What to Eat to Decrease Stress and Anxiety

© Suzanne Brown

© Suzanne Brown

Feeling stressed? Our first instinct is to reach for salty chips or chocolate to soothe our anxiety.

Did you know that when you're deficient in certain nutrients, your body’s stress response may be heightened? Get ready for a science lesson that may just help you feel relaxed and sleep better.  


  • Calcium can help reduce muscle spasms, soothe tension, and may reduce PMS symptoms.

  • Best Sources are dairy (skim milk and low-Fat yogurt), dark green leafy vegetables (here's looking at you, collard greens!), or calcium-fortified orange juice, almond milk, or soy milk.


  • B vitamins can help stimulate the production of serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter in your body) and lower blood pressure.

  • Best Sources are fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios), chicken, fish (salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops), fortified cereals, and enriched soy or rice milk.


  • Vitamin C can help regulate blood pressure, regulate cortisol (hormone released by the body in response to stress), and boost the immune system.

  • Best Sources are fruits (oranges, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi) and vegetables (green bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli).


  • Potassium can help lower blood pressure.

  • Best Sources are avocado, banana, corn, potatoes, white and black beans


  • Magnesium can be a natural tranquilizer and boost serotonin. A lack of magnesium may trigger migraines and fatigue.

  • Best Sources are oatmeal, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard.

© Suzanne Brown

© Suzanne Brown

Having a particular stressful day?

Breakfast : (300 calories)
1 cup Oatmeal with 1 cup blueberries and ½ cup skim milk

Snack:  (250 calories)
Banana and ¼ cup Almonds

Lunch:  (350 calories)
2 cups Spinach tossed with ½ cup chickpeas, ¼ cup avocado, 
1 cup tomatoes, and 2 Tbsp. walnuts

Snack:  (200 calories)           
1 cup low-fat greek yogurt swirled with ½ cup strawberries

Dinner:  (450 calories)           
4 oz. grilled salmon kissed with ½ cup kiwi, banana, green pepper salsa; 1 cup steamed broccoli; and ½ cup mashed potatoes

Total Day = 1550 calories                   Decreased Stress = Priceless