Good-Mood Foods that Reduce Stress

There's no such thing as a chill pill, but some foods contain body-boosting nutrients that help soothe stressed-out nerves. Getting enough B vitamins, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids can help ward off depression. Magnesium helps muscles relax, stimulates production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that eases anxiety and nervousness; and helps you fall asleep. And antioxidants help fight the damage that cortisol does to brain cells and memory.

An emphasis on the following foods will help your body mellow existing anxiety and set you on the right path for overall health. (Talk to your doctor about proper dosages if you take supplements, since it is possible to get too much of a good thing.)

Related: 50 Healthy Main Dishes

Vitamin B6
Best Foods: Avocados, baked potatoes (with skin), bananas, chickpeas, yellow-fin tuna, steamed green beans

Why It Helps: Stress depletes B6, which helps produce serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter.

Vitamin B12
Best Foods: Clams, milk (fat-free), plain yogurt (fat-free), salmon, sardines, chicken

Why It Helps
: Along with other B vitamins, B12 helps form GABA, a calming neurotransmitter.

Folate (Folic Acid)
Best Foods: Asparagus, chickpeas, lentils, oatmeal, orange juice, dark leafy greens

Why It Helps
: Folic acid helps make dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.

Related: Lighter Comfort Foods

Best Foods: Almonds, amaranth, spinach, sunflower seeds, tofu, wild rice

Why It Helps: Stress depletes magnesium, which stimulates the production of GABA and helps make dopamine.

Vitamin C
Best Foods: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberries

Why It Helps: Vitamin C boosts your immune system and fights brain-cell damage resulting from constant exposure to cortisol.

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