Joy Bauer’s 5 Food Lists: Anxiety Reducing Foods

A dear friend and co-worker reminded me, "you are what you eat."  This friend's invaluable practices and advice truly opened my eyes to the adage.

Until I spoke to her, I did not realize the impact of anxiety upon a person but also upon that person's relationships.  One of her guiding principles was eating a lot of green foods to reduce anxiety and to eat garlic for its anti-bacterial properties, when life is getting you down.  Though I no longer work with her on a daily basis, I treasure all of the great advice she gave me over the years.

Managing anxieties by managing what is eaten (along with regular exercise) leads to a happier and healthier life.

Joy Bauer's Joy's Simple Food Remedies:  Tasty Cures for Whatever's Ailing You has been a wonderful resource to access when looking for foods that holistically aid various ailments.  Joy Bauer is often seen on NBC's Today show, as she is a leading health and nutrition expert.  Anxiety and stress is actually number 3 in her list of lists: Ease Anxiety and Stress, page 28.

She lists five foods that are at the top of the list for reducing each ailment.  Other ailments on her lists include: boosting energy, relieving seasonal allergies, and preventing migraines and headaches.

Easing Anxiety and Stress

Here are Joy's top five foods that ease anxiety and stress:

  1. Fatty Fish:  Eating fish with high omega-3 content is best.  The omega-3 content aids in reducing inflammation and anxiety, according to a study at Ohio State University.  Certain kinds of fish also have large amounts of vitamin D, which reduces depression.
  2. Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans):  Rich in tryptophan, which reduces anxiety (remember the sleepiness after eating Thanksgiving turkey?)  Folate, a mood regulator, can also be found in these beans.
  3. Steel-cut Oats:  The carbohydrates and tryptophan in steel-cut oats produce serotonin, a relaxing hormone.  Joy likes steel-cut oats better than regular oats because they are minimally processed.
  4. Oranges:  The vitamin C in oranges seems to help reduce stress.
  5. Chamomile Tea:  According to Joy, chamomile tea appears to act as a mild sedative and helps relieve muscle tension and eases anxiety according to a study with placebos.

Orange-Chamomile Blondies:  A Dessert That Reduces Anxiety!

Joy Bauer not only includes her 5 food lists, she also includes tasty, healthy recipes after each of her lists.  Since I love desserts, I am including one of Joy's anxiety reducing desserts:  Orange-Chamomile Blondies:

  • 1 15.5 ounce chickpea can, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dried chamomile
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Spray an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Process all ingredients except for chocolate chips and optional pecans.  Process until smooth and creamy.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips and optional pecans.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack before cutting.

I love brownies, but blondies are definitely great too!

Garlic Chicken (Not on Joy's List, But Very Soothing!)

I have a dear friend who loves to eat garlic chicken!  Eating garlic chicken is very soothing and anxiety-reducing for her because of it's stress-reducing properties.  She loves it in any way: fried, slow cooked, stir fried. (If she could subsist on garlic, I think she would!)

Here are three of her favorite recipes.  Enjoy!  All you need for these recipes is a large frying pan or wok or slow cooker.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

  1. Marinate over night:
    • 3 pounds chicken cut into strips (I like chicken breasts, personally)
    • 6 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • 2 sweet onions, sliced thin
    • 6-8 stocks of green onions, chopped
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp sugar
  2. Mix 1 cup of chicken broth with 2 tbsp of cornstarch.  Set aside.
  3. Fry 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a frying pan or wok.  Heat hot enough to stir fry.
  4. Add marinated chicken and seasonings to the pan/wok.  Be careful to add slowly, not splashing.
  5. Constantly and carefully stir for about 4-5 minutes on high heat until chicken is no longer raw.  Make in 2 batches (1 tbsp of peanut oil per batch.)
  6. Remove everything from the pan/wok.  Set aside.
  7. Add another 1 tbsp of peanut oil in pan/wok.
  8. Add a package of your favorite frozen vegetables.  Be careful not to splash!  Cook for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  9. Add back the chicken and marinade that you set aside.
  10. Add the cornstarch mixture you set aside and mix until thickened.

Sesame Chicken with Garlic Sauce

  1. Marinade 30 minutes to overnight:
    • 3 pounds of chicken, cut up into strips.
    • 3 tsp sesame oil
    • 2 tbsp minced garlic
    • 3 tsp ginger
    • 4.5 tsp brown sugar
    • 6 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1.5 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4th tsp salt
  2. Mix 1.5 cups of chicken stock with 2 tbsp of cornstarch.  Set aside.
  3. Toast 3/4th cup of sesame seeds.
  4. Slice 6 stalks of green onions.
  5. