Top 10 Foods That Reduce Stress - Herbs Info

Top 10 Foods That Reduce Stress

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Stress is a factor that is now widely agreed to contribute to different diseases and health conditions. Studies have found that stress is one of the predisposing factors to a variety of diseases like hypertension and diabetes. According to a study published in 2012 by Cohen, et. al., chronic stress contributes to systemic inflammation, a contributor to a variety of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. A similar study, published in 2015, actually linked the body’s stress response to diabetes risk. [1][2]

In order to reduce your stress and keep your mind and body healthy, you can include the following food items in your diet!

#1: Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in a substance called anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals circulating in the bloodstream, which caused damage to cells and tissues. A study by Zhao, et. al. in 2015 found that the anthocyanins in blueberries had protective effects against oxidative stress in liver cells. [3]

#2: Dark Chocolate

A 2016 study by Kuebler, et. al. focused on the effects of dark chocolate intake on inflammation caused by stress. The randomized controlled trial found that dark chocolate intake was able to mediate the body’s inflammatory response to stress; specifically concluding dark chocolate’s ability to fight stress-induced heart disease. [4]

#3: Coldwater Fish

One of the most stressful jobs is nursing – hence it being the focus of a 2015 experimental study called the “Happy Nurse Project”. The study aimed to reduce stress in nurses through a stress management program and supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids. The results concluded that omega-3 supplementation (consuming fish or fish oil) contributed to better stress management in the test subjects. [5]

#4: Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A that helps improve eye sight but they are also able to fight off oxidative stress in the body. A study on carrot juice found that carrots were also rich in anthocyanins and exhibited significant antioxidant activity that helps reduce stress. The vitamin and mineral content of carrots also make it great immune booster that helps fight stress. [6]

#5: Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are another oxidative stress fighter, reducing inflammation and cellular damage by clearing our blood stream of free radicals. They are a good source of readily bioavailable “healthy fats”, making them generally recognized as safe to include in your daily diet. Two Harvard studies actually found that nut intake lead to better health outcomes (e.g. longer life span), with one of its benefits being via an improved physiologic response to stress. [7][8]

#6: Lemon Balm Tea

The intake of tea has been associated with stress management, with a study on herbal tea concluding that it was able to mediate stress in test subjects of the experiment. The ability of tea to help reduce stress was seen in the cellular level, through antioxidant production and improved metabolism. Lemon balm in particular has antioxidant flavonoids and phenolic compounds that help the body fight stress. [9][10]

#7: Avocado

Did you know that stress is one of the causes of diabetes? One of the characteristic processes involved in the development of diabetes is lipid peroxidation – which happens because of oxidative stress. Stressful situations contribute to oxidative stress as well, and avocado oil has been seen to reduce both. Avocados are rich in vitamin B, which has been shown to improve mood and reduce strain caused by occupational stress. [11][12]

#8: Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are rich in folate, a substance that was the focus of Budni, et. al. in 2013. The results of study showed that folic acid was able to prevent stress-induced depression through the regulation of antioxidant balance in the body. The researchers concluded that folate could potentially play a big role in stress management and mental health promotion. [13]

#9: Oranges

Oranges are very popular as a “healthy food” because of their high vitamin C content, great for boosting the immune system. However different studies have also been looking into the role of vitamin C in stress management. Fernandes, et. al. in 2011 found that vitamin C was able to normalize blood pressure and vasodilator response in states of stress. A more recent study in 2015 concluded that oral vitamin C supplementation was able to reduce anxiety in students, showing promise for the vitamin as an adjunct to the management of stress. [14][15]

#10: Grapefruit

This fruit is packed with vitamin C but also a variety of antioxidant flavonoids that help fight stress, boost the immune system, and cleanse the body. According to Castro-Vasquez, et. al. in 2016, grapefruit exhibits significant antioxidant and cytoprotective abilities – results that suggest grapefruit’s role in the management of stress. [16]


[1] Cohen, S., et. al. (2012). Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk.

[2] Siddigui, A., et. al. (2015). Endocrine stress responses and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

[3] Zhao, M., et. al. (2015). The chemoprotection of a blueberry anthocyanin extract against the acrylamide-induced oxidative stress in mitochondria: unequivocal evidence in mice liver.

[4] Kuebler, U., et. al. (2016). Dark chocolate attenuates intracellular pro-inflammatory reactivity to acute psychosocial stress in men: A randomized controlled trial.

[5] Watanabe, N., et. al. (2015). A mindfulness-based stress management program and treatment with omega-3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy mental state in hospital nurses (Happy Nurse Project): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

[6] Butalla, C., et. al. (2012). Effects of a carrot juice intervention on plasma carotenoids, oxidative stress, and inflammation in overweight breast cancer survivors.

[7] Corliss, J., et. al. (2013). Eating nuts linked to healthier, longer life.

[8] Ros, E. (2010). Health Benefits of Nut Consumption.

[9] Arceuz, A., et. al. (2015). Flavonoids and Phenolic Acids in Methanolic Extracts, Infusions and Tinctures from Commercial Samples of Lemon Balm.

[10] You, R., Pang, Q., & Li, L. (2014). A metabolic phenotyping approach to characterize the effects of cantonese herbal tea on restraint stressed rats.

[11] Ortiz-Avila, O., et. al. (2015). Avocado Oil Improves Mitochondrial Function and Decreases Oxidative Stress in Brain of Diabetic Rats.

[12] Stough, C., et. al. (2011). The effect of 90 day administration of a high dose vitamin B-complex on work stress.

[13] Budni, J., et. al. (2013). Folic acid prevents depressive-like behavior and hippocampal antioxidant imbalance induced by restraint stress in mice.

[14] Fernandes, P., et. al. (2011). Vitamin C restores blood pressure and vasodilator response during mental stress in obese children.

[15] de Oliveira, I., et. al. (2015). Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

[16] Castro-Vasquez, L., et. al. (2016). Bioactive Flavonoids, Antioxidant Behaviour, and Cytoprotective Effects of Dried Grapefruit Peels (Citrus paradisi Macf.).

Infographic Image Sources:

Blueberries –
Nuts –
Avocado –
Dark Chocolate –
Carrots –
Leafy Greens –
Coldwater Fish –
Lemon Balm Tea –
Grapefruit –,_pink)_white_bg.jpg

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