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Reduce Anxiety and Stress: 11 Mood Boosting Recipes

Eat these yummy recipes packed with omega 3s, magnesium, serotonin boosting ingredients, and more to combat stress and anxiety.

By: Kaylee Pope, Editor, RecipeLion.com
Reduce Anxiety and Stress 11 Mood Boosting Recipes

What you do and do not put in your body can actually have a huge impact on how you feel. Just like junk food can make you feel sick and lethargic, it can actually have an impact on your mental health, as well. Certain ingredients will help boost your mental health by doing things like promoting better sleep and helping to produce more serotonin, a brain chemical that boosts your mood and cognition.

That's why we have collected this list of recipes that use ingredients proven to relieve anxiety and boost your mood. These recipes are packed with nutrients like omega-3s, magnesium, choline, and more. We've all been told to drink milk to strengthen our bones and chomp on carrots for our eyes. Now, it's time to start eating foods that support your mental health, too!

About Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress are some of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In fact, nearly 18.1% of Americans suffer from anxiety some time in their life. Anxiety is a feeling of restlessness, anxiousness, or general unease. This can be brought on by a disorder like generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety. It can also be created by stressful situations in your work or home life. Whether your anxiety is a longtime issue or you're suffering from situational anxiety, eating right is one of the best things you can do to help treat or dull the impact of anxiety in your day to day life.

Note: This list was created in order to provide some yummy and healthful recipes. If you are suffering from anxiety, we highly recommend seeking professional help. A mental health professional is really your best bet for combating anxiety. 

Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

Lavender is said to have soothing properties that can aid in relaxation and even sleep. That's why you see the scent featured so heavily in calming lotions and other body products. These yummy little scones are a relaxing treat to munch on first thing in the morning before a big day.

Get the recipe here.

Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

Bacon, Eggs, and Cheese Breakfast Cups

Waking up with a healthy breakfast is essential for your mental health. A yummy protein can easily help you keep moving throughout the day and provide all the energy you need. Eggs are an especially smart start to the day as they contain a nutrient called choline. Choline is essential to helping your brain boost your mood and regulate your emotions, so eating these first thing in the morning can help you stay relaxed and happy throughout the day.

We love these breakfast cups because you can make them on a Sunday night and eat them throughout the week. They're the perfect grab and go breakfast.

Get the recipe here.

Bacon, Eggs, and Cheese Breakfast Cups

Garlic Herb Baked Salmon

Salmon (and other fish) are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are a key ingredient to maintaining a healthy mental state. These acids not only help to ease inflammation and aid in cardiovascular health, but they have also been linked to lower risk of affective disorders like depression as well as reducing aggression, impulsivity, and depression in adults. Fish oils help you sleep soundly, as well, which is a key to combatting everday insomnia.

Get the recipe here.

Garlic Herb Baked Salmon

Lemon Turmeric Grilled Chicken

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the miracle wonders of turmeric over the past year or so. It seems to be the cure-all of the moment. While turmeric is certainly having it's day, it's a fad for some great reasons. Among other health benefits, this yummy spicy is said to help elevate levels of serotonin in the body as well as lower stress hormones, helping to combat some common symtoms of anxiety. 

Get the recipe.

Lemon Turmeric Grilled Chicken

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Sea Salt

You read that right! Chocolate CAN actually be good for you. Dark chocolate is a yummy way to help your brain function. It is proven to help increase your brain function and increase the levels of serotonin in your brain. Make some of these tasty dark chocolate brownies for a quick afternoon pick me up. Milk chocolate does not have the same impact as dark chocolate, so make sure you're munching on dark chocolate instead.

Get the recipe here.

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Sea Salt

Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls

Just like the recipe above, this dark chocolate delight is the perfet bite to help elevate your mood. If you're someone who loves to indulge in sweets, make sure it's a healthier version. Sugar can actually make anxiety worse! So, make sure you have a way to sate your sweet tooth without too much refined sugar. We love these cookie balls made with a sugar substitute! They taste the like real thing.

Get the recipe here.

Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls

Homemade Yogurt

Numerous studies show that there's a huge link between healthy gut and a healthy mind. A happy tummy can make your day so much better. If your body is able to properly process your food and nutrients, it will help you think straight, boost your mood, and sleep better. Yogurt is an excellent way to keep your gut healthy as it contains healthy probiotics that keep your belly balanced. Not all yogurts are created equal, however. If you're buying your yogurt at the store or even making your own, make sure to purchase something with probiotics. 

A great way to save money on this is to buy plain probiotic yogurt at the store before flavoring it yourself. Find 15 yummy ways here.

