10 Stress-Reducing Foods to Manage Stress

10 stress-reducing foods to manage stress-eating cover image

Do you feel stressed? Instead of consuming a lot of comfort food, try stress-reducing foods when you stress eat.

I hear you… it comforts us when we eat a bunch of junk foods when we feel stressed. A bite or two is fine, however, if it becomes a habit, it can even add more stress and health problems in the long run.

When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic and more lethargic. Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential for our bodies to cope with the physiological changes that stress causes.

According to Mind.Org, “When you’re stressed, it can be tempting to skip meals or eat too much of the wrong kinds of food. But what you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference to how well you feel.”

Here are 10 stress-reducing foods that will help you manage your cortisol levels.


1. Avocados

Yes, avocados are good for your health, AGAIN. It’s just right that it’s one of the foods that relieves stress.

These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage.

Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries — it’s a superfood for a reason!

Are you a fan of berries? Blueberries contain a phytochemical that can help you relax. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind — all of which can help you to better deal with stress.

3. Chamomile Tea

Sounds relaxing, right?

Chamomile tea is really one of the stress-reducing foods. It can help you in recovering more quickly from stressful experiences. It has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

4. Chocolates

Now, here’s a treat! This is almost everyone’s favorite comfort food.


Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can make you happier. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols — two important antioxidants essential to combat stress.

5. Beef

Yes, red meat is one of the stress-reducing foods.

Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and vitamin B, which help stabilize your mood. It also has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety.

6. Oatmeal

After chocolate, oatmeal is another treat!

Oatmeal has a large number of healthy properties to make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.

7. Walnuts

Did you know that walnuts are also one of the stress-reducing foods?

Walnuts are well-known for their omega-3 content. They’re also high in tryptophan, which raises serotonin levels indirectly. You feel more comfortable, calm, and cheerful when your serotonin levels are high.

8. Pistachios

It is advisable to add almonds, walnuts, and pistachios to your daily diet to beat the stress of the lockdown.

Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can be quite therapeutic.

9. Green Leafy Vegetables

Reminder, eat your greens! They’re stress-reducing foods.

Green, leafy vegetables are a stress food. For example, spinach is rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you feel happier.

10. Fermented Foods

Yogurt, anyone? Yes, it’s one of the stress-reducing foods!

According to a study, fermented foods may also help to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety. These probiotic-rich foods may also help in the control of negative thoughts linked to poor emotions.

Eating fermented foods such as yogurt have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmits positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.

BONUS: Diet Plan with Stress-Reducing Foods

Now that you know the stress-reducing foods, it’s time to add foods that reduce cortisol to your diet plan.

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your stress levels. To stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week.

Below are two examples of a healthy diet plan…

Diet Plan 1

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries
  • Mid-morning snack: Yogurt with pistachio nuts
  • Lunch: Whole-grain pasta salad with leafy greens
  • Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate
  • Dinner: Grass-fed beef
  • Before bed: Chamomile tea

Diet Plan 2

  • Breakfast: Avocado smoothie
  • Mid-morning snack: Trail mix (Walnuts & Pistachios)
  • Lunch: Leafy greens and hummus wrap
  • Afternoon snack: Yogurt
  • Dinner: Ground Beef, Asparagus, & Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Before bed: Chamomile tea

You don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good idea on how you can incorporate stress-reducing foods into your diet. Eating should be a delightful and healthy experience. It nourishes your body and mind.

Share with me your thoughts in the comments below!

Now, here is another tip …

Make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on. You can also start a list or a journal for your family diet plan. My 2022 Habit Change Journal can be of help with that too.

With Love,

Pempi

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