Foods That Help Anxiety

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**(Scroll Down for Potatoes, not Prozac: Kick Your Sugar Addiction! by Kathleen DeMaisons)

I love the subject of food! What we eat is the very foundation for our physical and mental health!

Any other remedies or strategies we use are only going to be more effective if we are eating foods that help, not harm us.

Foods that help with anxiety and depression will include many foods that you already love.

Quality Animal Protein

  • Red meat such as beef, lamb, bison, and wild game
  • poultry and eggs
  • wild fish (such as sole, salmon, sardines, and pilchards)
  • shrimp, mussels, oysters
  • whey protein powder

Why is it good for anxiety and depression?

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids your body needs in order to function properly. The easiest way to make sure you get all 20 is to eat foods that are considered complete proteins.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy are all complete proteins. You can also combine rice and beans to make a complete protein.

Eating any type of protein raises the amino acids in your bloodstream and in turn your brain. One of these is tryptophan from which your body makes serotonin. Serotonin helps you feel calm, creative, and productive.

For all these reasons and many more, it’s good to start your day with protein and eat some protein throughout the day.

(The following link will take you to Amazon and will open in a new window)


**Potatoes Not Prozac: Simple Solutions for Sugar Addiction – This book talks about the benefits of eating enough protein for your body weight every day. It helped me to kick my major sugar addiction. When I started reading the personal stories in this book, I was in tears because these people were telling MY story! I loved the explanations about balancing your serotonin, blood sugar and beta-endorphin. Many people don’t like the science but I guess I’m kinda nerdy that way!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. However, you don’t pay more when buying through my links. Thank you for helping support this site!

Fresh Vegetables

  • Artichokes, asparagus, avocado
  • bell peppers, bok choy
  • carrots, celery, cilantro, cucumber
  • cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • eggplant
  • garlic, ginger, green beans
  • green leafy vegetables: arugula, beet greens, chard, collard greens, kale, lettuce, mixed baby greens, mustard greens, spinach
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • parsley
  • radishes
  • sweet peas
  • summer squash: crookneck, pattypans, zucchini
  • tomatoes, turnips
  • water chestnuts
  • winter squash: butternut, pumpkin

Why do vegetables help with anxiety and depression?

Let’s just say that we benefit physically, mentally, and emotionally when we have a balance of minerals in our bodies.

Vegetables contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are important for thousands of bodily functions including our heart. They contain zinc and B vitamins which help our bodies make serotonin which in turn is so important for feelings of calm and well-being.

Fresh Fruits

  • Apples, apricots
  • bananas, blackberries, blueberries
  • cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries
  • figs
  • grapefruit, grapes
  • honeydew
  • kiwi
  • lemons
  • mangoes, melon
  • nectarines
  • oranges
  • papayas, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • tangerines
  • watermelon

I don’t eat a lot of fruit because sugar makes me feel depressed and fruit contains a lot of sugar. Diabetics can’t have much fruit and if you have candida overgrowth you need to avoid sugar including fruit at least until you get it under control.

Some fruits, like berries, are lower in sugar and they have the same important health benefits as vegetables because they contain so many vitamins and minerals. You just have to decide if you tolerate them or not.

Healthy Fats

  • olives and olive oil
  • butter and ghee
  • coconut products and coconut oil
  • avocados and avocado oil for cooking
  • Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • flax seeds and flax oil
  • pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds

Our nervous systems and our brains need fat! Specifically, our brains need cholesterol.

There is a study showing groups who ate 25% of their calories from fat had less anxiety, anger, and better overall mood without significant differences in cholesterol. (Wells et al. 1998)

Olive oil helped reduce anxiety in an animal study (Pitozzi et al. 2010)

There is a naturopathic doctor named Joseph Pizzorno who had experiences with flaxseed oil helping patients with agoraphobia (people with agoraphobia often will not leave the house because they fear having a panic attack in public). -Pizzorno and Murray 2000)

Final Thoughts

Eating a healthy diet includes foods that are delicious and the benefits to our mental health cannot be overstated.

Everyone makes their own decision regarding whether they need to take prescription medication and some people need to do that. But even if that is the case don’t we owe it to our wonderful bodies to do everything in our power to avoid things that harm us and consume things that literally build us up?

I believe we do!

Thank you for visiting! Let me know your favorite healthy foods and how eating them benefits you.


Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.


*See my article Can Low Thyroid Cause Anxiety? for detailed information on how to use Amino Acids for anxiety and depression symptoms.

