Foods that can help and hurt anxiety

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Say goodbye to cookies and coffee and hello to asparagus and avocados if you want to reduce your anxiety.

If you’re suffering from anxiety, the culprit could be your diet.

What you eat could make a difference. Here are some foods suggests avoiding:

Sugary snacks

cookies junk food

Sugary snacks have refined sugar, which makes your blood-sugar levels rise and fall quickly. This could make you feel emotionally and physically tired.

Refined sugar isn’t only in snacks, though. You can also find it in white bread, pasta and white rice.




Though you may feel like alcohol eases your nerves, its lasting effects actually make anxiety worse.



cup of coffeee

Caffeine can make you more jittery and more restless — both of which can add up to anxiety. Avoid caffeine, which is also in some teas, sodas and energy drinks, to try to ease your nerves.




Eating too much salt can take away potassium from your body. Potassium helps keep your nervous system functioning properly, so not having enough of it will only make your nerves worse.

Salt can also increase your blood pressure and strain your heart.


OK, so you’ve reduced the above from your diet. Now what? Men’s Fitness suggests some foods you should eat that help anxiety.

They include:

  • Foods with folic acid, such as asparagus
  • Foods high in vitamin B, such as avocados
  • Foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges and blueberries
  • Milk, which has vitamins B and B12, protein, calcium and antioxidants
  • Foods with vitamins B2 and E, such as almonds
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon
  • Foods high in magnesium, such as spinach
  • Turkey, which has the amino acid tryptophan
  • Foods high in fiber, such as coarse oats used in oatmeal