Foods That Reduce Stress: 13 Dark Leafy Greens To Add To Your Pantry Now!

Written by GHBY Team on Tue, 01 August 2023

Key Highlights

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, coriander, and lettuce, not only contain vitamins but also iron.
  • Greens minimize the possibilities of flatulence and acidity because the fiber ensures normal bowel motions.
  • Chlorophyll—the pigment that gives plants their green color—increases our tolerance to oxidative stress.
  • Dark leafy greens aid to safeguard and promote the brain's healthy functioning.
  • Make a strategy to deal with stress and reduce its impact on your life as much as possible.

Did you know that greens, more than any other foods to reduce stress have a significant role when you are stressed & fatigued?

Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, coriander, and lettuce, not only contain vitamins and iron but also function as a catalyst for the absorption of proteins and carbohydrates, activating the amino acid tryptophan.

Tryptophan is well recognized for its soothing impact on the mind via serotonin.

So, try having that spinach soup for supper and watch it work its magic on your strained nerves. That salad you've been avoiding could work the most magic at night by lowering your dinner portions.

Greens such as spinach leaves, lettuce, and arugula also aid in the elimination of stomach waste.

Nutritional significance of greens

  • Greens minimize the possibilities of flatulence and acidity because the fiber ensures normal bowel motions.
  • A good tummy guarantees a peaceful mind. Vitamin B6 is required for the proper functioning of the sex hormones.
  • Sex is well recognized for elevating emotions and increasing the hormone oxytocin, sometimes known as the love or cuddle hormone.
  • Vitamin C boosts immunity, reducing muscular weariness and strengthening the body's fighting power.

Green leafy vegetables: How they act as stressbusters

Benefits of eating Green leafy vegetables

  • One of the key reasons dark leafy greens are great stress-busters is that they contain the component chlorophyll—the pigment that gives plants their green color—which increases our tolerance to oxidative stress.
  • According to one study, the antioxidative activity of chlorophyll extracted from spinach extended the life duration of microorganisms by more than 20%.
  • According to researchers, 'dietary chlorophyll derivatives reinforce nutritionists' recommendations to eat green vegetables and salads high in chlorophyll, since this may assist in improving human health and avoiding illnesses'.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables also have strong antioxidant content. The number of nutrients in green leafy vegetables with good bioactive characteristics is off the charts, which is why multiple studies demonstrate that eating more dark leafy greens may considerably reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety while increasing positive mood and life satisfaction.
  • Dark leafy greens aid to safeguard and promote the brain's healthy functioning, hence minimizing cognitive decline. Vitamin K (phylloquinone), vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), beta carotene, lutein, nitrate, folate, and kaempferol are among the key nutrients (including bioactive ones) found in dark leafy greens and green vegetables.
  • Dark leafy greens are also excellent sources of magnesium. The link between magnesium deficiency and depression and anxiety states has been extensively established in animal and human investigations of magnesium deficiency and supplementation.
  • According to research, eating more veggies of all kinds can help prevent cognitive deterioration.
  • Dark-green leafy plants, on the other hand, provide the most protection. A study of aging women discovered that individuals who consumed the most green leafy vegetables aged slower than those who consumed the least. A healthy brain will almost certainly be less prone to mood problems.

Leafy greens for your health

Leafy greens for your health

Here are some of the most scientifically validated leafy greens and nutrients to help control your stress levels:


  • Kale is a potent superfood to include in your diet. Not only is it high in nutrients that your body needs, but eating kale on a daily reduces stress and inflammation while improving your immune system, bones, and even your skin.
  • Kale is also high in plant chemicals that function as antioxidants in the body, actively reducing oxidative stress, which can harm the body's cells and tissues and contribute to chronic illnesses.


  • Microgreens are high in anti-stress nutrients. Fresh veggies from your micro-garden are the most delicious and nutritious food you can acquire.
  • One effective stress-reduction method is good eating. Along with exercise, eating a micronutrient-rich diet is the best way to increase our immunity and heal the damage caused by chronic stress.
  • Microgreens include potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, and several vitamins such as A, E, and C.
  • Furthermore, microgreens are high in antioxidants. Each of these functions neutralizes toxic chemicals created by your body when it is stressed.

Collard Greens

  • They are high in magnesium, a mineral that aids in stress relief, as well as folate, a B vitamin that is required for the development of neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety.
  • They contain a lot of choline, which helps with sleep, muscular movement, learning and memory, and nerve signal transmission.


  • There are several reasons why spinach is such excellent stress-relieving food. For starters, spinach is high in magnesium, which is known to aid with relaxation and stress alleviation.
  • Second, spinach is high in folate and vitamin B6, which are essential for sustaining a cheerful mood.
  • Finally, because spinach is a filling food, it can help to lessen stress-related cravings. Add spinach to your diet if you want a healthy and nutritious strategy to alleviate stress.


  • The nutrient-dense cabbage includes glucosinolates, which assist our livers in detoxifying stress chemicals.
  • Eating more cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, might also help PMS patients combat a stress-related condition known as "estrogen dominance" which may be the cause of pre-menstrual mood swings.
  • However, eat them cooked - steamed or sautéed in olive or coconut oil—since uncooked they might interfere with thyroid function, which can be weakened when you're stressed.