It has been a blessing to me and individuals who needed a side income during these hard times with the virus to find Instacart,  a grocery delivery service. It has more than paid off for me and for my elderly parents. Follow this link and use the code to get $10 off your first order. Code: G42D6241A9




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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only; it is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or mental health conditions. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider to evaluate and treat your physical and mental symptoms.

18 Replies to “Foods That Help Anxiety”

  1. With my work schedule, i feel like anxiety and depression is driving me nuts and copying up with it is indeed a challenge.I am very exited I have come across this article with such wonderful news( foods that help with copying up with anxiety and depression). Its the kind of thing I have been searching for. And you are  right, food is medicine and its weird when we forget to eat food and opt for medicines instead. What we eat is the very foundation for our physical and mental health indeed. Thank you.

    1. Hi Paul,

      I’m sorry to hear that you are being plagued with anxiety and depression. I will be posting more about relaxing strategies that can help you cope so please check back here periodically. 

      In the meantime, try taking a 8-10 minute break, once or twice a day, sit and focus on your breathing; this can help bring anxiety levels down. So try this: close your eyes, breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose while you count to 4, hold while you count to 7, breathe out fast through your mouth while you count to 8. You might feel a little lightheaded the first couple of times. Take it slow. Repeat 3 or 4 times during your 10 minute break. 

      It can help calm you down if your angry, help you get to sleep or just help you reset and get a fresh start on your work.

      I hope this helps you! 


  2. Food as an anti-anxiety wow who would have thought love you’re article It goes right along with my site on weight loss.

    I couldn’t agree more proteins are the way to go just didn’t think about it being an anti-anxiety on my diet is lining right up with your content fruits are very fattening and berries are to take fruits place.

    Fats are a very important group they are the best energy fuel there is yes you’re body can and does burn carbs very good also 

     In my opinion, your Topic is the most accurate information I’ve seen on most all site’s

    1. Hi Bill, 

      Thank you for your comment! 

      As I learn more and more about how and why foods really affect our health, especially our mental health, I’m fascinated with the science of it.

      Good fats are very important to the health of our brain. In fact 25% of the cholesterol in our bodies is found in our brain. We just have to choose the right fats as you know and stay away from the trans fats.

      Good health to you,


  3. Thank you for this information. This will serve as further proof to what I have been telling my friend about how diet and nutrition plays an important role in how our moods react. I have been really trying to get her to realize how bad sugar really is, especially the processed sugars not found in fruits and vegetables.

    I learned from when I was totally cured of cancer through a 100% natural approach, just how toxic sugar is to our bodies. Diabetics knows this and more and more cancer patients are finding out that cancer cells feed on sugar. My friend has a sweet tooth and she will get bouts of depression or anxiety depending on what kind of sugar intake she consumes.

    I thought I read some where that artificial sweetners like Nutra Sweet as well as certain food coloring can trigger ADD and ADHD in children that consume them in soft drinks and artificial flavored foods. Do you know of any possible connections with these types of artificial food ingredients that might also trigger depression or anxiety?

    1. Hi Robert,

      I used to be addicted to sugar. I went off in 2015 and it was not an easy thing to do at all! Now I can really see the effects better when I do have it, I get depressed and I feel like crying. I will happen every time and for me it can even happen from fruit so I just have to be careful… I mean I love fruit but I don’t eat much of it because the feeling of depression is the worst feeling.

      It takes a little time and effort to go off sugar but it is SO worth it. If someone could control their anxiety and depression symptoms very well by changing their diet they might not have to go on medication which has so many side effects, and they will feel so much better.

      Food coloring and artificial sweeteners can cause hyperactivity even in people who don’t have ADD, ADHD so even though there’s not a lot of research to say conclusively that they trigger ADD, ADHD I think most people with those conditions would want to avoid them.

      My son has not been diagnosed with any condition and he get’s hyperactive from food coloring especially red 40 and also from Carmel coloring which is in a lot of sodas and other things too.

      Personal experiences like mine are considered anecdotal, not backed up by conclusive scientific studies but honestly I find anecdotal evidence the most helpful. People know how things affect them and their children period.

      That’s why I like people to share on here too because we all learn things from each other.

      Thank you for visiting Robert, I was thrilled to hear you were cured from cancer!

      Good health to you,

  4. I love the fact that the food in this article specifies on mental health. I personally feel like it’s still not taken very seriously today and so many people need to realize that it’s a very serious issue. The fact that these food are deliberately explained in the sense of how they boost or help your mental health is amazing to me. I’m going to be sharing this article with a good friend of mine who is going through some stuff at the moment and she could use a boost. Just wanted to come down here and leave a comment to let you know that what you’re doing is great for people and people like me really appreciate it.

