Foods That Can Actually Make You Calmer

Everyone who's maintained some level of mental and emotional stability during these past few years should really give themselves a huge pat on the back. Especially when you consider the fact that, according to the American Psychological Foundation, when you factor in the pandemic and then other issues such as financial pressure, job loss, and this country remaining in a constant state of uncertainty, 78% of Americans have said that COVID-19 has been a source of great stress for them, while 67% have said that living in this "new normal" has resulted in quite an uptick of personal stress.


And since stress is directly connected to long-term health issues like obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and even shortened longevity (via WebMD), wouldn't it be great if there were certain foods that you could eat that could keep your stress levels down and put you in a calmer mindset?

The good news is that there most definitely are. So, if you've been feeling a little more anxious, tense, nervous, or just plain ole' frazzled lately, here are some foods to make you calmer and help put you more at ease.

Swiss chard is high in magnesium

If you've ever wondered what exactly Swiss chard is, it's a type of leafy green that is related to both beets and spinach. Palate-wise, it kind of has a mild bitter taste to it. As far as health benefits go — because it's high in nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K as well as iron, fiber, and potassium — it's a great way to boost your energy levels as you work out. Plus, it helps to balance out your blood sugar levels and lower your blood pressure too, according to Medical News Today.


Something that makes it a great food for stress levels is that Swiss chard is also high in magnesium. This is great to know because the nutrient is thought to help to calm nerves, helping people feel less anxious. That's why Swiss chard is the kind of green that you may want to eat for lunch or dinner. That way, you can have magnesium in your system a few hours before turning in.

Green tea can help ease tension

Can you recall the last time you had a cup of green tea? If you can't, why not treat yourself at some point today? Green tea is a wonderful drink when it comes to giving your body so much of what it needs. According to Healthline, it's loaded with antioxidants and bioactive compounds that work together in order to improve your brain function, help to ward off type 2 diabetes, fight heart disease, and assist you with losing weight. It even helps increase longevity.


Although green tea does have some caffeine in it (around 28 mg per an eight-ounce serving, according to Mayo Clinic), interestingly enough, this tea can also help you to calm down. That's because of something else that it has in it — an amino acid called L-theanine. The awesome thing about L-theanine is it has the ability to release tension, while the phytochemicals in green tea will help to put you into a better mood.

Eating mozzarella might help you relax

Does nothing bring you more joy than a slice of pizza? If so, you're in luck because if the cheese that's on it happens to be mozzarella, you're eating another food that can actually make you calmer. As far as health benefits go, mozzarella is good for you because it's a decent source of protein (which is good to know if you happen to be a vegetarian) and it's a good source of calcium as well (via Healthline).


What makes it a stand-out food when it comes to balancing out stress is that it's also full of probiotics, which is thought to help people's moods. Something else that's good to know about mozzarella is it's also got a good amount of tryptophan in it (most cheeses do, as noted by Healthline). Since tryptophan is an amino acid that helps your body to produce body-relaxing hormones, such as serotonin and melatonin, why not enjoy some pizza once in a while?

Choose brown rice over white rice

At the end of the day, brown rice is always going to be healthier than white rice. That's because white rice is brown rice that's been stripped of most of its nutrients; this means that although white rice lasts longer, you won't get as many vitamins and minerals from it (per Healthline). And just what are you getting out of brown rice? Fiber, magnesium, selenium, folate, iron, calcium, and protein.


So, how in the world can a steaming bowl of brown rice help to put you into a more relaxed state? Well, brown rice is considered to be a whole grain which makes it a complex carb. When these kinds of carbs are consumed, it's easier for your system to produce serotonin, and serotonin can help to relax you. According to Healthline, it can also stabilize your moods, help alleviate depression, and decrease anxiety levels. And yes, all of this can happen from having some brown rice from time to time.

Fatty fish have a good deal of benefits

Fish that fall underneath the fatty fish category include salmon, herring, whitefish, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel. Fish is good for you for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that it contains vitamins B and D, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. It's got lots of protein. It can help to lower your blood pressure. It's also effective at keeping your heart and brain really healthy.


Stress-wise, fish, especially fatty fish, is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Healthline shares that these acids help to better eye health, reduce heart disease, fight bodily inflammation, improve mental health, and even help with asthma and ADHD in children.

If anxiety or depression is something that you struggle with, omega-3s are good for both of those too. The backstory is they have phospholipids which help form cell membranes and produce brain-signaling so that your system will produce more dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is awesome because it's a neurotransmitter that is partially responsible for making you feel pleasure.

Citrus fruit has stress-fighting B vitamins

Question — what's your favorite fruit? If nothing makes you happier than peeling an orange, enjoying half of a grapefruit, or making some fresh lemonade or limeade, you are doing your body oh so good on a myriad of levels. Health shares that citrus fruits contain antioxidants, are a great source of fiber, can boost your immunity, and protect your heart. And thanks to the potassium that's in them, citrus fruit can also monitor your sodium levels.


Something else that's pretty impressive about this kind of fruit is it's basically a B-complex vitamin too (via WebMD). The reason why this is so important when it comes to dealing with stress is that vitamin B is proven to be a powerful nutrient when it comes to reducing anxiety-related symptoms and making life more manageable for individuals who may be dealing with depression. Since vitamin B is also good at relieving mental fatigue, the more citrus fruit that you have in your house (and body), the better.

