Best and Worst Foods for Anxiety

You probably already know that the foods you eat can affect how you feel. Thanksgiving turkey makes you want to curl up for a nap. Meanwhile, that post-workout banana helps you recharge after exercising.

Anxiety might rear its ugly head for a range of reasons, including lack of sleep, chronic stress, and unrealistic thought patterns. But, your anxiety may be affected by foods and beverages, too. Certain foods are known to worsen anxiety symptoms while others quell them. Learn which foods to eat and avoid to get your anxiety under control.

Worst Foods for Anxiety

We’ll start with those you should be wary of…


Coffee might help you pull yourself together in the morning, or stay up to burn the midnight oil, but too much can hurt you. Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it excites the nervous system and can lead to nervousness, jitteriness, and ultimately, anxiety.


You might view alcohol as an anti-anxiety tonic because it may help you calm down if you’re feeling anxious. But alcohol is a depressant that impacts nervous system functioning. Once the numbing affect wears off, anxiety may strike—sometimes days after.

Processed foods

High-glycemic processed foods like breads, snack crackers, and cakes are generally high in sugar (even the artificial kind) and gluten, both of which cause spikes in blood sugar that may trigger anxiety. These foods may also contain additives and preservatives that jeopardize gastrointestinal health—another problem that contributes to anxiety.

Best Foods for Anxiety

Now, for the foods that help with anxiety…


Among all berries, blueberries are the most rich in anthocyanin, an antioxidant known for its mental health benefits. Plus, the Vitamin C in these fruit reduces cortisol that worsens stress.


This tea gets the gold-standard for helping relieve anxiety. It’s generally recommended to ease sleepiness at night, but it works quite well for easing anxiety symptoms. You can take it in supplement form, but drinking the warm tea is more likely to calm you down faster, and it’s a nice way to practice self-care.


Before you start cheering, we’re referring to higher cacao content, pure dark chocolate. Chocolate also lessens the productions of the stress hormone cortisol. It also helps regulate blood pressure, which can be helpful when anxiety strikes.

Green tea

Although it does contain caffeine, the amounts in a cup of green tea are much less. Plus, the benefits outweigh the risks—green tea is said to fight cancer, improve cardiovascular health, and improve cognition, the latter which is especially helpful to anxiety-sufferers.

Different people have varying levels of sensitivity to food, so you may find some other foods may help or hurt your anxiety, too.

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