It’s true: change the way you eat, and you could change the way you feel. No crazy juice cleanse required.
We know what you’re thinking: Ugh, I know exactly what foods are good for anxiety—the ones I don't want to eat.
Years of eat-this-not-that style advertising and magazines promising you'll look and feel great if you switch to an all-grapefruit diet have led you astray.
If you’re looking to tailor your nutrition in a way that lowers anxiety, you don’t have to throw out everything in your fridge and order a truckload of arugula. But we’ll level with you; you’re going to have to compromise just a teeny-tiny bit. No, that doesn’t mean saying no to nachos forever (quelle horreur!!!) and saying yes to a lifetime of tofu and steamed veggies.
You may be able to fight anxiety by adding certain ingredients to your diet—not taking away all of the stuff that you love.
Wondering where to start? Consider the following as a menu to better mental health. Choose some of the foods you like and add them to your grocery list. If there’s something you hate, skip it! You’ll lower your anxiety and have tastier items in your pantry.
Sounds like a win-win to us.
What foods are good for anxiety? Leafy greens!
Leafy greens contain loads of magnesium, which both a 2010 and 2017 review of studies found may lower anxiety levels. Fortunately, they come in quite a few varieties, such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Have a salad, make a stir-fry, or sneak ‘em into a smoothie for some good vibes.
It’s okay to avo-cuddle
Yep, your avocado obsession comes with some perks (besides all of the Instagram likes on that swoon-worthy avocado toast photo). Avocado is packed with B vitamins that may help alleviate stress, so load up on it before your big work presentation or your terror-inducing job interview.
To find out what foods are good for anxiety, get nutty!
There are so, so many different kinds of nuts, and literally all of them have some possible anxiety-reducing benefits.
Feeling fancy? Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which helps with anxiety. If you’re a bit more basic, peanuts (and many nuts) have that magnesium kick we mentioned above. And almonds (like our friend the avocado) are packed with B vitamins.
Then there are cashews, which are loaded with anxiety-fighting zinc. And don’t forget pecans, walnuts, and a host of other nuts, which come with antioxidants—another potentially anxiety-reducing thing.
Next time you’re wondering what foods are good for anxiety, go fishing. Yep, fish are considered a go-to nutritional strategy for lowering anxiety, and you can thank those omega-3 fatty acids for that. We don’t know about you, but we’re craving sushi right now for some reason.
Load your sausage with sauerkraut
Um, no, that's not a dirty double entendre. But it is an excuse to hit up Oktoberfest extra hard this year, especially if you’re planning on enjoying a sausage loaded with sauerkraut. The unlikely anxiety-lowering food has probiotics (along with other fermented foods), which could be great for tackling social anxiety.
It’s berry good
From strawberries to blueberries and everything in between, berries are tasty any time of day. Pop some in your yogurt in the morning, have some at lunch at the office for a mid-day treat, or have some for dessert at the end of a long day. They’ve got antioxidants, which may lower anxiety.
And let’s face it: they’re delicious.
An excuse to have that trendy turmeric latte
Turmeric seems to be in everything these days. If you haven’t jumped on the turmeric trend, it’s time to find out what all the fuss is about that mysterious gold ingredient. Turmeric has curcumin, which research indicates may help with a range of mental health woes. It’s also pretty (and pretty tasty).
Switch to whole grain
Nope, you don’t need to give up pasta or bread or any other delicious carbs. But you may help lower anxiety by swapping out white bread for wheat bread.
Complex carbohydrates, like those found in quinoa, whole grain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal, can increase serotonin—that feel-good chemical that makes you happy—without as much of a sudden sugar spike.
So grab the wheat bread next time you’re shopping. You totally won’t even notice the difference.
Water, water everywhere
Okay, it's not technically a food, but water is pretty damn important. One large study found that people who drink more water experience less anxiety and depression? Time to get on Team H20 like, now.
Not a food that’s good for anxiety, but something that could up your everyday chill
Diet and lifestyle changes—especially under your doctor's guidance—are some possible ways to address anxiety.
But to tackle everyday stress and to take the edge off after a long day, you might want to give some CBD gummies a shot. They’re yummy, packed with vitamins D3 and B12, and just might help along that sunny outlook on those grayest of days!