7 Foods That Reduce Stress and Improve Mood

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Foods That Reduce Stress and Improve Mood

We all experience different stress levels depending on what is happening in our lives. Perhaps deadlines have started piling up at work, or you have other stressors in your life. Stress has serious health consequences so we should all look for ways to combat stress.

Different types of food can be your allies in helping fight stress, just ensure you do not overindulge and end up with overeating, which is often associated with stress eating. Here are some foods to consider the next time you are feeling stressed.

what to eat when stressed

Herbal Tea

Although a beverage, herbal tea deserves a mention because it has proven benefits. It can help promote feelings of warmth and calm that can help you combat stress and lift your mood. These benefits come from an effect noted in some research literature, where feelings of warmth increase feelings of interpersonal warmth and friendliness. Additionally, sipping on warm drinks has been shown to have relaxing effects, regardless of whether the drinks have any herbs.

It is also important to note that certain herbs, like green tea, contain caffeine which can improve your mood. Because they do not contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, they can make you feel relaxed without making you bouncy or active.

Ice Cream

Many people consider ice cream an unhealthy option because some options have many calories and are also high in fats and sugars. Research has found that eating the right type of ice cream can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Ice cream does this in different ways, one of them being lowering cortisol levels in the body.

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because our bodies produce it when we are stressed. High cortisol levels can have a significant impact on not only your mood and stress levels, but they can also lead to other serious health concerns such as ulcers. Research has shown that ice cream can lower cortisol levels, thereby helping relieve stress.

Ice cream also contains fat and proteins that our bodies need to level out our moods. Ice cream also contains the amino acid tryptophan, known for increasing serotonin levels in the body.

As you can see, getting healthy servings of ice cream from a reputable Micro-creamery can help relieve stress and improve your mood.

Whole Grains

According to past research, carbohydrates can trigger the release of serotonin temporarily. Because of their health effects, avoid simple carbohydrates like cake and cookies or white carbohydrates like white bread or pasta. Instead, consider loading up with healthier and unrefined carbohydrates, like whole grains.

Unrefined carbohydrates can lead to massive blood glucose spikes followed by crashes, whereas complex carbohydrates leave you feeling fuller for longer and have a limited but prolonged impact on blood sugar levels.


Avocados are delicious when added to salads and guacamole. They are a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids known to reduce stress and anxiety while improving mood and boosting concentration.

Avocados can lead to better diet quality that can help the body remain balanced because they also contain fiber, phytochemicals, and other essential nutrients. Avocados have also been linked to a lower risk of obesity and high blood sugar, which can put a lot of stress on your body and leave you in a poor mood.


Like avocados, fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to a better mood. Harvard Medical also attributes these mood-boosting properties to some of its nutrients that interact with brain molecules linked to mood and stress regulation. Some of the best fish to eat for these benefits include salmon, herring, halibut, tuna, and sardines.

If you do not like fish, you can substitute with walnuts, eggs, soy milk, flax seeds, and seaweed. Some people also use omega-3 fatty acids supplements that contain fish oil as a substitute for eating fish.

Warm Milk

Getting high-quality sleep is a great way to manage stress. Drinking warm milk before bed has been used for centuries to aid with better sleep. There is also research to show that warm milk can relax the body and have other psychological effects. For example, people who regularly drank milk before bed in childhood might feel sleepy after drinking milk in the evening.


The gut affects almost all bodily systems and is a significant player in stress and mood management. One of the best ways to support a healthy gut is consuming probiotics. These bacteria can help improve digestion, boost the immune system, and protect the body against harmful bacteria.

By protecting the gut like this, probiotics can also help reduce inflammation which often leads to a lot of bodily stress and puts you in a bad mood.

Stress can be detrimental to the body as it can lead to serious conditions like high blood pressure and be a player in the development of gastrointestinal ulcers. It is, therefore, crucial that you find ways to reduce stress. Different foods can help, and the good news is that you are already consuming some of them and can find the rest easily.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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