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Best Foods To Fight Stress

Updated on July 17, 2015

Can Food Really Combat Stress?

Yes. Absolutely.

Serotonin, which is often nick-named the happy hormone, is found in many foods and fruits, and this is certainly one of the top things that is required in order to combat stress. Turkey meat has extremely high levels of serotonin, as does avocado and these are recommended to people who are prone to anxiety, stress and depression.

It is enriched with vitamins and these will help you to relax while your body repairs itself (calcium If your job has very demanding hours, some of which may mean you have to start very early in the morning, don't be tempted by energy drinks as, in the long term, they will make you have a major sugar crash and the caffeine will only increase your stress levels.


Who doesn't love almonds? Not only are they delicious and versatile so you can eat them in a number of different ways but they are also over-flowing with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E. The combination of these vitamins mean:

  • Healthy, strong and shiny hair
  • A healthy brain and better memory
  • Higher levels of serotonin
  • Healthy skin
  • Lower stress levels

Not Meaning to Wine...

While many people believe a glass of wine in the evening will help them relax, it is actually not recommended as alcohol can enhance a bad mood as well as a good one! If you suffer from high stress levels, try swapping wine for a hot mug of herbal tea or hot milk and cinnamon and note how much better you sleep.

Sushi and Fish Dishes

Seaweed in sushi is packed full of magnesium and B2, which are both crucial in combating stress, and fish is packed with omega oils (helping memory as well as anxiety), and numerous vitamins that will tackle stress. Pantothenic acid is also found in fish and sushi and this is crucial for getting rid of stress. However, you should watch how the fish is cooked as if it is fried then the oil and fat content will probably do more harm than good.


If you can, try growing the blueberries yourself or buying organic as there are huge amounts of chemicals used in growing commercial blueberries.

Most people now recognise that blueberries are a small but truly super superfood - they are full of antioxidants and vitamin C, which will help lift moods and will combat stress and stress-related illness. Another benefit of these fruits are they are very small and easy to eat without making you feel uncomfortable, bloated or self-conscious as they have virtually no calories.

Vitamin C also helps to boost the immune system, so stock up on some blueberries next time you feel a cold coming on!


It might surprise you to learn that beef actually helps prevent high stress levels, but there you have it! The high levels of iron it contains help the body to relax, and it also contains zinc and many B vitamins, which are very important.

However, beef should only be consumed occasionally - once a week is plenty, as it has high levels of saturated fat, and this means that it should be rationed (saturated fats will not help your stress, if too much saturated fat is consumed it will actually increase stress levels). Beef is also notoriously difficult for your body to break down in the digestion process.

Meat should be well balanced (about a fifth of each meal), with many fruits and vegetables as the protein will cause dopamine to be released into the body and this increases stress, however, if they are consumed in the right quantities, you will feel great and have plenty of energy.


As well as being an anti-cancer food, broccoli contains folic acid which helps relieve stress, depression and anxiety. It is also full of B vitamins. It also is quite watery and this will help your hydration levels. Broccoli is very good to have with meaty meals because it balances out the protein levels.

Pregnant women should aim to eat broccoli for the frolic acid which protects the growing foetus from defects such as spina bifida

Watch Your Salt & Sugar Intake

One of the biggest issues with food and stress is that most foods are high in salt and sugar, the two worst things for stress as they slow the body down and effect the individuals moods. Soft drinks with high sugar levels and coffee also have a detrimental effect on the individual as the give the person a burst of energy that will last perhaps 30 minutes, before they crash and their mood worsens. Individuals should keep well hydrated with water and juice (you should be drinking 2 litres of water every day to be at your optimal health), as water contains vitamins that are vital for your body's well-being and will help sustain energy levels and mood.


In proportion, milk is a very good antioxidant and will help flush out and destroy free radicals which are directly linked with stress. Too much milk, however, is fattening and this factor itself may cause stress.

Semi skimmed milk on your cereal, or a glass on its own with a meal is ideal to get the most out of it.

Whole Grain Pasta and Rice

As they are carbohydrates, they are high in serotonin and will boost your mood and relax your stress. It is better to only, or mainly, have wholemeal as other carbohydrates will give you that high mood followed by a crash and tiredness, which adds stress. Be careful of what you add to the rice and pasta, as if you are going to smother it with butter, cheese and sauce, it may not help as much as it would if it was eaten with just a bit of cheese, which will also combat stress.

Work's Role In Stress And Eating Right

The daily grind leaves us very little time or energy to dedicate to preparing ourselves a healthy balanced diet and feeling low on energy often leads to us snacking on chocolate, sweets and ready meals - all of which only end up increasing stress and giving you a massive crash after the sugar high.

Those with very stressful jobs and lifestyles should aim to eat foods high in B vitamins, or even buy supplements with B vitamins in, in particular B1, which is thiamine, as those with a lack of this may have a more sensitive nervous system and greater emotional disturbances or mood swings. This is considered by many to be the most important B vitamin or the 8 there are. Foods that have B vitamins in are turkey, chicken, cod, wholemeal cereals, rice, eggs, peanuts and bread.

Again, all these foods have strong levels of carbohydrates, which will help sustain energy. You should also be eating three good meals a day, especially breakfast, which is vital. Many studies have shown a strong correlation between skipping breakfast and high stress levels, illnesses such as colds and depression. This is because eating breakfast kick-starts your body and helps it to fight stress and illness while also helping the brain to wake up and work to it's full potential


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    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Good info. Blueberries and almonds are among my favorites.


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