10 Best Healthy Foods to Fight Stress, According to a Nutritionist

Wellness and weight management coach Avni Kaul shares how you can replace your stress eating favourites such as cheesy pizza and deep-fried fries with healthier eating choices that taste good and make you feel better too!

Despite the rampant perception, working from home is not a joyful walk in the park especially when the world is battling a deadly pandemic. Most of the times we may not even realise how stressed and anxious we are feeling. But, if you take a close look at your diet, you might find out how you are REALLY feeling. 

"The problem lies that whenever one feels the bouts of stress people mostly look to ways that can suppress their stress instantly. As a result, they mostly look for food such as cheese, chips and cola as they are mostly available readily at homes. Not many are aware that stress has long been involved
in a poor diet. There are lots of people who tend to report overeating and comfort eating foods high in fat, sugar, and calories specifically during the times of stress," says nutritionist, wellness coach and certified diabetes educator Avni Kaul, who is also the founder of NutriActivania.


She adds that stress activates the reward centre of the brain, so you end up ignoring several factors such as the portion size or the nutritional value. Prolonged eating like this makes it a habit and you tend to order the same thing (Hello Pizza!) every time whether you feel stressed or hungry.

Complex Carbohydrates

stress eating

All carbohydrates alert the brain to produce more serotonin. For a smooth delivery of this feel-good chemical, thus it is better to eat complex carbohydrates, which are usually longer to digest. Good options include whole-grain pieces of bread, whole wheat, brown rice, steel-cut oats, Indian millets such as Ragi, Bajra, Jowar, Amaranth. Complex carbohydrates can also assist you to feel balanced by balancing the blood sugar levels.


Too less quantity of magnesium could trigger headaches and fatigue, increasing the effects of stress. A cup of spinach helps one stock back up on magnesium. If you do not prefer spinach you can opt for other green, leafy vegetables that are good magnesium sources.


Oranges are preferred for their rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C can reduce the levels of stress hormones while boosting the immune system.

Fatty Fish

stress eating

If you consistently want to keep stress in check, begin eating naturally fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fish like the salmon and tuna, can prevent a rise in stress hormones and can help protect against heart disease, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). If you are not able to
buy those fish even Indian fish like Rohu also has Omega-3 fatty acids besides one can also have them in the form of supplements.

Pistachios and other nuts

Pistachios, just like other nuts and seeds, are good sources of healthy fats. Having a handful of pistachios, almonds, and walnuts regularly could help reduce your cholesterol, ease inflammation in the heart and arteries, make diabetes less occurring, and safeguards you against the impact of stress.
Do not overeat, as nuts are rich in calories too.

Sweet Potatoes

They are a good source of fibre and carbohydrates, which helps to boost serotonin production. Also, as they are subtly sweet, they can eradicate cravings for sugar.

Raw Vegetables

stress eating

Perhaps the best option is having fresh raw vegetables chewing carrot sticks and cucumber sticks help release a clenched jaw that can ward off tension.

Blue Berries

Packed with antioxidants, blueberries must be part of your diet. They help form dopamine, that stress-fighting chemical which one needs to counter stress.


Teas like green, black or chamomile have a soothing effect on your mind. In fact, if you sip on chamomile tea before going to sleep it aids in good sleep which plays a good role in combating stress.


One fist of cashew has 11 per cent of the daily recommended value of zinc, which plays an important role in combating stress. Zinc is specifically good if one has a problem concentrating due to stress and anxiety.