What are the best foods for anxiety?

So, what will actually help to settle your nervous system - the best foods for anxiety? We've already looked at the very worst foods for anxiety and those it's helpful to reduce. Now it's important to take on board that this is not a time to think about starting stringent food regimes or becoming model thin or  - it's a time to nurture and be kind to yourself. So ...

  • Eat soothing, satisfying food.  
  • Have an increased quantity - what you could hold in two cupped hands is about right (unless currently overweight). 
  • Three meals a day.
  • Enjoy foods cooked with good quality vegetable oils, warm food and drinks, heavy, sustaining, heating food

Ayurveda considers sweet, sour and salty tastes to be the best tasting foods for anxiety – a simple way of monitoring which foods will be best for you. These foods tend to satisfy and be comforting.

Is it a co-incidence that as anxiety problems have become more widespread than ever before that there has been a corresponding increase in people's desire for salty, sour and sweet foods? Think pizza - oily, salty and sour tastes (cheese & tomato = sour). Our increased intake of sugar is worrying health authorities in the west and it's also a common additive in many savoury processed and packaged foods.

Remember, we can eat sweet, sour and salty and still keep it healthy.

Special Notes!

If you have allergies to any foods on the favour list, please be sure to continue to avoid those foods.

If you tend towards overweight and are suffering from an anxiety disorder  -  adhere as carefully as you can to the 22 Tips for Reducing Anxiety and take only in small amounts the anxiety reducing foods below that would normally be fattening for you (e.g. dairy, oily food, sugar and salt.) Always go for the low  G.I. alternative (i.e. all wholegrains, unprocessed foods, low sugar, low fat dairy, egg noodles, high protein)

Eat only when hungry. 

If you suffer from high cholesterol, heart disease or other illness that requires a special diet you will need to discuss it with your health professional before  you change your diet.

Best foods for anxiety - the list

The following foods are those that have these sweet, sour, salty, heavier and oilier qualities:

Dairy: All dairy products  

Sweeteners: Raw sugar, raw honey (unheated), molasses, maple syrup

Oils: All oils, especially sesame

Grains: Rice, wheat, rye, oats (cooked, not dry)

Beans: Split mung dal, tofu, chickpeas, adzuki beans, urad lentils

Fruits: Grapes, cherries, peaches, melons, avocado, coconut, banana, orange, pineapple, plums, berries, mango, papaya, olives, lemon, lime, apricots, dates, figs, nectarine; stewed fruit; all sweet ripe fruit.

Vegetables: Beets, carrots, asparagus, cucumber, sweet potato, avocado, squash, zucchini, young eggplant, artichoke, tomato, peppers, green beans, onions, garlic (not raw), turnip, celery, spinach in small amounts. Any vegetables that are well cooked with a little oil.

Spices: Asafoetida (hing), basil, black pepper, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, ginger, most spices in small amounts aid Vata digestion, poppyseed, salt, sweet, heating herbs and spices, allspice, anise, bayleaf, cilantro (coriander), fennel, juniper, liquorice root, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme.

Nuts: Any (except walnuts which tend to be bitter), skinned (blanched) almonds are best.

Beverages: Room temperature water, fruit and vegetable juices, warm milk, herbal teas.

Animal food for non-vegetarians: Chicken, turkey, seafood – these are easier to digest than red or fatty meats.

If you are not eating well or have a low appetite it’s especially important to make sure you get your vitamins and minerals as a supplement. Getting enough Vitamin B complex in particular can make a big difference to your anxiety levels (see supplements for anxiety).

Need a little help putting all this information together?

The foods to soothe ebook gives you some great, easy, quick and delicious recipes to follow straightaway and inspiration to help you create your own. Read more...

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Check out important general tips for eating and diet here

Also, did you know that your constitutional type (body type) may make you more prone to anxiety than others? Read more here ....