Top 10 Foods That Help Reduce Stress Naturally

For those moments when stress seems overwhelming, your diet can offer a surprising form of relief. This article cuts straight to the chase, presenting you with a list of foods that help reduce stress. Explore how nutrients like magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants not only nourish your body but also quell your mind, readying you to face life’s challenges with renewed calm.

Key Takeaways

  • A balanced diet enriched with vital nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids plays a significant role in managing stress by regulating blood pressure, mood, and overall brain health.

  • Specific foods can naturally combat stress, including leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fatty fish, green tea, dark chocolate, yogurt, citrus fruits, and herbal teas, each providing essential nutrients or soothing properties.

  • In addition to a healthy diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, relaxation techniques, and a strong social support network are integral components of effective stress management.

Foods that reduce stress include fatty fish, nuts, whole grains and leafy greens

The Power of Nutrition in Stress Reduction

A balanced diet serves as a bridge to not only physical health, but also tranquility and serenity. A well-rounded diet, rich in:

  • vitamins

  • minerals

  • antioxidants

  • fats

  • carbohydrates

  • water

  • proteins

Maintaining healthy blood pressure can help the body create the stress hormone cortisol and neurotransmitters that regulate stress levels and support the body’s stress response.

However, mindful eating isn’t solely about the foods you consume, but also the ones you steer clear of. Consuming diets rich in added sugars can lead to increased anxiety and stress levels, as well as exacerbate anxiety symptoms. On the other hand, nutritious options like fish, poultry, and whole grains can help manage stress more effectively.

The Role of Gut Health

Consider your gut as the command center of your body. It significantly influences mood, emotions, and overall psychological health. When our gut is healthy, it sends happy signals to our brain, leading to improved mood and less stress.

Consuming probiotics is one method to sustain a healthy gut. Probiotics, found in foods like yogurt and kimchi, can help reduce symptoms of stress and feelings of anxiety, highlighting their importance for maintaining gut health.

Essential Nutrients for Stress Relief

Just like a car requires fuel to operate, our body needs vital nutrients to function at its best and assist in managing stress. B vitamins, for instance, are crucial for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin which play a significant role in stress relief and mood regulation.

In addition to B vitamins, there are several other nutrients that play a pivotal role in stress relief. These include:

  • Magnesium: Helps regulate mood and relax muscles

  • Vitamin D: Supports brain health and mood regulation

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Reduce inflammation and promote brain health

These nutrients contribute to mood regulation, nervous system function, and brain health, thereby aiding the body’s ability to manage stress.

Ten Foods to Combat Stress

Though indulging in your preferred comfort food may be tempting during stressful periods, it’s critical to choose wisely. Some superfoods can help combat stress and support your body’s stress response system.

Foods like artichokes, chickpeas, and avocados, for instance, are rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins, which are essential for a healthy stress response. But this is just the tip of the iceberg; let’s explore ten foods that can help you fight stress naturally.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens reduce stress because they contain magnesium

When overwhelmed, consider grabbing a handful of leafy greens. Spinach and kale are high in magnesium, a nutrient known for its ability to help reduce stress. So, why not toss them into a salad or blend them into a smoothie for a quick stress-busting meal?


Berries help reduce stress due to their antioxidants

Loaded with antioxidants, blueberries can contribute to stress reduction. They are like little bursts of stress relief in every bite. Whether you enjoy them fresh, frozen, or in a smoothie, they’re a great choice for a stress-reducing snack.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds help reduce stress because of Vitamin E and Magnesium

Nuts and seeds go beyond just being a crunchy snack. Almonds and sunflower seeds contain healthy fats and are sources of essential nutrients that help reduce stress.

Sunflower seeds contain a variety of stress-reducing nutrients such as Vitamin E, magnesium, and B vitamins. These nutrients can have a positive impact on your overall well-being. Similarly, almonds and pistachios are not only rich in healthy fats but are also high in fiber, which contributes to stress reduction.

Whole Grains

Whole grains help reduce stress because they contain seratonin.

Whole grains can serve as your undercover ally in combating stress. They can increase levels of serotonin, which enhances mood and reduces stress.

Moreover, whole grains help regulate blood sugar levels, which is essential in maintaining mood balance and reducing symptoms of stress. Quinoa and brown rice are excellent examples of whole grains that help regulate blood sugar levels.

Fatty Fish

Fish help reduce stress due to contain Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods like salmon and mackerel are not only tasty but also nutritious. These fatty acids can reduce inflammation in the nervous system, thus making them a great ally in stress management.

