The best foods for healing anxiety, according to a dietitian

Add these healing foods to you diet to improve your mental health and reduce anxiety.

It’s estimated one in four Australians suffer from anxiety, making it the most common mental health condition affecting our nation.

Dietitian Annica Marks shares some practical advice on healing foods.

Folate and Folic Acid

Anxiety and depression can often go hand in hand, and while studies on the link between folic acid and anxiety are low on the ground, there are certainly many to suggest that boosting your folic acid intake can help with depression.

Load up on natural folates, such as leafy greens, asparagus, legumes and pumpkin seeds, as well as foods fortified with folic acid, such as wholegrain breads and cereals.


Several studies have linked magnesium with decreased rates of anxiety and depression. It supports neurotransmission by interacting positively with receptors that orchestrate mood, relaxation, wellbeing and sleep.

Keep your engine room running perfectly by loading up daily on big leafy greens, whole grains, such as quinoa and buckwheat, nuts and seeds, bananas, yoghurt – and happily – dark chocolate.

In a 12-month period, more than 2 million Australians experience anxiety – Australian Bureau of Statistics

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has long been linked to a significant reduction in depression, but recent studies are showing eating plenty of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, can also reduce levels of anxiety.

“The human brain is nearly 60 per cent fat – the most crucial of this is the essential fatty acids – and we know that if people go on low-fat diets, it not only affects the brain’s integrity and ability to perform, but negatively impacts mental wellbeing,” Annica says.

“At the other end of the spectrum, eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids boosts feelings of wellbeing, helping to lift a person out of an anxious state.”

Oily fish will always be the heroes, so aim to eat these at least twice a week, but supplement the fish with other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as nuts and seeds, olives, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, chia seeds and breads containing linseed.

Avoid these anxiety triggers


Diets high in sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods tend to be lower in the micronutrients, which are associated with good mental health.


It’s known to play havoc with serotonin levels and other neurotransmitters in the brain.


The odd cup is fine, but too much caffeine can trigger the body’s fight or flight response in some people.

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