Stress Reducing Diet Foods

The stress you feel in your life may not be under your control, but what you eat each day is completely under your control. By taking the time to choose foods which can boost your body in times of stress, you can change the way your body responds to stress. While eating a well-balanced diet is always helpful in managing stress, there are also some diet foods which can help you to control anxiety and tension. Though many more exist, complex carbohydrates, almonds, and avocados are some of the most celebrated.

Stress Reducing Diet Foods

Try adding some of these stress reducing diet foods to your daily meals to get a grip over stress and anxiety.

Complex Carbohydrates

While many diets will tell you to avoid carbohydrates, this might not be a good idea when you are trying to manage stress too. With complex carbohydrates, you will be controlling the blood sugar levels in your body as these are more difficult foods to break down than simple carbohydrates. This will lead to fewer food cravings.

In terms of stress control, complex carbohydrates encourage the body to produce serotonin, a stress relieving chemical in the body. This will allow you to maintain a sense of calm, even when things are a bit crazy in your life. Try eating a few servings of complex carbohydrates each day, including whole grain breads, brown rice, high fiber breakfast cereals, oatmeal, beans, lentils, bran and barley.


Almonds are one of my favorite diet snack foods. They are high in protein, which can help to curb hunger and only a small handful (10 almonds) can be a satisfying snack between meals. Almonds are also high in vitamin E that can help to protect the heart as well as the mind from the damaging effects of stress. In addition, almonds contain high levels of B vitamins, which support the nervous system and create a stable mood level. Eating a small handful of almonds each day can provide stress-reducing benefits while also helping to quell hunger and keep a diet on track.


Many dieters avoid avocados because of their high fat content. Avocados, however, are filled with healthy, monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol and protect the body from stress and damage. Also, the high potassium levels in avocados are helpful for managing stress. So when you are feeling particularly stressed out, try eating a small serving of avocado each day to help you manage your weight and balance your feelings of anxiety and stress.


Milk can soothe jagged nerves while also helping to boost weight loss. Studies have shown that adding dairy to your day (low fat, of course) can help you to drop pounds as well as feel calmer. Yes, a glass of warm milk can really help you fall asleep at night. Try adding a cup of yogurt or skim milk to your daily diet to allow you to feel the full effects.

For myself, I am a chronic poor sleeper and now that I am over seven months pregnant, getting a good night’s sleep is becoming very difficult. In the middle of the night when I just can’t get back to sleep I make myself a cup of warm milk. I do not add a sweetener, but sometimes a shot of vanilla or almond extract for a little added flavor. In no time I am sawing logs again and my mind is peaceful. Milk – it does the body and mind good.

How Stress Affects Weight Loss

Not only can stress result in making poor food choices and overeating, but it also may also lead to weight gain. Some studies have shown that stress triggers the production of a hormone called cortisol in the body and cortisol may be linked to the accumulation abdominal fat (see the article “Weight Gain and Stress”). As well, stress in your life may prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. This too can either slow weight loss or cause weight gain (refer to the article “Sleep and Weight Loss”).

As you can see, while the stress reducing diet foods mentioned above may not be your typical foods eaten when you are trying to lose weight, adding some of these in moderation might be beneficial not only to your diet, but also to your stress levels. How you feel can affect the way you eat, how you sleep and your weight loss success. Finding ways to lower stress in your life, be it with diet, exercise, relaxation techniques or other methods will be of great benefit to your well-being, whether or not you are trying to lose weight.

Other Related Posts and Articles you May Find Interesting: “Weight Loss Foods that Improve Your Mood”, “How Stress Affects Weight Loss”, “3-A-Day of Dairy Weight Loss Program” and “Why You Need Carbohydrates”.

1 comment to Stress Reducing Diet Foods

  • Rachael

    i knew about the almonds, avacados, and the warm milk, but i did not know the importance of having some complex carbs in times of stress. thanks for the info.

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