Beet Greens

  • Nitrates (which the body converts to nitric oxide) found in beet greens boost blood health and help decrease blood pressure.
  • Beet greens can boost your mood and enhance your mental health. Vitamin B6 enhances mood and alleviates sadness, and beet greens are abundant in Vitamin B6.
  • By naturally promoting beneficial gut flora, beet greens (and other dark leafy green vegetables) work as superhero prebiotics; a happy gut is essential for a stress-free mind.

Bok choy

  • Bok choy, like many other cruciferous vegetables, has sulfur-based chemicals that may help reduce the risk of chronic disease development.
  • These chemicals function as antioxidants, destroying free radicals before they may cause healthy cells to mutate or produce oxidative stress in tissues and organ systems.


  • Nitrates are naturally found in watercress. Nitric oxide is an important molecule in the regulation of vascular activity.
  • According to one study, those who eat nitrate supplements or nitrate-rich meals have lower blood pressure, indicating that nitrate can help regulate hypertension.
  • Watercress is also high in potassium, which helps to reduce blood pressure by counteracting the effects of salt. It also relaxes the blood vessel walls, allowing blood to flow freely without constriction or cramping.

Romaine Lettuce

  • One cup of romaine lettuce contains 82% of your daily vitamin A needs and 19% of your daily vitamin C needs.
  • According to research, these vitamins also aid in preventing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which can cause tissue and cellular damage.
  • Furthermore, phenolics have been discovered in romaine lettuce seeds and leaves, which are currently being exploited to generate extracts for a variety of reasons, including lowering oxidative stress and encouraging sleep.

Swiss Chard

  • This green, leafy vegetable is high in magnesium, which aids in the relaxation of muscles and nerves.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in Swiss chard. In diabetic patients, this has been proven to reduce glucose levels, boost insulin sensitivity, and avoid oxidative stress-induced alterations.
  • Swiss chard's anti-inflammatory and phytonutrient content, as well as potassium, all contribute to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular stress.

Arugula Leaves

  • Arugula is high in antioxidants, which reduces the risk of free radical damage. Our bodies require vitamins to keep stress, tension, despair, and anxiety at bay, and arugula is high in vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Arugula greens, when taken with anti-inflammatory turmeric, help to detoxify our bodies of toxic overload, enabling our thoughts to work at a pleasantly lively frequency!


  • Endive is a common, bitter-tasting leafy green that resembles lettuce.
  • It is a high-nutritional-value vegetable that contains antioxidants, fibers, potassium, minerals, and vitamins K, vitamin C, vitamin A, phytonutrients, and other important plant components that protect cells and tissues from oxidative stress.

Turnip Greens

  • Turnips greens contain 35 flavonoids, including kaempferol, quercitin, and myricetin. Because flavonoids protect plants from UV light, they are abundant in turnip greens.
  • Flavonoids are powerful free radical scavengers that assist the body in balancing inflammation, preventing oxidative stress, and perhaps protecting against chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

How to include dark leafy greens in your stress-free kitchen

  1. Salads can be made with kale, spinach, lettuce, and collard greens as the base. All of them together create one vibrantly green salad dish.
  2. Cook them with stir-fried veggies.
  3. To soups, add shredded dark leafy greens, particularly parsley and spinach.
  4. Use them in smoothies and juices.
  5. Use liquid chlorophyll in your water, juices, smoothies, tea, and/or coffee.


Unfortunately, stress is not something that can be avoided. Stress levels will continue to fluctuate through time, with periods of extreme tension. What you need is to make a strategy to deal with stress and reduce its impact on your life as much as possible. This should include eating foods that reduce stress, exercising every day and trying to remain in a calm zone.

Consider which meals you want to emphasize and which you want to avoid when your stress levels are very high. Stock up on lush greens in your pantry. A little forethought may go a long way toward combating stress while also avoiding contributing to it.



GHBY Team comprises content writers and content editors who specialise in health and lifestyle writing. Always on the lookout for new trends in the health and lifestyle space, Team GHBY follows an audience-first approach. This ensures they bring the latest in the health space to your fingertips, so you can stay ahead in your wellness game. 

Did you like our Article?





Not Sure




Leave a Comment

  1. Wang E, et al. PeerJ. 2016 Apr 7;4:e1879.
  2. Brookie KL, et al. Frontiers in psychology. 2018 Apr 10;9:487.
  3. Boyle NB, et al . Nutrients. 2017 May;9(5):429.
  4. Eby III GA, et al. Medical hypotheses. 2010 Apr 1;74(4):649-60.
  5. Kang JH, et al. Annals of Neurology: Official Journal of the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society. 2005 May;57(5):713-20.
  6. Morris MC, et al. Neurology. 2006 Oct 24;67(8):1370-6.
  7. Larsen FJ, et al. New England Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec 28;355(26):2792-3.
  8. Kim HD, et al. Food science and biotechnology. 2017 Jun;26(3):807-14.
  9. Miean KH, et al. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2001 Jun 18;49(6):3106-12.

Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Aug, 01 2023

Written By