After a stressful day at the office, it almost seems natural to drown your sorrows in a heaping plate of mac and cheese or bag of chips. Unfortunately, traditional comfort foods, while palate pleasing, aren’t your best bet when dealing with stress.

But it is possible to eat your way out of a bad mood. Certain foods contain nutrients that are scientifically proven to offer energy, lower cortisol levels, and increase serotonin. Here are five stress-fighting foods that provide a variety of health benefits for those who are tired or drained:

Read: The Science-Backed Diet For Health And Longevity: Eat 10 Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables A Day, Study Says

Leafy Greens

"Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm," Heather Mangieri, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Health magazine.


Tryptophan, the amino acid often blamed for making you sleepy after that heavy Thanksgiving meal, produces serotonin. The chemical, in turn, regulates hunger, happiness and well-being. A 2006 study found that people who took 1 gram of tryptophan three times a day had a shift in mood, making them less argumentative and aggressive than those who received a placebo.

Fatty Fish

Seafood like Tuna, Salmon and Trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which not only lowers inflammation, but anxiety too. A study conducted on medical students in 2011, who have plenty of reasons to be anxious, found that daily omega-3 supplements lowered anxiety by 20 percent.

Read: 8 Ways That Stress Shows On Your Face: The Aging Effects Of Anxiety

Whole Grains

Good news for carb addicts - science says eating your favorite bready foods is good for you. Carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production, which is essentially what antidepressant medications do, naturally regulating mood. Not only that, but serotonin has the additional benefit of making you feel full to prevent overeating. Of course, whole grain breads and oatmeal are better picks than white rolls.

Dark Chocolate

Go ahead and indulge with a little bit of chocolate. According to Health magazine, it reduces stress hormones and the antioxidants help your blood vessels relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.

See Also:

Why You Should Take That Nap: 5 Science-Backed Ways To Relieve Stress You'll Actually Want To Follow

The Science-Backed Diet For Health And Longevity: Eat 10 Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables A Day, Study Says