The consumption of omega-3 rich fatty fish is associated with benefits for brain health, which is crucial for managing stress and mental health disorders. So, why not swap that fast-food meal for a piece of grilled salmon?

Green Tea

Green tea helps reduce stress

While green tea’s health benefits are well-known, its stress-reducing properties are equally impressive. Thanks to its high L-theanine content, green tea serves as a natural agent for promoting relaxation without causing drowsiness.

Matcha, a type of green tea, is particularly effective in reducing stress by lowering the activity of the stress marker salivary alpha-amylase. So go ahead, brew yourself a calming cup of green tea.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate helps reduce stress due to having seratonin

Here’s an excuse to give into your chocolate cravings. Dark chocolate contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a sense of well-being and happiness.

Besides serotonin, dark chocolate also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that create feelings of pleasure. It’s a delightful and delicious way to reduce stress levels.

Yogurt and Kefir

Yogurt and keffir help reduce stress due to their probiotics.

Fermented foods like yogurt and kefir are natural sources of probiotics, which support gut health. Consuming these foods can help balance blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and improve the immune system, contributing to overall health and stress reduction.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits help reduce stress due to having Vitamin C

Not only are citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits invigorating, but they’re also effective at busting stress. Their high vitamin C content plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system and promoting brain function, contributing to reduced stress levels.

Herbal Teas

After a long and stressful day herbal teas can have a huge impact in decreasing stress

Concluding a long, stressful day with a warm cup of herbal tea can be perfect. Teas like chamomile, lemon balm, and passionflower are known to alleviate stress and promote relaxation.

Chamomile tea, for example, acts as a natural sedative, helping to reduce anxious emotions and promote relaxation. Similarly, lemon balm tea can improve mood and cognitive function by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body.

Lifestyle Tips for Stress Management

Although food can significantly contribute to stress management, it’s important to acknowledge that a healthy diet alone might not drastically reduce stress without incorporating other stress management practices such as exercise and sleep.

Stress management is a holistic process that involves taking care of your body through exercise and proper nutrition, obtaining adequate sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol and substance use.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress as this woman working out showcases. She is also wearing a Vital Neuro headset

Exercise serves not only to maintain physical fitness but also to act as an efficient stress reliever. Regular physical activity can increase the production of the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins, leading to a state often referred to as a runner’s high.

Moreover, engaging in regular physical activity is recommended as a healthy approach to managing stress, promoting emotional balance, and improving sleep quality. So, lace up those sneakers and get moving to beat stress!

Sleep and Relaxation

Having a restful night’s sleep can significantly improve your stress levels. Proper sleep and relaxation techniques such as deep breaths, stretching, or meditation can contribute to better handling of stress.

Techniques like deep breathing or guided meditation can help relieve stress by assisting the brain in self-regulating, achieving deep relaxation and shifting away from fight or flight mode into rest and restore mode, beneficial for stress management.

Social Support and Connection

Maintaining a robust social network can effectively buffer against stress. Social support has been associated with a longer life, potentially due to its stress-reducing effects.

People with robust social support tend to be more resilient to stress and generally perceive stress less intensely. Therefore, maintaining social connections and communicating with trusted individuals about concerns and feelings is a key factor in managing stress.


The Vital Neuro headset and app are not medical devices, and are not intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your doctor.


To sum up, managing stress is a multifaceted endeavor that involves a combination of a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a strong social support system. By incorporating these practices and the right foods into your daily routine, you can effectively manage stress and enhance your overall wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I drink to relieve stress?

You can drink water, 100% fruit juice, coconut water, chamomile tea, ginger juice, dark chocolate, and mixed fruit and vegetable juices to relieve stress. These beverages contain antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms. High-sugar or high-fat foods may worsen stress symptoms.

What foods reduce stress and anxiety?

Incorporate foods like avocado, calcium-rich foods, eggs, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, oranges, oysters, and salmon into your diet to help reduce anxiety and stress. These foods contain nutrients that can support your mental well-being.

What role does nutrition play in stress management?

Nutrition plays a crucial role in stress management by providing the necessary nutrients for the body to regulate stress levels through the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is essential for managing stress effectively.

How can exercise help in stress management?

Regular exercise can help manage stress by increasing the production of endorphins, which can lead to a state of heightened well-being.

How important is social support in stress management?

Social support is crucial in stress management as it can help reduce the intensity of stress and contribute to resilience, ultimately leading to a longer and healthier life.