If you’re coping with anxiety or other stress disorders, it’s important to know that the food you eat can drastically affect your mood. There are certain foods you might want to avoid and others you could incorporate into your life to help mitigate the harmful effects of stress on the body. Discover nutritional ways to manage anxiety below.

If you suffer from anxiety, in addition to taking guidance from your doctor, you should pay attention to what you eat.

Did you know excess sugar can mimic feelings of a panic attack?

A well-balanced diet filled with fruit, veggies, lean protein and healthy fat is recommended for those struggling with stress disorders. When processed food and added sugar are avoided, the body experiences fewer blood sugar rushes, which can help reduce anxiety.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and no more than 36 grams per day for men.

For example, a fast-food meal with a milkshake will make you feel differently than having grilled salmon with steamed asparagus and a salad. The latter meal includes unprocessed, whole foods, which help you control the amount of added sugar you ingest. Because it takes longer for your body to process these foods, it helps you to feel full longer and keeps your blood sugar levels steady.

It is important to note that low blood sugar, poor hydration, and use of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco can also precipitate or mimic symptoms of anxiety.

Tips for Managing Anxiety With Nutrition

  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
  • Reduce sugar and processed foods.
  • Adequately hydrate with water.
  • Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco products.
  • Eat foods rich in zinc: whole grains, oysters, kale, broccoli, legumes, and nuts.
  • Eat foods rich in magnesium: fish, avocado, and dark leafy greens.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin B: asparagus, leafy greens, meat, and avocado.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: wild-caught salmon.
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods: kefir, yogurt, and other fermented foods.


“Eating well to help manage anxiety: Your questions answered,” Uma Naidoo, MD, Harvard Health Publishing, health.harvard.edu, March 14, 2018.