Relax with some warm milk

It's doubtful that when you saw warm milk on the list that you were surprised in any way. That's because many of us have fond memories of being given warm milk when we had a hard time falling asleep as a child. And milk is good for your too. Aside from the fact that milk is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins B and D, potassium, and protein (via Harvard's School of Public Health), it's also good at protecting your bone health. However, the reason why many people believe that it's the ultimate sleep-inducing drink is because there are amino acids in milk that can help you get a good night's rest.


So, what do you do if you're not a big cow's milk kind of drinker? That's a good question. If that's the case, Medical News Today states that there are milk alternatives like soy, almond, and oat that are loaded with protein. Plus soy, in particular, is a good source of amino acids. This means that, one way or another, you can have your tall glass of warm milk and a night full of sound sleep too.

Almonds can help with anxiety

You can never really go wrong with snacking on a handful of almonds. Organic Facts shares that, aside from being a solid source of protein, almonds are a great way to get more vitamin E into your system as well. And since vitamin E can help to fight off free radicals, reduce your risk of heart disease, and decrease bodily inflammation, that's really good to know. Some other benefits of almonds include the fact that they help to regulate your blood sugar and blood pressure levels, are effective when it comes to soothing skin issues like hand dermatitis, and are great at relieving constipation.


As far as their calming effect, almonds have zinc in them. This is beneficial because science has discovered that there is a link between individuals who struggle with anxiety and those people having a low level of zinc in their system (via Nutrition and Metabolic Insights). And even though almonds are pretty high in fat, they are actually a food that can help you to lose weight (via Healthline), so there's no reason to feel guilty about snacking away on them (especially when you're totally stressed out).

The tryptophan in turkey might help calm you

Turkey is the kind of meat that's really good for you. You probably know that it's full of protein, but it's also a great source of B vitamins, selenium, zinc, choline, and phosphorus (via Healthline). According to WebMD, this means that all of these nutrients work together to lower your cancer risk, protect your heart, and help to prevent cognitive decline.


As far as turkey dinners making you sleep, that's actually not a myth. Turkey is filled with tryptophan, and since that definitely can relax your moods in the daytime while giving you plenty of good rest at night (via Healthline), enjoying a turkey sandwich or a turkey leg can help make you a little calmer.

Oh, and if you're wondering what part of the turkey is healthiest for you, Eating Well says that while dark meat can put more iron into your system, white meat has fewer calories. Enjoy!

Tart cherry juice boasts melatonin

Are you looking for a new juice to try? If so, have you ever had tart cherry juice before? It has fiber. It's has protein. It has a good amount of vitamins A and C, along with some manganese, potassium, and copper. If you like to work out, it can help to relieve muscle soreness. If you're susceptible to colds, it can strengthen your immunity. And if you have a difficult time falling asleep and you're not the biggest dairy fan, tart cherry juice is an alternative way to help you catch some Z's (via Healthline).


The reason why is because tart cherry juice is full of melatonin. And since there is so much melatonin in this kind of juice, you can be sure that when you consume it, you are not only improving your quality of sleep but studies state that you are helping to reduce bodily inflammation too.

Just make sure that you are getting 100% tart cherry juice. It might not taste the sweetest, but it's definitely the kind that will benefit you the most.

Bell peppers have lots of vitamin C

This might be your "something new" for the day. Out of all of the bell peppers, can you guess which one is the healthiest? According to WebMD, it would be red peppers. Although all of them are packed with vitamins A and C, along with folic acid, fiber, and potassium, because red peppers actually stay on the vine the longest, they tend to contain the most nutrients. For example, in comparison to green peppers, red ones have a whopping 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C in them.


What causes these peppers to make the calming foods list is the fact that science reveals that there is a direct link between vitamin C deficiencies and fatigue and depression. Not only that, but boosting your vitamin C levels can potentially lower anxiety levels and improve your mood as well (via Mayo Clinic).

However, do take note that if vitamin C is what you're after, you should lightly cook these types of peppers. Livestrong shares that heat can actually reduce this nutrient's potency, so the crisper this particular food is, the better.

Snacking on dark chocolate can help reduce stress

Without a doubt, the gift that just keeps on giving is dark chocolate. It's a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and phosphorus. It's got the plant compound flavanols that help to keep your heart strong and your blood pressure levels low. Everyday Health states that dark chocolate also improves your brain function, helps your gut health, fights off free radicals, and protects your skin from damaging skin rays. 


Also, if work has you just about at your wit's end, enjoying a piece of dark chocolate can be really good for you. According to WebMD, a dark chocolate candy bar can help to reduce your cortisol (your stress hormone) levels. And if you eat about an ounce and half of dark chocolate every day for a couple of weeks, your anxiety levels will decrease too. Something else that's great about dark chocolate is it can soothe depression-related symptoms.

However, keep in mind that, to get the most out of dark chocolate, it needs to contain between 70 to 85% cocoa (via Medical News Today). Hey, it might not taste like a standard candy bar, but it will be better for your body — so it all works out!