15 Foods To Combat Stress

If you find you are beginning to get stressed, you might start looking at your diet and introducing these 15 foods to help combat stress. Food can be seen as medicinal as it contains the vitamins and minerals we need, and it should not be ignored for its healing properties. I know that when I lack energy, my body craves foods that can give me the power for the day, such as iron-rich foods such as apples, bananas and pomegranates.

If you are in tune with your body, you may notice you are craving certain foods; if not, you may find you start feeling hungry and fill it with carbs. When really and truthfully your body is seeking out specific vitamins and minerals, which generally won’t be found in a bowl of pasta or rice unless you packed it all into a nutrient-dense sauce.

I’ve listed 15 foods and their benefits for combatting stress, and I hope you will see how adding them to your diet could improve your stress symptoms.

1. Matcha Tea

matcha tea in a glass foods to combat stress

Rich in L-Theanine, which promotes the reduction of stress and helps to keep you calm. Although it has caffeine in it, this tea does not send you all jittery as coffee can do. Renowned for its bright green colour, it has been studied for its benefits, and in one piece of research, they found it reduced stress in participants as opposed to those who had the placebo.

2. Oranges

They smell great and reduce stress because they contain vitamin C, useful for curbing stress hormones. There have been studies showing that vitamin C can lower blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels within the body. This means that fight or flight syndrome can be calmed down by eating an orange; admittedly, it won’t work instantly, but it will aid you if you eat an orange a day.

3. Dark Chocolate

Yay, chocolate can help you destress, but it has to be dark chocolate packed full of antioxidants that help reduce cortisol and apart from tasting great, it can give as a form of food hug. You don’t need a lot of it. About four chunks will do for you to feel the benefits. In a study, it was found that participants lowered their stress levels over two weeks by eating a couple of ounces of chocolate per day.

4. Swiss Chard

swiss chard good for stress

This wonderful vegetable tastes excellent and is packed with magnesium which will help reduce the feelings of being panicky and stressed. Magnesium has many health benefits, and it can help you feel balanced; just a handful of swiss chard will benefit you with other essential vitamins. Because of the magnesium, you will find that your stress pathways will be helped to function better.

5. Fatty Fish

We all know fish is good for us, but certain fish are better than others when stress reduction is needed. These fish include salmon and tuna. The fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which help by preventing surges of cortisol within the body. Two helpings of fatty fish per week will help keep your stress levels low, plus eating fish is good for the heart too. It is also recommended to eat fish if you are feeling depressed.

6. Whole Grains

There is nothing wrong with a bit of bread, providing it is packed with whole grains. This type of bread is known as a complex carbohydrate and will give you sustained energy throughout the day. It can increase our serotonin levels, albeit temporarily, and this helps those who are stressed as it will increase your concentration levels. Research shows that it has less of an impact on blood glucose levels, which is why it helps with concentration.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Introducing nutrient-rich sweet potatoes into your diet will help you lower your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. There are plenty of ways you can add these into your diet, from mash to roasting. Eating a diet packed with stress-reducing vegetables, complex carbs like whole grains will help you battle those stress factors. Extreme stress can cause a dysfunction in cortisol levels, so anything you can do to help reduce this the better.

8. Black Tea

tea for reducing stress

Another tea, but black tea in this instance, has been found through studies to reduce cortisol levels and thereby reduce the impact of stress on the body. It won’t reduce the level of stress you face every day, but drinking about four cups of this stress-reducing liquid will go towards helping you combat stress. In the study, I mentioned they gave fruit-based tea, black tea and a placebo. The black tea drinkers reduced their cortisol levels by 47% after forty minutes of drinking.

9. Avocadoes

Once again, we find Omega 3’s at work, packed into this vegan alternative to fatty fish. If you love avocadoes, you will be pleased to know that you will be reducing your stress levels by eating them. Jam-packed with nutrients and vitamins, you can’t go wrong with avocado for combatting stress and increasing concentration levels. One of these green beauties a day will go nicely towards helping your mental health.

10. Kimchi

Kimchi is becoming more widely available. If you can get your hands on it, you will discover that fermented vegetables are good at reducing stress because they contain antioxidants. A study carried out found that fermented foods reduced social anxiety in a group of volunteers. Also, it is a probiotic food which means it is good for your gut, and where is serotonin stored, you guessed it, your stomach.

11. Pistachios

Like other nuts, they are full of healthy fats, which help your cholesterol levels, which helps your heart and protect you from the damage stress can do. However, don’t eat too many of them as they are high in calories, and you will offset the goodness if you gain too much weight. A small handful a day will benefit your mental wellbeing and your body, too, and they are perfect for adding to your packed lunch.

12. Milk

Remember, as a kid, being given warm milk to drink to help you sleep. There is a reason for this, and it is something we should still do, as warm milk can relax the body enough to induce sleep. Not only that, but it is full of calcium which is said to help depression. But don’t worry if you are lactose intolerant; you can also get your calcium from green leafy vegs such as kale or swiss chard. It is calcium which is the main thing.

13. Liver

Not everyone’s favourite but sound in the battle of stress reduction. It contains lots of B vitamins, which are good for the production of neurotransmitters that help with serotonin and dopamine. This means it can help with your mood and thereby help with stress levels. You don’t need much liver either a small portion once a week enables you to get plenty of vitamins and minerals.

14. Peas

High in fibre, green peas can help you combat stress by being friendly to the stomach and this, in turn, helps with serotonin levels. Research on rats discovered that eating a high fibre diet can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Admittedly the study was on rodents, but a high fibre diet is good for you and your gut, so eat plenty of peas as well as beans and berries.

15. Eggs

These oval-shaped wonders are packed full of nutrients that go a long way in helping your brain and body. It is thought the nutrient choline which is found in eggs goes in some way to reduce stress as it plays a pivotal role in brain function and therefore can help stress. Not only that, eggs contain B vitamins which could replace the liver if you don’t like it.

I hope these foods appeal to you, and you can introduce them into your weekly diet to help combat stress and allow you to be in greater control of your body and mind.


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Lou Farrell

Hi and welcome to Mentriz, where all manner of mental health issues are discussed, from anxiety to bipolar disorder. You can find what you are looking for by using the search function at the top of the screen. All articles are for information purposes and do not replace the advice of a doctor. I hope you find the website helpful and if you have a suggestion, please contact me.

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