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wellness / mental health
Calming Foods for Anxiety
by BetterSleep
Nov 25 2022 • 8 min read
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We all know that feeling anxious is no fun. When overwhelmed by perceived stress, it can be hard to focus on anything.

Fortunately, there are plenty of calming foods for anxiety relief. Certain foods contain nutrients that help improve mood, including omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamin c, and vitamin B12. This article will discuss the best calming foods to eat to relieve anxiety and stress.

9 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety Symptoms

Certain foods have a calming effect on the mind and body. For instance, a recent study reveals that diet modification may help improve generalized anxiety disorder and brain function.

Let’s take a look at what research suggests are foods rich in vitamins and minerals and why they are effective in alleviating anxiety disorders:


The probiotics in yogurt help modulate the gut microbiota, specifically contributing to the increase in friendly gut bacteria. The gut microbiota influences neural, immune, and endocrine pathways that can affect mental health.

In addition, gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to affect mood. Gut bacteria also help modulate the immune system and inflammation, which may play a role in psychiatric conditions.


Turkeycontains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is known to have a calming effect on the body. Tryptophan produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and mood.

In addition, turkey is a good source of protein and B vitamins, which are essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system.


Blueberries contain nutrients that can have a positive effect on your health. In particular, blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins that can help reduce anxiety and improve mood.

Studies have shown that people who consume blueberries regularly are less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the antioxidants in blueberries can help to protect the brain against damage caused by stress.


Look no further than asparagus if you want your diet rich in potassium, fiber, and vitamins. Asparagus is a tasty vegetable rich in nutrients essential for good health.

In addition, asparagus contains substantial amounts of chromium. Chromium is a trace element that plays a role in metabolism and blood sugar regulation. It also enhances the release of norepinephrine, another mood-regulating neurotransmitter.


If you’re looking for a natural way to relieve anxiety, consider adding avocados to your diet. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins and heart-healthy fat. In addition, avocados are a good source of magnesium, which is known for its calming effect on the nervous system. Including avocados in your diet can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.


While most people know that almonds are a healthy snack, many don’t realize just how nutrient-rich these little nuts are. In addition to being a good source of protein and fiber, almonds are also one of the best dietary sources of magnesium.

Just 1 ounce of almonds contains 75mg of magnesium, about 19% of the body’s daily recommended value. Magnesium helps with brain functions that reduce anxiety.

Dark Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate can help to alleviate stress and anxiety by boosting endorphin levels. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters.


Eating eggs can help alleviate anxiety because they contain choline, which is needed to produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine impacts the portions of the brain responsible for regulating mood and reducing stress, so eating eggs can help keep your anxiety levels in check.

Chamomile Tea

One way to manage anxiety is to consume chamomile tea. This tea helps reduce stress by naturally increasing serotonin and melatonin levels. These two hormones play a role in regulating mood and can help to keep stress levels under control.

In addition, chamomile tea is a relaxant that can help promote calm and relaxation. Sipping a cup of chamomile tea is helpful when trying to unwind after a long day or when dealing with stressful situations.

7 Tips for Preparing Meals that Calms the Nerves

1. One of the best ways to ensure you buy healthy foods is to list the ingredients you need before grocery shopping. Avoid high-sugar, fat, or sodium and focus on nutritious options.

You might want to divide your list into fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods, whole grains, and dairy. This will help you ensure you are getting various nutrients in your diet.

2. Finding the time to cook healthy meals from scratch daily cannot be easy, but planning and cooking in bulk can help. Choosing recipes that can be made and frozen or refrigerated is a great way to ensure you always have healthy food.

In addition, having nutritious meals that you can quickly reheat will help you resist the temptation of unhealthy fast food or processed snacks. Besides, cooking ahead of time allows you to control portion sizes and ensure you get the right balance of nutrients.

3. Cook in bulk and freeze individual portions for quick and easy meals later. Cooking in bulk allows you to prepare complex recipes you might not otherwise have time for. You can ensure that you always have something nutritious and delicious by cooking a few large meals each week.

4. For most people, the kitchen is a source of anxiety. Trying to cook healthy meals from scratch can be overwhelming, especially if you’re short on time and energy. Fortunately, several kitchen appliances can help take the stress out of cooking.

By taking advantage of these time-saving appliances, you can cook healthy meals without spending hours in the kitchen.

5. Plan ahead by prepping ingredients or even cooking meals in advance. Meal prepping can help you make healthy eating a more realistic goal. By taking some time on the weekends to prep ingredients or cook entire meals in advance, you can set yourself up for success during the week.

Foods to Avoid to Reduce Anxiety

Some foods trigger anxiety. However, when people eat or drink something that makes them anxious, they may not make the connection immediately. They may think they are feeling jumpy or wired for no reason.