Flavoring Homemade Yogurt

Easy Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Spinach

Spinach and other leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium. This mineral is said to help your body a ton. It's awesome for brain function, keeping you regular, and also promotes equilibrium on a cellular level that can help reduce stress hormones and feelings of stress on the body. While a salad is an excellent way to get your leafy greens in, we love this yummy pasta recipe as an anxiety-reducing dinner option.

Want to make it even better for you? Make sure to use whole grain pasta.

Get the recipe here.

Easy Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Spinach

4-Ingredient Banana Bread Dump Cake

Bananas are another awesome source of magnesium that will keep you body happy and healthy. If leafy greens aren't your favorite, consider making this banana bread recipe. This dump cake contains 3 full bananas, making it much healthier than a lot of other recipes.

Get the recipe here.

4-Ingredient Banana Bread Dump Cake

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

Rich in anti-oxidants, blueberries are said to promote brain function and have a calming effect. Drinking a smoothie is an awesome way to kickstart your day. We do reccomend either adding peanut butter or having them with some form of protein, however, as not eating enough in the morning can cause more anxiety!

Get the recipe here.

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

Light Whole Wheat Bread

Bread is probably part of your daily meals! Did you know that eating the "wrong" bread could actually make your anxiety worse? A lot of store-bought white breads are actually pretty high in sugar and preservatives which can exacerbate or increase anxiety symptoms! Eating a healther, whole wheat option not only helps you prevent these icky side effects, but can help in the long run. Whole wheats are often high in magnesiums which can make you feel much better.

Get the recipe here. 

Light Whole Wheat Bread

Foods that Increase Anxiety

Many foods and ingredients have been found to make anxiety much worse! Anything that can cause extra stress to your body and act as a stimulant or depressive should be used with caution. Many foods can easily impact your moods and made a bad day worse with the wrong combo. Be sure to watch out for the following:

Caffiene - It can be tough to try and live without your morning cup of coffee to kickstart your day. Caffiene, however, can do a number on your well-being. An already anxious person will see a rise in stess and anxious feelings with those coffee jitters. Try to keep your coffee habit to one cup a day or switch to tea. 

Alcohol - Alcohol can do a number on your mental health. While a glass of wine to unwind might feel good, the lasting impacts can make anxiety much worse. Not only does alcohol impact your sleep schedule, it also acts as a depressant which can make anxiety and depression symptons much worse. Even worse, hangovers often come with their own type of anxiety the day after, especially for those already prone to anxiety. There's even a word for it "hangxiety".

Processed Sugar and Foods - Much like caffiene and alcohol, sugar can make anxiety symptoms worse. Too much sugar in your body impacts your body's ability to combat stress. Foods that are high in sugar and heavily processed also tend to lack key nutrients, which means your body is working overtime to support you without the nutrients it needs to keep you going. It's especially important to watch out for "sneaky" sugars that might be added to your meal in things like sauces, dressing, and more.

Aged Meats and Cheeses - While that yummy cheese plate can be tempting, these foods are actually proven to cause stress and often lead to insomnia. Fermented and aged foods contain what is called histamine which is said to trigger anxiety.

Looking for more info?

If you're looking for more information on what foods to eat to combat anxiety and stress, check out the articles below:

6 Foods that Reduce Anxiety from Healthline.com

Nutritional Strategies to Combat Anxiety from Harvard Health Blog

19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety from Health.com

What other ways do you combat anxiety?

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This article is a great reminder to stay mindful of what you use to fuel your body. Personally, I love fast food and junk food. I tend to eat them more when I have accomplished something difficult and use these fatty, cheap foods as a reward. However, afterward, I not only feel lethargic but still crave the same types of food the next day. Now that I have found these recipes, especially the one for Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls, I will be able to make it beforehand just so I don't immediately resort to fast food to satisfy my sweet tooth. The Lemon Turmeric Grilled Chicken also looks great without even taking into account the health factor! That, some steamed vegetables, and some brown rice may just be dinner tonight! Thank you for the great ideas!

This article is a great reminder to stay mindful of what you use to fuel your body. Personally, I love fast food and junk food. I tend to eat them more when I have accomplished something difficult and use these fatty, cheap foods as a reward. However, afterward, I not only feel lethargic but still crave the same types of food the next day. Now that I have found these recipes, expecially the one for Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Balls, I will be able to make it beforehand just so I don't immediately resort to fast food to satisfy my sweet tooth. The Lemon Turmeric Grilled Chicken also looks great without even taking into account the health factor! That, some steamed vegetables, and some brown rice may just be dinner tonight! Thank you for the great ideas!

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