Nourishing calm: foods that help with anxiety

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In today’s fast-paced world, anxiety has become a common challenge that many people face.

While there’s no magical cure for anxiety, incorporating certain foods into your diet can help ease symptoms and support your overall mental well-being.

This study review explores the connection between nutrition and anxiety, providing insights into foods that may help alleviate anxiety symptoms based on scientific research.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural response to stress or a perceived threat. However, when anxiety becomes excessive or chronic, it can interfere with daily life and well-being.

Symptoms of anxiety can vary from restlessness and racing thoughts to physical sensations like a rapid heartbeat and sweating.

The role of nutrition in managing anxiety is gaining attention as research suggests that certain foods can influence brain chemistry and mood.

Foods that May Help Alleviate Anxiety

  1. Complex Carbohydrates: The Comforting Fuel

Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, oats, and brown rice are rich in fiber and release energy slowly. They help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing mood swings and irritability.

Additionally, they boost the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being.

  • Research Evidence: A study published in Nutrients found that participants who consumed complex carbohydrates experienced improved mood and reduced anxiety compared to those who consumed simple carbohydrates.
  1. Fatty Fish: Omega-3s for Emotional Resilience

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and play a crucial role in brain health. They help regulate neurotransmitters, potentially reducing anxiety and depression.

  • Research Evidence: A review in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry indicated that omega-3 supplementation might be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, especially in individuals with clinical anxiety disorders.
  1. Leafy Greens and Avocado: Magnesium for Relaxation

Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, and avocado are rich in magnesium, a mineral that supports muscle relaxation and helps calm the nervous system. A magnesium deficiency can contribute to anxiety symptoms.

  • Research Evidence: A study in the journal Nutrients suggested that magnesium supplementation may be beneficial for individuals with mild-to-moderate anxiety.


While foods alone cannot cure anxiety, they can play a significant role in managing its symptoms and supporting mental well-being.

Incorporating complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fatty fish rich in omega-3s, and magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens and avocado into your diet may help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

It’s important to remember that dietary changes should complement, not replace, professional treatment for anxiety.

If you experience chronic or severe anxiety, consider consulting a healthcare provider or mental health professional for a comprehensive approach to managing your mental health.

Incorporating anxiety-reducing foods into your diet, alongside stress management techniques and a supportive social network, can contribute to a healthier and more balanced life.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, making informed food choices is a positive step toward nourishing calm and finding relief from anxiety.

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