, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium: all of these nutrients found in shellfish are important for your body’s health, and may just fight off signs of stress.

However, the main reason to add shellfish to a stress-fighting diet is taurine: a mood-boosting amino acid found in shellfish like mussels, clams, and oysters. Science indicates that taurine may be a key ingredient in fighting depressive symptoms.


Fatty Fish

Shellfish aren’t the only mood-boosting foods to come from the sea; fatty fishes can also help you in your fight against stress. These fishes are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known as a heart-healthy nutrient. However, these acids can also knock down your stress levels.

In addition, fatty fish has an abundance of vitamin D. Many people who suffer from anxiety and other mood disorders show low levels of vitamin D, so it is important to include this nutrient in your diet if you want to maintain an improved mood.



KimchiKimchi is popular in Asian cuisines for packing in the heat. However, the main reason that the dish is on this list is that it is prepared through fermentation. Studies indicate that the nutrients in fermented foods are associated with lower incidences of social anxiety disorder.

Kimchi also contains probiotics, which are important for healthy digestive bacteria. A healthy gut can boost your mood in addition to maintaining good digestion.



What dish wouldn’t benefit from a little garlic? In addition to being a healthy, flavorful ingredient, garlic also may reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Garlic is high in sulfur compounds, which increase the body’s levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight stress by protecting your body from dangerous stress-related damage.



Parsley is another great addition to any dish. The herb is packed with antioxidants that can combat the negative effects of stress and anxiety by decreasing inflammation. Specifically, parsley is packed with carotenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils, all of which have antioxidant properties.



Like chickpeas, tahini is popular in Mediterranean cuisine. Made from sesame seeds, tahini is an excellent source of L-tryptophan, which is known to increase production of dopamine and serotonin. These are two of the most important mood-boosting chemicals made by your body.



Woman drinking matchaAmong green-tea enthusiasts, matcha is one of the most popular varieties of the tasty beverage. Matcha contains large amounts of L-theanine, a stress-reducing amino acid. Matcha contains far more L-theanine than other green tea varieties, making it a superfood among superfoods.


Swiss Chard

When your body is stressed, one of the most important nutrients is magnesium. Magnesium plays a crucial role in stress response. If you’re looking for a food high in magnesium, you can’t beat Swiss chard. This leafy green vegetable can provide as much as 37% of your daily recommended dose of magnesium in just one serving.


Stress Less

If you’re feel more stressed than normal, you aren’t alone. However, just remember that something as simple as what you put on your plate might be able to make a big difference in your mental health!