7 Best Foods for Anxiety and Depression

Share the wisdom

Anxiety disorder can be defined as recurring feelings of tension, worries leading to physical changes like increase in blood pressure, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) etc.1 Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illness affecting nearly 40 million Americans every year.2 It is said that an ‘anxious mind brings an anxious stomach.’ Foods for anxiety can help relax the overwhelming thoughts. A number of researches prove a connection between the gut and the brain.3 You might notice changes in your stomach during stressful situations. Similarly an unhealthy gut might affect your productivity in life.

Lifestyle modifications can play an important role in keeping your mental health at bay. Staying active, exercise, eating healthy food, regular sleeping hours are all part of lifestyle modifications.  When it is about food, eating a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains among other nutritious foods can help in reducing negative results of anxiety. It is also equally important to keep a track of your eating timings. If you skip meals, it would drop your blood sugars resulting in jitters and further give rise to worsened anxiety levels.

Foods for Anxiety and Depression:

1. Complex carbs

foods for anxiety
Emagneto / Pixabay

Complex carbs are the type of carbohydrates that take longer time to break down and therefore give the body sustained energy. These include root vegetables like beetroots, turnips etc.; legumes like chickpeas, black beans etc. ; Whole grains like oats, quinoa, wheat etc. Eating complex carbs every 2-4 hours can stabilize  blood sugar and cortisol levels in the body reducing risk of anxiety.

Shop for Whole grains at Amazon here.

2. Nuts and seeds

Seeds for anxiety
Tikovka1355 / Pixabay

Nuts such as pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, raisins etc. and seeds of pumpkin, flax, chia etc. are rich in Omega 3, magnesium, tryptophan, vitamin B6 and other antioxidants. These nutrients help body release serotonin , lower cholesterol levels, reduce risk of diabetes and relaxes during highly stressful situations. According to a study , a serving of nuts (30 grams) per day is associated with a 17% reduced risk of depression and anxiety4.

Shop for Nuts and Seeds on Amazon here.

3. Probiotics

probiotics for anxiety
Any Lane / Pexels

Probiotics such as yogurt can provide minerals that help in reducing stress and symptoms of anxiety. If you are choosing yogurt, look for plain, unsweetened, less processed version and use it in your breakfast, snacks, dips if not including in meals. You can also choose to eat probiotic fiber such as asparagus, garlic, onions etc. Recent study indicates the effect of probiotics in diet to reduce anxiety or depression5.

Shop for Yogurts on Amazon here.

4. Berries

berries for anxiety
Oksanashyriaievaphotos / Canva

Berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries are excellent source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. They could also act as a substitute to refined sugar sweets and give our sugar cravings a rest without harming our blood sugar levels. The nutrients found in berries are responsible for cell damage delay, antioxidants in particular are known to reduce anxiety. 

Shop for Berries on Amazon here.

5. Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate for anxiety
Vie Studio / Pexels

A number of studies indicate the positive impact of consuming dark chocolate for mental health. Dark chocolate consists of flavanols that may benefit brain function and have neuroprotective effects. Flavanols increase blood flow to the brain and enhance cell-signaling pathway6. In addition to flavanols, dark chocolate contains minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese that are known to be stress busters. When choosing dark chocolate, look for 70% cacao or more. Dark chocolate has added sugars and fats, hence a small serving of 1–3 grams is enough7.

Shop for Dark Chocolate on Amazon here.

6. Chamomile Tea

chamomile tea for anxiety
Congerdesign / Pixabay

Chamomile tea is made up of natural herbs and is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial in nature. It is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids that are known to be anxiety relaxants. According to a research8, taking 1500 mg of chamomile extracts per day can help in reducing anxiety.

Shop for Chamomile Tea on Amazon here.

7. Turmeric

turmeric for anxiety
Ivan Negru / Canva

A very well known spice for its medicinal properties, turmeric is highly popular in Indian and South East Asian cuisines. A wonderful thing about this spice is that it can be consumed in all its forms – raw, cooked, cold, hot etc. Turmeric contains of a compound- ‘curcumin’ that can help lower anxiety levels by reducing inflammation and stress9. Research10 indicates that consuming curcumin in diet increases DHA and reduces anxiety.

Shop for Turmeric on Amazon here.

Anxiety is a complex mental disorder which has no magical cure. If you are facing severe symptoms of anxiety , it is important to see a professional. Medications and therapy for anxiety can be assisted by the above mentioned foods to boost your mental health. High consumption of foods such as caffeinated drinks, sweets, candies, alcohol, processed foods may increase your anxiety levels. Hence, eating the right foods is important for getting effective results.


  1. https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/
  2. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#Facts%20and%20Statistics
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142822/
  4. https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(23)00246-7/fulltext
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7257376/#:~:text=The%20study%20of%20anxiety%20symptoms,with%20depression%20in%20the%20future.
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432604/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652#:~:text=Chocolate%20has%20a%20high%20content,symptoms%20of%20stress%20and%20anxiety.
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5646235/
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652#foods-that-help-reduce-anxiety
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443914003779

Related Reads:

Art of Slow Living : Benefits and Tips to slowing down in life

Share the wisdom

Leave a Comment