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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

Foods That Increase Happiness and Reduce Anxiety

Add these foods to your grocery list for a happier you

The National Institute of Mental Health says that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the country, and that's almost 40 million adults. Increased anxiety may cause panic attacks and lead to decreased happiness, so adding these "anti-anxiety" foods can help reduce symptoms as well as improve the quality of your life.


Asparagus is a healthy vegetable as it is rich in iron and zinc. It is also a great source of antioxidants that protect your body from oxidative stress that leads to inflammation and certain types of cancer. Chinese medicine has been using asparagus for its benefits, and a 2013 study showed that "the aqueous extract of asparagus stem exhibited a strong anxiolytic-like effect," meaning it may be a good alternative to managing anxiety.

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help in brain and heart health, and a 2011 study showed that adding omega-3 to your diet can help lower anxiety symptoms. If salmon isn't your favorite, you can choose mackerel, oysters, or sardines.


Turmeric is a great ingredient to add to your foods as it has curcumin that, according to a 2015 study, increases the production of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in your brain, vital for brain health and function. It's easy to sprinkle on foods or drinks.


Bananas are an easy snack rich in vitamin B6 that helps boost neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that make you happier. As a great prebiotic, it keeps your gut healthy, and a healthy gut means less anxiety.


Berries are one of the healthiest foods as they are rich in antioxidants. A 2018 study showed that choosing blue and purple colored-berries means they have anthocyanins that help lower depression too. Frozen berries can do the trick if you can't find fresh berries.

Dark Chocolate

Good news for chocolate lovers: adding a piece or two of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) can make you happier as this treat has theobromine, uplifting your mood and making you happier.


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