6 Foods That Can Help You Cope With Anxiety

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

Did you know anxiety impacts more than 40 million adults annually in the United States? That’s a significant amount of individuals. Therefore, you’re not alone if you feel restless, nervous, or have panic attacks. Fortunately, there are natural ways to deal with anxiety, and making dietary changes is one of them. This article will explore six foods that can help you cope with anxiety. If you want to improve your mental health and decrease anxiety, keep reading because we’ll also provide helpful advice on incorporating each food into your daily diet.

a woman in activewear slicing a pear in her kitchen

1. Fatty fish

Believe it or not, one of the best foods for anxiety is something as simple as fatty fish. However, not enough people are aware of the incredible benefits that fatty fish can offer, and even fewer people eat fish regularly. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, can counteract the adverse effects of inflammation and oxidative stress. And since these are known to contribute to anxiety and other mental health conditions, it is clear why adding fatty fish can help. Fortunately, incorporating fatty fish into your diet is easy, and there are many different ways to prepare and enjoy it. For added flavor, consider grilling, broiling, or baking fish with simple herbs and spices. Add it to salads or sandwiches for a quick and easy meal.

2. Nuts

Nuts are a delicious snack and an excellent food for managing anxiety. For one, nuts contain essential nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E that can help regulate mood and reduce stress. The healthy fats and protein in nuts can help regulate blood sugar levels, contributing to a more stable mood and less anxiety. Almonds, pistachios, and cashews are just a few such nuts that can help reduce anxiety symptoms, thanks to their rich nutrient content. To incorporate more nuts into your diet, try topping your morning yogurt or oatmeal with a handful of nuts or mixing them into a trail mix. Alternatively, you can use nut butter like almond or cashew as spreads on toast or apple slices for a quick and satisfying snack.

a white bowl filled with different kinds of nuts
Among all the foods that can help you cope with anxiety, nuts are the most diverse ones.

3. Dark chocolate

Foods that can help you cope with anxiety must not be bland. You can indulge your sweet tooth with some delicious dark chocolate. What makes dark chocolate a good choice? It contains flavonoids, natural compounds linked to improved mental health, and other benefits. What’s more, the caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate provide a mild stimulant effect that can help you stay alert and focused without the jitters or crashes associated with coffee. That makes dark chocolate an excellent choice for those coping with anxiety disorder in addiction recovery. It can help keep it under control without risking a relapse.

Select high-quality, minimally processed options with a cocoa content of 70% or higher to benefit from dark chocolate most. Enjoy it in moderation as part of a healthy diet, such as pairing it with a serving of fresh fruit or adding a few pieces to a trail mix.

4. Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices add delicious flavor to your meals and help you manage anxiety. Some herbs and spices, such as turmeric, chamomile, and ginger, have been studied for their anxiety-reducing effects. They concluded that these contain bioactive compounds like curcumin and apigenin that may reduce inflammation and promote relaxation. Thereby, they can help ease anxiety symptoms.

To incorporate these herbs and spices into your diet, add turmeric to your soups, stews, or rice dishes, or brew chamomile tea before bedtime to calm your nerves. Additionally, using ginger in a stir-fry or adding it to your smoothies can boost flavor and anxiety-reducing benefits. To conclude, herbs and spices are easy to incorporate into your regular diet and can help you reduce anxiety symptoms. Moreover, this is done naturally and deliciously, as mother nature intended.

5. Fermented foods

Gut health is crucial for overall well-being, and fermented foods are an excellent way to support a healthy gut. Research has shown that probiotics found in fermented foods can positively impact mental health, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Therefore, not only are they tasty, but they are also foods that can help you cope with anxiety. On the other hand, these foods benefit your pets, such as your cats or dogs, since they can also help improve their gut health. Kefir, miso, and kombucha are a few examples of fermented foods that can help reduce anxiety symptoms. To incorporate more of these foods into your diet, try adding kefir to your smoothies, using miso in soups, or drinking kombucha instead of soda. When selecting fermented products, look for high-quality options that contain live cultures and minimal added sugars.

6. Leafy greens

Leafy greens may not be everyone’s favorite food, but they are essential to any balanced diet. But they are especially crucial for those looking to manage anxiety. They are rich in magnesium, a mineral linked to relaxation, muscle function, and heart health. Spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard are some healthy leafy greens. Incorporating such greens into your diet is easy and tasty, with options such as sautéing them with garlic and olive oil, adding them to smoothies, or using them as a base for salads or soups. Whether you’re a fan of leafy greens, just remember how important they are for your overall well-being. Trust us. Give them a shot and see how you feel after eating them.


In conclusion, incorporating foods that can help you cope with anxiety is a natural and delicious way to better yourself. As previously mentioned, fatty fish, nuts, dark chocolate, herbs and spices, fermented foods, and leafy greens are all great options that offer a range of mental and physical health benefits. And always remember to experiment with dietary changes until you find the one for you. Consulting with a registered dietitian is essential if you struggle to incorporate them into your diet.

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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