3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart

6 Foods to Eat During Times of Stress


Stress hits us all, whether it’s your career, finances, education, family, relationships… the list can go on.

However, how we react to stress varies from person to person. By fuelling yourself properly, you can reduce the impact of stress on your body, and alter how you perceive external stressors.

Have you ever had that one-too-many cups of coffee and noticed your heart a little heavier, and small noises leaving you a little skittish? Or skipped a meal and had your hanger get the best of you? These are all little ways that our diet can cause stress on the body.

However, there are many foods that you can include to balance your stress and feel energized every day!

Here are 6 foods to eat during times of stress:

1. Wild-caught, fatty fish

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are important to reduce overall inflammation, which can place stress on our bodies.

Studies have also shown that a lack of omega-3, can impact our feeling of anxiety along with other mental health issues like attention deficit disorder.

2. Complex carbohydrates

Carbs of any kind are mood boosters. They release serotonin - so no wonder we crave them when we’re under stress!

However, when we choose refined carbohydrates (white breads and pastries, candy and sugary foods), we can do our body a disservice. While we get an immediate boost of energy and our feel good neurotransmitter, serotonin, we generally experience a larger crash and can see the effects long-term.

3. Oranges (Vitamin C)

Vitamin C has been studied quite regularly for its impact on stress management. It has been shown to change how our body reacts to both physical and mental stress, as well as our recovery time.

Vitamin C-rich foods include:

  • Spinach
  • Citrus fruits
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
4. Fermented foods

Our gut and brain are so interconnected. In fact, 70% of our serotonin is actually made in our gut! This means we need to support the good bacteria in our gut to ensure it’s able to do its job.

Try including fermented foods like:
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Miso paste
  • Tempeh
  • Kefir
5. Nuts and seeds

Many seeds like pumpkin, flax and chia seeds are extraordinarily high in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral for stress support, and one that many of us are deficient in.

This mineral helps to increase one of our neurotransmitters called GABA, which promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. But magnesium doesn’t stop there. It is necessary for many bodily processes including energy for our cells, and cell transport activities.

In fact, we also tend to lose magnesium (along with many other minerals) when we are consistently under stress, so it’s important to increase your consumption of magnesium-rich foods during high-stress periods.

6. Avocado

B-vitamins are important to help us beat stress, especially vitamin B6 that helps to create important happy neurotransmitters like serotonin.

Foods rich in healthy fats (like avocados) are also wonderful to balance our stress hormones throughout the day.

Want to start combatting stress with your diet choices? Book an appointment with our Naturopathic Doctors today.

Popup disabled