Food for Anxious Thought: Certain Foods and Activities Calm Anxiety and PTSD

We all have our ‘comfort foods’ that we gravitate toward when we are more anxious, tense or fearful. What we may not know is that some of those foods may ultimately make our anxiety worse or put us on a repeating cycle of anxious eating- whereas, other foods can indeed be beneficial. How to know what can help and what might be worsening the situation? Hopefully, this will help clear it up.

Meet The Shift Doctors: Marion Ross, Ph.D. holds doctorates in Holistic Healing, Metaphysics, and Transpersonal Psychology as well as certification in Mind Body Medicine. Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S. is an Integrative Psychiatrist, Medical Intuitive and has served on Associate Clinical Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She holds a Masters degree in Immunobiology, doctorates in Metaphysics & Holistic Healing, certifications in Mind-Body Medicine and is currently in private practice in a suburb of Charlotte, NC with over 30 years of clinical experience in shifting lives. 

11  Food Tips for Lowering Anxiety:

1. Complex carbohydrates (such as whole-grain cereals, breads, pastas and oatmeal) boost our serotonin level in our body in a steady manner. Serotonin levels are often found to be low in people suffering from anxiety and depression. Complex carbohydrates also stabilize blood sugar levels and are a much better choice of food than simple carbohydrates (candy, sweets, sugar) which cause spikes in both blood sugar and serotonin levels that then precipitously drop to induce anxiety again.

2. Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits such as oranges) have been shown to be somewhat helpful in lowering stress hormones in the body and to boost the immune system. One study showed that blood

pressure and cortisol levels normalized  more quickly when people too 3000mg of vitamin C prior to a stressful situation.

3. Magnesium (found in spinach, salmon and cooked soybeans) helps to regulate cortisol levels in the body. People with too low levels of magnesium tend to be prone to headaches and fatigue.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna) can prevent surges in stress hormones and protect against heart disease. It is recommended that you eat 3oz. of fatty fish twice a week to get good benefit.

5. Black Tea was shown to help people recover from stressful events more quickly in a 6-week study compared to people who drank a ‘tea-like placebo’. Coffee was not shown to have the same positive effect and, in fact, appeared to boost levels of cortisol instead.

6. Pistachios decrease the severity of the impact of stress hormones on the body. Eating a handful of pistachios daily was shown in one study to lower the set-point of blood pressure so that it wouldn’t spike as high when an adrenaline rush from stress courses through the body.

7. Potassium (found in avocado and banana) lowers blood pressure. In fact, half of an avocado has on average more potassium in it than a medium-sized banana. Guacamole, therefore, is a great nutritional alternative when you are craving a high-fat treat.

8. Almonds are full of vitamin E to boost immunity as well as a range of B vitamins which assists with physiological resistance to stress in the body. You can get these benefits with eating 1/4 cup of almonds daiy.

9. Raw Vegetables (celery, carrots) can help release muscle tension (decreasing headaches) in a clenched jaw as you munch on the crunchy tidbits.

10. A light complex carbohydrate snack at bedtime can help boost a release of serotonin to improve a sense of calm and improve sleep.

11. Glass of warm milk at bedtime– when you heat milk you cause it to release l-tryptophan along with getting the boost of calcium. Together these help decrease muscle spasms/tension and improve the quality of sleep. (Note: if you are dairy intolerant, you can now get l-tryptophan as a nutritional supplement.)

12. Herbal supplements such as St. John’s Wort (look for a pharmaceutical grade quality) and possibly Valerian Root have been reported to have some benefit in decreasing anxiety.

3 Activities Shown to Lower Anxiety:

1. Yoga, Tai Chi/Qigong and Any Stretching Exercise: Yoga and any stretching form of exercise has been shown to boost serotonin and decrease anxiety. Yoga has also been shown to elevate GABA levels in the brain (a natural calming neurotransmitter).

2. Earthing / Grounding: Connecting your bare feet or bare skin to the earth for 40 to 60 minutes a day has been shown to reduce anxiety and also lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. The body surface of the earth gives off negative ions and areas of inflammation in our body is positively charged. Thus when we connect regularly to Mother Earth the negative ions flow into our body to neutralize these inflamed areas. So earthing also reduces pain and chronic inflammation!

3. Meditation (guided or free-form) has been shown to decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension when practiced with any regularity.

We have several Guided Meditations for you to try if you have never meditated before or if you need to transform anger, resentment, guilt, shame, sense of abandonment, heartbreak, sense of powerlessness, etc that fuels your anxiety (see Guided Meditations). Surrounding you in healing Light! Peace… 🙂 The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) **The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at or find out more about them at .


  1. Good ideas!

    I take a magnesium tablet at bedtime — which is supposed to help with deeper sleep; and it does.

    I avoid corn and anything with corn syrup in it because they make me perpetually hungry, no matter how full I am.

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