Top 5 Foods that Reduce Stress

Stress causes damage to your body. Busy schedules, work deadlines, and other environmental factors promote stress and reduce the natural defenses of the body. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to combat stress. Healthy eating has a positive effect in reducing stress in a natural and effective way. Here are the top 5 foods that reduce stress.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a proven stress buster. They are crammed with antioxidants that revive and rejuvenate damaged cells in the body and relieves stress. Blueberries neutralise free radicals in the body and prevents cell damage. These small but powerful berries also improve the body’s response to fight stress and anxiety. Besides, blueberries also improve immunity, which again, plays a vital role in reducing stress.

2. Dark chocolate

This could be an ultimate delight for chocolate lovers. Not all chocolates have the power to combat stress in an effective way, but dark chocolate has a relaxing effect on your body. Studies reveal that consumption of dark chocolate shows a reduction in cortisol – the stress hormone, thereby relieving stress. The cocoa has a high amount of antioxidants that lowers blood pressure and relaxes the blood vessels. For a calming effect, go for chocolates that have over 70 % cocoa, say experts.

3. Avocado

Avocados contain glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, avocado has oleic acid – a monounsaturated fatty aid believed to be associated with reduced inflammation.  The fruit also increases satiety and you feel more satisfied. This reduces stress and promotes better health. Since it is high in fats, consider limiting your intake by adding just half an avocado in your lunch.

4. Cashews

Nuts have always been a great snack, but cashews have an added advantage. The crunchy nut is packed with proteins and omega-3s that reduce cravings and make you feel full. They are rich in zinc that helps in preventing stress. Zinc deficiency is one of the major causes of stress and anxiety. So, replenishing your zinc stores may help in reducing stress. Besides, they can also be a great snack for those trying to lose weight due to its high protein content.

5. Salmon

Eating salmon has many heath benefits. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Studies show that it helps in reducing the stress hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline and induces a calming effect. People who consume salmon on a regular basis have shown a reduced level of stress as compared to those who do not. In addition to it, salmon is also a great food for your heart.

Here are some delicious ways to incorporate these foods into your diet.

Baked salmon with cashews, lemon and parmesan

This is a really simple, light and super healthy and quick meal for weekdays.  Just crush or blend the nuts, smear mayo on the fish, add the topping and bake.  Make your favourite salad as a side.  The topping keeps the fish moist while adding crunch.  Great for summer!

Salmon salad

  • Fresh salmon slices
  • Lemon slices
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Crushed (or blended ) cashew nuts
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chopped herbs (optional)
  • Butter
  • Olive oil

Place 1-2 slices of lemon per piece of salmon in a baking dish.  Place salmon slices on top of the lemon (the lemon flavours the salmon and keeps it moist).

Spread mayonnaise over the top of each piece of salmon.  Then add some more lemon for flavour.

Mix breadcrumbs, crushed cashews, herbs (optional) and parmesan cheese.  Add mixture to the top of each piece of salmon.

Place pieces of butter in the dish and sprinkle olive oil over the salmon.

Bake at 180°C for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.  Its that easy!

Turkish bread, salmon and cream cheese grilled

  • Slices of Turkish bread
  • Tinned or fresh cooked salmon
  • Cottage cheese or cream cheese
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pesto

Place salmon, cream or cottage cheese, sundried tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella on Turkish bread and put under the grill.  Remove when cheese has melted and enjoy.

Blueberries – fresh and frozen

blueberry smoothieWhen buying blueberries organic is always best.  If you can’t get these then ensure you wash any berries in vinegar and water.

Alternatively buy frozen organic and add to Greek yoghurt for a quick and healthy breakfast loaded with antioxidants and probiotics for good gut health.   How good does this smoothie look?

Apple and Blueberry Salad

apple and blueberry salad

Think blueberries, apples, strawberries and pear with raw or toasted nuts.  Add ricotta, blue cheese or parmesan.

Olive oil is a tasty and healthy dressing and adds omega 3 to a dish already filled with fibre, antioxidants and vitamins.

Prepare extra salad and add a protein on the side from your evening meals.  Place in a container the night before and grab it on your way out the door in the morning.

Avocado – Give yourself a brain boost on the weekend

avocado on zucchini frittersStart the day with a protein and omega 3 rich breakfast.  You can use carrot and zucchini fritters .  Alternatively use a good sourdough or seeded bread and add avocado, fried or raw tomatoes and spinach leaves and top with eggs done your favourite way.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolatePour melted dark chocolate onto a lined baking tray.  Sprinkle with goji berries or whatever you like.  Try chopped honey candied ginger or chilli for a bit of sweetness with a kick! Or you can dip fresh or dried fruit in the melted dark chocolate.  Even a small piece of plain dark chocolate is delicious (although it might be a little bitter if you’re used to milk chocolate).


Whether you have them as snacks or incorporate them into your new favourite recipes, make sure to include blueberries, dark chocolate, avocados, cashew nuts and salmon into your diet to help your body cope with stress.

You may also want to take a look at the best stress relief technique.

The information in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical, health, specific nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical, health or other practitioner in relation to your personal circumstances.