Check out the foods that often trigger anxiety-related symptoms:

Processed Meats and Ready-made Meals

Studies have shown that people who consume a diet high in processed foods are more likely to suffer from anxiety and mood disorders. Processed foods are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats, which can destabilize blood sugar levels and lead to feelings of anxiety.

Additionally, many processed foods contain additives and preservatives that can cause gastrointestinal distress and trigger the fight-or-flight response.

Sometimes, people feel guilty after eating processed foods, which can contribute to anxiety and low self-esteem. If you’re struggling with anxiety, cutting back on processed meats and ready-made meals is an excellent place to start.

Fruit and Vegetable Smoothies with High Glycemic Indexes

Smoothies are a popular way to get your daily fruits and vegetables, but did you know some smoothies can trigger anxiety? That’s because high glycemic index fruits and vegetables can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased stress and even panic attacks.

So if you’re feeling anxious, avoiding smoothies with high glycemic fruits and vegetables like watermelons, pineapples, carrots, and beets is best. Instead, opt for low-glycemic fruits and vegetables like berries, apples, kale, and spinach. These ingredients will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep your anxiety at bay.

Cakes, Cookies, and Pies

There’s something about the sight of a homemade cake, cookies, or pie that can make even the most diet-conscious person feel anxious. After all, it’s hard to resist the temptation of indulging in a delicious treat, especially when it’s made with love.

However, there are a few reasons why these desserts can make us feel anxious. For one, they tend to be high in sugar and fat, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike.

Nonetheless, there’s no need to deprive yourself of these delicious treats. Just be mindful of portion sizes and enjoy in moderation.


For many people, alcohol is a way to self-medicate and cope with anxiety. However, alcohol and stress don’t mix well.

While alcohol intake may provide temporary relief, it can make anxiety worse in the long run. Alcohol is a depressant, which slows down the central nervous system.

Excessive alcohol intake can lead to problems with sleep, concentration, and mood. It can also make anxiety symptoms like a racing heart and sweating worse.

If you drink, it’s essential to do so in moderation and be aware of the potential risks.


For many of us, caffeine is a necessary part of our day. We rely on it to get us through early mornings and late nights.

But we may not realize that caffeine can affect our anxiety levels. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and can cause your heart to beat faster, leading to anxious feelings. If you already suffer from anxiety, you may want to consider cutting back on your caffeine intake.

Try drinking decaf coffee or tea or switching to herbal teaor water. You may feel less anxious and more relaxed without all that extra caffeine in your system.

Other Techniques to Calm the Nerves

In addition to modifying your food intake, you may also want to consider the following techniques to alleviate anxiety:

Breathing Exercises

Box breathing is one of the simplest and most effective exercises for reducing anxiety. The first step is to take a deep breath through the nose, filling the lungs until the stomach expands.

Then, breathe out slowly through the mouth while counting to four. Once you have exhaled fully, hold your breath for a count of four. Finally, inhale deeply through the nose and repeat the cycle.

This exercise helps to slow down the breathing and heart rate, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. For maximum benefit, practice box breathing for five minutes each day.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a type of mindfulness practice that involves focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting whatever thoughts or emotions you are experiencing without judgment.

Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can help to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and promote well-being. Just 10-15 minutes of mindfulness meditation each day can make a world of difference in how you feel.

Many resources are available online or through your local library or community center if you want to try mindfulness meditation.

Calming Sounds

One of the simplest things you can do to help ease your anxiety is to listen to calming sounds. This could be anything from the sound of rain falling to soft music.

The key is to find a sound that relaxes you and makes you feel safe. Doing this can help to lower your heart rate and breathing, as well as ease muscle tension.

Additionally, listening to calming sounds can also help to distract you from any worrying thoughts that might be going through your head. These effects can significantly affect your overall mental health.

The BetterSleep app offers calming sounds to reduce anxiety. Leading doctors, neuropsychologists, sleep experts, and millions of other users recommend this app for its calming effect.

The app offers a variety of sounds to choose from, including nature sounds, white noise, and binaural beats. It also includes a timer to set and forget it and a journal to track our sleep progress.

Importance of Self-care to Reduce Anxiety

Self-care is essential for everyone. When you are anxious, your body is in a state of fight or flight, and you tend to focus on what makes you anxious. The experience can be exhausting, making it hard to concentrate on anything else.

Self-care can help you to relax and restore yourself. It can help you focus on your needs rather than the things that make you anxious. There are many ways to practice self-care; finding what works best for you may take trial and error. Some of the most common forms of self-care include exercise, relaxation techniques, yoga, journaling, and spending time with friends and family.

You will feel more relaxed and focused when you take time for yourself each day to practice self-care.

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