Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

7 Stress-Busting Foods

Jun 30, 2024 10:00AM ● By Renee Edge

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of anxiety. Comfort foods increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are tied to a sense of well-being, like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. The short-term gain is swiftly eclipsed by the long-term downside. Serotonin starts to go down, dopamine goes down, endorphins go down and cortisol goes up—then the stress starts returning. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet that includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Choosing foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables and lean proteins as the basic staples of a diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind, rather than providing a temporary fix.


A creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips as well as in a smoothie. They have a high glutathione content that specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also have higher levels of vitamin E, folate and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.


If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping ice cream or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. High of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind, all of which can help you to better deal with stress.

Chamomile Tea

Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea contains no caffeine. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother. In clinical trials, it was determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.


There is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can make you happier. Chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate is best for you, as it contains more flavanols and polyphenols than many fruit juices. These are hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress.

Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, but also good for people. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef while being higher in omega-3s.


A filling comfort food, oatmeal also has many healthy properties to make you feel better from the inside out. Eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, which increases relaxation, calmness and creativity. Oatmeal also helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady and reduces the levels of stress hormones in your brain.


They are great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. As well, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can be quite therapeutic!

When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional “comfort” foods—think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods and alcohol. Let’s face it, we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution. While turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and, in some cases, less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.

Instead of falling into the comfort food trap, pull out this list and grab a treat that will benefit your body and bust some stress!

Renee Edge of Edge to Health focuses on how food impacts physical health and brain function, and how that impacts behavior, learning and the ability to form and sustain connections. She has a bachelor’s degree in child development and a master’s degree in special education, in addition to being a national board-certified health and wellness coach. Connect at 860-681-3427 or

pRenee Edge brp

Edge to Health

Change your child’s attention, behavior, and mood using food everyone in the family will enjoy. Helping parents make changes to their child’s diet and food choices to bring about healing ... Read More »