22 thoughts on “Top 5 Foods that Reduce Stress”

  1. Thanks Jenny,

    I’m so glad to read your post, as I do have stress to face with working in a job in finance.  So many complexities and challenges!  So I’m glad to see your post at this time and the top 5 foods.1. Blueberries – awesome!  I have been growing these at home for about 10 years and love when they are in season October – January for us.2. Dark chocolate – you couldn’t make me happier saying this and yes, that’s further support for going for the 70%+ cocoa varieties.I love the other 3 foods too so that is great news.  You have provided some great recipes and have an awesome site.  Thank you!

  2. Hello Jenny, 

    You are talking my kinda stress busters.LOL

    Well, just last night, my husband, who is Belgian – yes, the best chocolates EVER – poured himself a glass of Spanish Bordeaux and a few bars (two) of dark chocolate…and he said he was about to de-stress…got to tell him this evening that he ‘made sense’…lol.

    I also know about blueberries. Your recipes left me salivating – to say the least. 

    Great article and I will certainly be trying out the recipes. I love when health, creativity, and good taste all come together!

    Keep up the great job!


    • Sounds like hubby is ahead of the game, Michelle!  Glad to hear you’ll be trying out the recipes. No need to feel guilty about these yummy foods.

  3. For once, these stress relieving foods are foods that I love and are at least delicious. Normally recommended health foods are things that are not so palatable.

    I know that blueberries and avocados are good, but didn’t know that dark chocolate was also on the list for reducing stress, so I have learn’t something new, and at least chocolate is always in season.

    The apple and blueberry salad looks a real treat and I am definitely going to try that one for breakfast tomorrow.

  4. Stress has over the years become an important discuss and it is absolutely essential that articles like this get seen by as much people as possible. I personally enjoy blueberries and can attest to how nerve relieving it can be. Most times i make smoothes with it but will give the apple and blueberries salad a try. Thanks much and keep up the good work.

  5. Hey Jenny! My goodness, your post is making my mouth water – that  baked salmon recipe sounds divine, not to mention the dark chocolate bites. Thinking about it is relieving the stress already! Thank you for sharing this. On my next groceries run I will be adding these suggestions to my cart.

  6. Jenny,

    Your article on stress reduction through the right foods is very well written and full of great information. I had no idea avocados were that good for you and I lovethem! I like how you added the recipe for a healthy meal. It gives the reader the feeling they are getting a little something extra. We all need to eat better to maintain our health and more people are becoming aware of it every day. Great article and keep writing!

  7. A lot of us go through a lot of stress on a regular basis and it has become kind of normal but some of us don’t even know that high stress levels can make us less productive than when our stress level is low. I would have to say thanks for a post like this for identifying some diets that can help reduce stress. 

    I have never tasted dark chocolate and from your article it does seem they are quite bitter. My favorite are the blueberries because they do have a nice taste and also help in fighting our stress levels.

    The side recipes one can prepare with these are amazing and I like the fact that they can be prepared rather easily.

    • Hello Jay!  That’s what I like about the recipes – you kind of just use what you want to make a delicious meal that’s good for you.  Enjoy!

  8. Well, it seems I learn a new thing everyday. Never would I have considered dark chocolate as a stress reliever, now I know. I like the fact that the choice of food listed above can be considered as healthy snack or incorporated in meals as you have shown in the easy to make recipes. I will start with one of the recipes right away.

  9. Reading through your article, I knew about the dark chocolate being an anti-stress food, but I did not know that avocados are as well! 

    As a matter of fact reading this list makes sence to me as to why I do not feel a lot of stress. The only thing in the article I do not consume is salmon, but I cannot eat any seafood or fish. 

    I had to come up with a way to get my omega 3 and 6, as that is usually obtained through seafoods, but can also be found in some plants as well. There are only like one or two that have a perfect 3:1 ratio.

    I love when I read an article and find that I am already, for the most part, on track with the healthy foods. I feel that if I have the food part down, the rest will fall into place naturally, health wise that is.

    Today at work I am going to make a stress relieving snack for the whole crew. I feed the employees before we open to the public every morning, we have what I call Family Time. No one is allowed to work through it either, I made the rules! 🙂

    Thank you for this wonderful article, this will help so many people for sure! We live in a very stressful world, and need all the help we can get! 

    • Hello Stacie!  So glad you are eating well and that you are taking such good care of your team.  If you enjoy your work and love your team, it will definitely reduce your stress.  And a stress relieving snack is good for everyone!

  10. Funny how your body is naturally drawn to certain foods in times of stress. I often peel and eat an Avacado or go buy some blueberries, of blueberry muffins when I am stressed and I love Dark Chocolate. Being a terminal workaholic I am constantly stressed out and these are among my comfort foods and I have found they can be very healthy as well.

    • Well done, Andy!  Glad you enjoy healthy foods that will support you.  If you’re a workaholic, check out some of our other articles on stress too and take care of yourself! 

  11. Hello there, this is an amazing review you got there!

    I never knew that some food can reduce stress! But through this review I just realized that foods listed in the review such as Blueberries, avocados and dark chocolate can reduce stress. I will sure incorporate them in my diet to help my body cope with stress.This review was educative.

    Thank you for sharing.


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