Nutrition Steps to Beat Anxiety

By: Elizabeth Thompson

Has it ever crossed your mind that your anxiety could be linked to what you eat?

Well if it has, you’re right.

It’s not that certain foods will directly cause anxiety, but that they can be anxiety promoters.

Conversely, some foods may actually help you fight your anxiety.

You are what you eat.” So keeping a diet that’s specific for people suffering from anxiety can make a world of difference.

“When they’re stressed, people go naturally to the wrong foods because they increase levels of [the stress hormone] cortisol,” Heather Bauer, R.D., founder of “People tend to crave foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt because those directly increase our cortisol levels.”1

The thing is, that’s only a momentary “solution”. If you really want to get rid of your anxiety, you should maintain a healthy, balanced diet at all times.

Taking care of your body will result in better physical and mental health.

Anxiety and nutrition

First off, the ones to avoid:

Caffeine – Since it inhibits serotonin levels, it can make you irritable. Also, as a diuretic, it dehydrates your body. And, in case you didn’t know, it can trigger your fight-or-flight response, like the one you experience before a panic attack. Finally, it could keep you awake at night, which can lead to stress.

Alcohol – It can affect you in several ways: lowering your serotonin levels, dropping your blood sugar, dehydrating you and increasing your heart rate, just to name a few. While some people reach for a glass of wine or whiskey to relax and avoid anxiety in different situations, doing so can have negative long term effects.

Sugar – Candy and other sweet foods will cause a spike in your energy levels, but it will soon wear off, as your body sends insulin to your bloodstream to counteract the excess of sugar. Ultimately, sugar won’t actually make you feel energized, but rather low.

Fried and processed foods – It’s been shown that these kinds of food are a risk factor for depression.2 It’s harder for your body to process them, so it becomes physically stressed. And they are high in fat, sugar and salt, which increase your cortisol levels.

It’s up to you if you want to completely cut them off – which would obviously be my recommendation – or if you want to just reduce how much you eat of these types of food.

Making this switch to a healthier diet will lower your chances of getting anxious feelings.

“So, what should I eat?”

In general, eating healthy foods will keep your body healthy and keep your hormone levels in balance (and yes, this applies to men just as much as women).

I’m sure you have noticed it in the past that, when you eat healthy, you feel way better afterwards; your body feels just right and you are in a better mood.

Of course, these foods aren’t the cure for anxiety, but they will certainly help your anti-anxiety routine, increasing the benefits you can get from it.

So, here’s what you should keep in your fridge to keep anxiety at bay:

WATER – It’s extremely important that you keep your body hydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood.3 Not drinking enough water will mess with your blood flow, thus not allowing hormones to get to the places in your body they should reach.

Vegetables – Especially leafy greens, which are rich in magnesium – an essential major mineral that helps against chronic fatigue syndrome and depression. Other great choices are asparagus (which contains folic acid) and avocados (rich in B vitamins, potassium and monounsaturated fats – all good for brain health).

Fruits – Full of antioxidants – key elements in relieving stress – and vitamin C, which lowers blood pressure and cortisol. Blueberries and oranges will give you a good amount of these.

Green tea – Packed with L-theanine, an amino acid that’s been shown to reduce stress and improve memory function (It’s so powerful, it is a main ingredient in our Zen Anxiety).4

Almonds – Contain vitamin B12 and iron, which are essential to keep a balanced mood and avoid brain fatigue and drops in your energy levels.

Oats – Cook some nice oatmeal. It will keep your serotonin flowing. Even better if you choose the old-fashioned thick grains, which will take longer to digest, meaning their calming effect will last longer.

Tofu, soy and seeds – Being full of protein, they will stimulate the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, improving your energy and alertness.

Milk – Also rich in vitamin B12, antioxidants, proteins and calcium. All essential ingredients for proper brain functioning.

Fish – Especially salmon. Being an oily, cold-water fish, it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown to enhance mood5 and even reduce the risk of heart disease. Tuna, anchovies and sardines are also good choices.

Turkey – Rich in tryptophan, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which will help you feel calm by making you produce this feel-good chemical.

“And how am I going to eat all of these?”

It is totally impractical to eat these all the time, but you can eat them on a weekly basis to feel better.

Your best option is to add a natural, healthy and effective complement to your diet that you can take any time of the day.

Adding the right supplementation ensures you’ll get enough of the right compounds to ensure you feel better.

Zen Anxiety combines 8 of the most powerful ingredients for busting anxiety, including GABA, L-Theanine and Ashwagandha, Magnesium and B6 — which can help balance your serotonin and dopamine levels naturally, drop your cortisol, making you feel calm and relaxed, while you maintain the energy you need to go through the day with the right attitude.

Click here to learn more about Zen Anxiety and grab yours now:


1 – Greogoire, Carolyn. “Food And Stress: 8 Of The Worst Picks For When You’re Feeling Anxious”. Huffington Post. Accessed: Jul 4th, 2015.
2 – Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Nov; 195(5): 408–413. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.058925. “Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age”. Tasnime N. Akbaraly, PhD Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK, and Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U888, Montpellier, University of Montpellier, France. Eric J. Brunner, PhD, Jane E. Ferrie, PhD, Michael G. Marmot, PhD, and Mika Kivimaki, PhD
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK. Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK, and INSERM U687-IFR69 and Centre de Gérontologie, Hôpital Ste Périne, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, France.
3 – Br J Nutr. 2011 Nov;106(10):1535-43. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511002005. Epub 2011 Jun 7. “Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men.” Ganio MS, Armstrong LE, Casa DJ, McDermott BP, Lee EC, Yamamoto LM, Marzano S, Lopez RM, Jimenez L, Le Bellego L, Chevillotte E, Lieberman HR.
4 – Phytother Res. 2011 Nov;25(11):1636-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3456. Epub 2011 Mar 21. “Antidepressant-like effects of L-theanine in the forced swim and tail suspension tests in mice.” Yin C1, Gou L, Liu Y, Yin X, Zhang L, Jia G, Zhuang X.
5 – Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;163(6):969-78. “Omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders.” Parker G, Gibson NA, Brotchie H, Heruc G, Rees AM, Hadzi-Pavlovic D.

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