Can I Eat My Way to a More Peaceful Existence?

Can I Eat My Way to a More Peaceful Existence?

We all have some level of stress and anxiety, perhaps more these days than ever.  There are any number of ways that we can try to mitigate the constant onslaught of stress and anxiety inducers.  We can meditate, we can exercise, we can make sure that we are connecting with friends and loved ones, deep breathing, journaling.  But what about anxiety-reducing foods?  Is there such a thing? 

Answer-Yes! There are foods that can actually help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.  Foods that are high in antioxidants, high in omega’s, Vitamin B, Magnesium, and foods that reduce inflammation can all have a positive impact on anxiety.  So, what are easily accessible foods that we can include in our diets that can help with managing anxiety? 

Zinc-rich foods

Foods rich in zinc—such as oysters, liver, beef, cashews, and egg yolks—have been tied to lower anxiety levels. In early, small studies, individuals with anxiety demonstrated lower zinc levels compared with control participants and zinc antioxidant supplementation was shown to improve anxiety symptoms.

Foods with B vitamins

Foods chock-full of B vitamins, such as avocados, eggs, legumes, almonds, sunflower seeds, can all help to manage depression and anxiety.

Foods with Selenium

Brazil nuts are high in Selenium.  Selenium, which is an antioxidant may improve mood and reduce inflammation, which studies show is often at higher levels in people who have anxiety.

Other foods, including shellfish, vegetables, and legumes, mushrooms and soybeans, are an excellent source of selenium.

Foods with Vitamin D

Salmon, sardines and egg yolks are also among the few foods that contain Vitamin D.  Researchers are increasingly linking Vitamin D deficiency to depression and anxiety. A report in the Journal of Affective Disorders believes that there is enough evidence to prove that vitamin D positively helps depression. Other studies that Vitamin D may improve seasonal disaffected disorder during winter.

Eggs also contain Tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps create Serotonin. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, sleep, memory, and behavior. Serotonin is also thought to improve brain function and relieve anxiety.

Leafy-Green Vegetables

Dark, leafy greens, including spinach, Swiss chard, Kale, Arugula contain Magnesium, Vitamin C and other antioxidants, can help to reduce anxiety.

Whole Grains

Keeping your blood sugar levels stable will help reduce anxiety.  Choosing whole grain foods, which are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, both of which have been shown to lessen anxiety and improve mood are blood sugar stabilizers.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, such as Mackerel, Trout, Salmon and Seabass Sardines and Herring, could help decrease anxiety levels due to their high omega-3 fatty acid

content.  Current recommendations suggest eating at least 2 servings a week of fatty fish a week. A study conducted on men found eating salmon three times a week reduced self-reported anxiety.


Asparagus is popular in China, where it is used as a tonic, that “clears heat,” which is associated with inflammation.  It is also high in Folate.  Studies indicate that people who have anxiety and depression often exhibit Folate deficiency. Asparagus contains significant amounts of Folate. One cup of Asparagus provides two-thirds of your daily recommended Folate value.

Dark Chocolate

Experts have long suspected that dark chocolate might help reduce stress and anxiety. Chocolate is high in Tryptophan, is a good source of Magnesium, which may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Be sure to choose chocolate that contains at least 70 percent or more cacao. Dark chocolate contains added sugars and fats, so don’t overdue!  A small serving of 1 to 3 grams (g) is appropriate.


The active ingredient in Turmeric is called curcumin. Curcumin may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation that is often present in people experiencing anxiety and depression.


My Recipe for Poached Eggs on a Bed of Arugula and Quinoa

Without knowing it, one of my favorite breakfast/brunch creations is an anxiety -reducing powerhouse, because it includes several foods that are included in the anxiety-reducing foods list. 


  • ½ Cup of uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1, 7oz bag of Arugula
  • ¼ Cup of Pine Nuts
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Large Eggs



  • In a small saucepan, bring Chicken Stock, Olive Oil and Quinoa to a boil
  • Turn heat down to a simmer
  • Let simmer for about 10 minutes until the Quinoa has absorbed the Chicken Stock and the outside of the Quinoa has separated from the Quinoa seed
  • Put cooked Quinoa aside.  Leave covered to keep it warm
  • Note that Quinoa is gluten-free!


Poached Eggs:

  • Add water in a large saucepan and bring to a low boil
  • When the water is at a low boil, crack eggs individually into a small bowl and lower them gently, 1 a time, into the water
  • Let the eggs simmer for about 4 minutes while preparing the Arugula


  • While water for the poached eggs is coming to a low boil, prepare the Arugula
  • Place Arugula into a large bowl
  • Zest 1 Large Lemon on top of the Arugula
  • Mix the Zest and the Arugula so that the Zest is evenly distributed
  • In a large skillet, put enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat
  • Put the Arugula Lemon Zest into the skillet
  • Add Pine Nuts to the pan
  • Toss the Arugula and Pine Nuts in the pan until the Arugula is slightly wilted

Put it All Together

  • Plate the Arugula/Lemon Zest/Pine Nuts
  • Spoon Quinoa on top of the Arugula
  • After 4 minutes, gently scoop the poached eggs from the water with a skimmer or runcible spoon and place them on top of the Quinoa
  • Sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese on top of the eggs
  • Squeeze juice of ½ a lemon on top of the eggs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Sit down, savor and eat mindfully!

This is a delicious dish that is filling, full of protein and is packed with potential anxiety-reducing nutrients.  Combined, it contains Magnesium from the Arugula, Quinoa and Pine nuts, Zinc in the egg yolks, as well as Vitamin B, D, Omegas and Tryptophan, which aids in Serotonin production.  Enjoy!

In this day and age, we need to do everything that we can to help ourselves manage our stress and anxiety levels.  Sometimes even the thought of all of the things that we should be doing, like meditating, exercising, and even breathing, can create anxiety in and of itself!  Good news is that we all have to eat, so including anxiety-reducing foods won’t add too much pressure!


Be well!



#anxietyreducingfoods #eggs #serotonin #vitaminb #lemonzest #brazilnuts #quinoa #arugula #leafygreens




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