Stress Reducing Food - which foods can help to reduce stress & anxiety?

Chocolate puddles with nuts, coconut shavings and seeds

Stress is totally normal! We all get stressed sometimes, whether that be stress derived from working at home, or from the general twists and turns that life throws our way. 

There are tonnes of ways to deal with stress - exercise, meditation, talking it out with friends, but one method that, we think, needs talking about is the natural ability to reduce stress through particular foods. 

So what foods are helpful, and more importantly - why?


1. Chocolate 

Yes you heard correct! Who doesn’t love a bit of chocolate? I definitely do! Dark chocolate is extremely high in magnesium. “Magnesium plays a major role in calming the nervous system due to it's ability to block brain N-methyl D-aspartate receptors (NMDA), thereby inhibiting excitatory neurotransmission” (Batrlik et al, 2014).

This one’s about balance, why not try a square of dark chocolate if you feel those stresses kicking in? 


2. Avocado

Avocado on toast? Yes please! Avocados are rich in stress-relieving vitamins as well as omega-3 fatty acids which can help lessen anxiety. 

Tired of avo on toast? If there is such a thing, what about avocado ice cream? Blend avocado with a banana, vanilla extract, oat milk and sugar. Freeze it and there you have it, a tasty and healthy snack to help manage your stress! 


3. Blueberries

Blueberries are packed with Vitamin C - when we’re anxious or stressed, our bodies crave vitamin C. Vitamin C is most usually discussed when we talk about immunity, and rightly so, however not many people know that there’s a compelling case to make Vitamin C an essential part of stress management.

When you feel those cravings kick in, why not replace your sugary snacks/sweets with a bowl of blueberries? A little pro-tip: try them frozen for extra crunch!

Or easier still, add blueberries to your Free Soul smoothies!


4. Fermented foods

For our plant-based Sistas, we’re talking Kombucha, Tempeh, Sourdough Bread, Sauerkraut! Did you know that fermented foods are filled with healthful bacteria? This bacteria has a positive effect on your brain. So next time you’re thinking of having a mindful meal, why not throw in some fermented foods in the mix?!


5. Kale

The wonderful ingredient that we just can’t get enough of! Kale contains vitamin C and beta-carotene, both of which are incredibly effective at boosting antioxidant levels whilst supporting brain function. When you’re prepping your next salad, try substituting lettuce with kale!


6. Peppermint Tea and Chamomile Tea

That “ahh” feeling when you sip on a hot cuppa is sometimes all you need to feel that little bit more calm. Both of these teas have calming and relaxing properties, which I’ve certainly found to help those stressful or more anxious moments. Try a cup before you hit the pillow, and enjoy those easy zzz’s.

So there we have it, our 6 favourite foods to support your mental health. From personal experience, when swapping in some of the above foods into my diet, I definitely noticed a greater sense of “calm” throughout the day. Give it a go ladies, and let us know how you get on!

**At Free Soul, your wellbeing is our priority, and although we pride ourselves on our expertise in women's health and wellbeing, it is important to acknowledge the individuality of each person. Features published by Free Soul are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, or replace the advice of your GP. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you encounter any health concerns, and we’ll always be here to support you so you’re never alone on your journey.