    1. Misael, 

      Thank you, I’m so glad you liked the article. 

      I agree with you that how our diet impacts our health is not always taken seriously. I think people have a hard time connecting what they eat to how they feel sometimes. I know I did at one time. 

      The greatest evidence for me was going off sugar. It was literally ruining my life, it was an addiction. I couldn’t make decisions and felt helpless to change myself, the dark thoughts and deep sadness were scary. That changed with adding protein to my diet first and eventually getting off the sugar. Those 2 things were so powerful.

      That was 5 years ago and now I can eat sugar without going back to craving it, but I always get sad and depressed if I do. It’s just not worth it to me.

      I wish you and your friend the best health,


  5. You have given so much information! I’ll be bookmarking this to refer back to.

    You mention many sources of meat and fish-based proteins. Do you have any recommendations for plant proteins that would help? Our family is mostly vegetarian. In fact, some are vegan. And so the list of vegetables and fruit is very welcome. But we would need additional proteins, I think.

    Would you recommend any particular time to eat or number of meals/snacks a day? I’ve been thinking that having breakfast might actually slow me down some days, and maybe that’s a factor. Also, should breakfast be more protein than lunch?

    1. Hi Diane,

      Thank you for your thoughtful question. 

      You are right about needing to add protein to the fruits and vegetables. 

      Look into hemp seed if you haven’t already. It contains 10 grams of complete protein per ounce as well as magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium and is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

      Look for vegan protein powder. I get one from Sprouts that has all the amino acids in it. So look into how to get your amino acids without eating animal protein. Amino acids are critical to mental health.

      Also, just watch for any signs of nutritional deficiency like mood swings, exhaustion, depression, anxiety so that they can be addressed immediately. 

      All in all I would just say … continue to research and be very educated about vegetarian and vegan diets and what problems can arise or what kind of deficiencies can arise.

      What I learned about eating enough protein for your body weight is to eat half your body weight in ounces per day, spread throughout the day. So definitely have protein at breakfast… maybe a third of your requirement. For example if I weight 150 lbs I will eat 75 grams of protein per day so 25 grams per meal. It will stabilize your blood sugar and help you not to crash or have cravings.

      All my best to you and your family!


  6. Ismeglamour says:

    Hello there, Fruits like Oranges are a good source of vitamin C, and they really help with anxiety. Some studies have shown that a diet rich in it may help calm you and put you in a better frame of mind. Thanks for sharing this awesome article. I know it would be of great help to a lot of people

    1. Hello Ismeglamour,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you bringing up vitamin C. I agree that it is very helpful.

      All the best to you,


  7. This is such a fantastic article. There are so many people suffering with anxiety and depression currently. They need to be educated on the benefits of food. Instead they are autommatically handed anti-depressants. Your article goes a long way to educating people that food is the way forward. thank you for this invaluable piece of writing.

    1. Hi Puneet,

      What you said about anti-depressants is so true. I have experienced it myself. My doctor did tell me to eat healthy but did not really emphasize it as a first strategy to help me, it was mentioned as a side point along with the prescription. I did take that drug and felt like I was watching myself walk around from above. It was a strange and unwelcome, unhealthy feeling.

      Now, by using the Amino Acids mentioned in my article Can Low Thyroid Cause Anxiety? along with food, vitamins and minerals I can control my anxiety so that it doesn’t control my life.

      Thank you for visiting.



  8. Hello! You are writing great content. With Clear flow and paragraph arrangement, I read your article comfortably and easily. 

    Besides, you suggest a great idea about food. As I am a sportsman in Hong Kong, I am always looking for a healthy and balanced diet, but I seldom view the food that helps with anxiety and depression. Therefore, it is useful and fresh for me. 

    Furthermore, your content with evidence and it makes your article more professional especially the part of healthy foods. 

    Add oil (keep it up)! I am looking forward to your new article about foods.

    1. Thank you Nok.  

      I’m sure many of the foods on the list are the same ones you are used to eating as part of your healthy diet. The vitamins, minerals and amino acids are important for so many functions in our bodies.

      Enjoy your healthy lifestyle in Hong Kong!


  9. Hi Alison,

    You have covered practically everything there is to know about the foods and their benefits not only to mental health but to one’s total well being.

    As I have mentioned in my comment in your other article, I shall be with you in your advocacy for education and awareness on mental health.

    Thanks again, and may you be blessed more and more,

    1. Thank you so much Chuna! I appreciate your thoughtful comments more than you could know!

      All my best,

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