5 nutrients to reduce stress and anxiety

According to Marjolein Dubbers, author of The Energetic Women’s Nutrition Compass, food has a significant impact on the female hormonal balance. By adjusting your diet, you can change your hormones. Once you understand how your hormones work, you regain control over your energy and health, both physically and mentally.

There are various foods you can eat to support brain function and reduce the severity of symptoms, often because of their brain-stimulating properties.

Firstly, it’s important to note that almost all processed foods contain substances that will drain your body of energy, mainly chemical and unnatural substances that the body doesn’t recognise as natural. For this reason, the body will try to eliminate these substances as quickly as possible, and this process consumes energy.

The following foods can support the body during stressful periods because of their stress-reducing and energy-giving nutrients. Many people frequently mention that (green) leafy vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains (and their oils) are particularly helpful during stressful periods. Opt for these groups, and you’ll notice that stress and anxiety can decrease more easily than you might think.


Magnesium is sometimes called the anti-stress mineral. It promotes muscle relaxation and has a calming effect, directly reducing stress.

Magnesium is found in:

  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Leafy greens such as spinach
  • Seeds and nuts like pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts
  • Legumes
  • Garlic
  • Dark chocolate, cocoa


Zinc contributes to a healthy emotional balance. Additionally, stress weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to diseases. In this aspect, the mineral zinc can help keep your immune system as strong as possible.

Sources of zinc include:

  • Leafy greens
  • Lentils
  • Meat
  • Fish and seafood such as mussels and shrimp
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa

Omega 3

Contributing to serotonin production in the brain, Omega-3 promotes a positive mood. Omega-3 fatty acids also ensure that nerve cells can communicate effectively and rapidly. Fatty fish is the principal source of Omega-3. While there are some plant-based sources, they rarely provide enough omega-3 in the right form naturally.

Omega-3 is found in:

  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring, and anchovies
  • Perilla oil, flaxseed oil, and walnuts

Fibre-rich foods

Fibre-rich foods help stabilise your blood glucose levels, and consequently, insulin levels, preventing rapid fluctuations and providing sustained energy. A stable blood glucose level means less stress for the body. Additionally, certain fibres in our diet are beneficial for gut bacteria, helping eliminate toxic substances from the body.

Sources of fibre include:

  • Legumes like beans, chickpeas, and lentils
  • Whole grains: oats, quinoa, or pseudo grains
  • Seasonal fruits like berries, apples, and pears (preferably unpeeled)
  • Green leafy vegetables

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is the primary neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and calmness. This amino acid can help you relax more and respond better to various stressful stimuli. You can find it in foods such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Eggs
  • Bananas
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Potatoes

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire Belgium French
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer


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