10 Foods To Help Ease Anxiety & Stress

By William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, Functional Medicine Practitioner

September 5, 2019

MindBodyGreen – I often see people who are struggling with anxiety and are taking medications to manage it.

When they come to me, they either don’t like how they feel on the pharmaceuticals or they want to address the underlying cause and eventually get off the medications.

I try to help them find the underlying dysfunctions that give rise to conditions like anxiety.

Eating a balanced diet full of nutrient-rich, bioavailable foods can help you manage those dysfunctions and ease anxiety.

Here’s a list of 10+ foods that are used to address the common underlying dysfunctions that contribute to anxiety disorders:

1. Oysters

Research has correlated an imbalance of zinc to copper with anxiety. This trace mineral ratio is responsible for proper neurotransmitter function and adaptation to stress.

Increased copper and decreased zinc may lead to symptoms of anxiety.

I run trace mineral labs for my patients to see if this is a factor in their case. If it is, oysters are packed with zinc!

This superfood of the sea is a great way to balance the proper trace mineral ratio and your stress levels. It’s also important to note that foods like grains and legumes contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that can bind to zinc and block its absorption.

Bonus: Oysters are also a good source of iron. Low iron levels have been associated with anxiety and depression even without clinical anemia.

2. Turkey

You know that tired feeling people feel after Thanksgiving dinner? It’s actually from the tryptophan in the turkey. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel calm.

Low levels of dietary tryptophan have been associated with mood swings, anxiety, and depression in animal studies. Consuming a diet high in tryptophan, especially from meat, has been shown to reduce anxiety disorders.

3. Turmeric

Curcuminoids, the antioxidants in turmeric, have neuroprotective qualities and can help enhance your mood. In one randomized controlled trial, it was even shown to be an effective treatment option for major depressive disorder, which is closely linked to anxiety disorders. Read more.