What are the best and worst foods for stress?

Mind, Stress, Digestive System, Healthy

While some foods leave us feeling happy and warm inside there are the others that leave us feeling stressed and anxious.

Which are the foods that could be raising your stress levels?

Wheat bran

While wheat bran is high in fibre it also has a high concentration of phytic acid. Humans don’t have the ability to break phytic acid down and as it passes through the gut it binds with important mood boosting, minerals zinc and magnesium thus limiting their absorption.

Reaching for the caffeine

Coffee is an excellent stimulant to help keep the mind focussed. It promotes the production of dopamine in the brain; however this chemical reduces the body’s ability to absorb key stress boosting nutrients including the B vitamins and vitamin D 

Ice cream

How many of us have been guilty of hitting the ice cream tub in moments of stress? The bad news is that while it can give a few moments of pleasure all that refined sugar will increase stress hormones. As your body can’t process the sugar hit quickly enough it causes a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and as it subsequently plummets our brain copes with the drop in sugar by stimulating more of the stress hormone cortisol to combat the situation.


While we may reach for a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day it can have the opposite effect and lead us to feeling more stressed than before. We may feel initially calmed; however, research indicates that alcohol can cause sleep problems, dehydration, blood sugar fluctuations all of which can increase stress hormones.

Freshly squeezed fruit juices

This one might be a surprise, but fruit juices are packed with sugar and cause an elevation of blood sugar levels to raise adrenaline level.

Foods high in salt

A diet high in salt has long been linked to high blood pressure but a recent study showed that it also had an impact on our mood. Scientists at the university of Edinburgh discovered that a diet high in salt increased the levels of cortisol by 75 per cent.

What foods help to calm stress?

Now we know the foods that we should avoid we share the foods that can actually lift our mood and reduce stress levels.

Which foods boost your mood

Omega-3 fatty acids

Our body can’t make omega-3 so we have to include it in our diet. These fats are necessary for our brain, heart, immune health, skin and many other essential bodily functions. They actually make up 20% of our brains weight and scientists concluded omega-3 supplements can help to reduce depression. Higher levels of omega 3 help to reduce inflammation and promote longer telomeres to protect our DNA.

Eat up your greens

When we are under pressure our brain produces less of the happy hormones, serotonin and dopamine while it increases the amount of adrenaline and cortisol Scientists believe that improving levels of folic acid can increase the production of the happy hormones. Broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, kale, spring greens and spinach are all rich in folic acid and will promote a feeling of calm. Other foods that are rich in folate include chickpeas, beans, lentils, asparagus and avocado.

Dark Chocolate

Go for a bar that has at least 70% percent of cacao to get the best benefits and avoid sugar ladened white and milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is one of the most potent antioxidant foods you can eat to help to protect from inflammation and stress. Discover the best chocolate to boost your serotonin levels by checking out this blog.


Studies have found that gut health plays a huge role in reducing stress levels, anxiety and depression. Improve your gut microbiome by introducing probiotics to your diet. A daily serving of natural unsweetened yogurt is a good way to start, it also contains the amino acids, lysine and arginine, which both contribute to a reduction of stress and anxiety. These two amino acids can also be found in Collagen Shots which is one of the reasons that many of our customers say that it gives them a feel-good factor.


Eggs are packed with vitamin D known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D helps to boost levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain to give our mood a lift. Eggs also contain the amino acid tryptophan which takes part in the production of serotonin.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds contain a plethora of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to support a healthy nervous system. They naturally help to promote healthy blood sugar levels which helps to maintain normal levels of corsitol.


Bananas contain compounds that help to reduce stress and improve our sleep patterns. They are rich in the B vitamins, specifically vitamin B9 which has anti depressant properties. It also contains tryptophan to support the release of serotonin.


Oats help to boost the neurotransmitter serotonin in our brain to promote a feel-good factor. They also contain vitamin B6 to help our brain stay energised and focussed.

Try the Rejuvenated Porridge » for an antioxidant packed oat breakfast

Add Cellular Calm Complex to your supplement regime to help to restore a healthy balance.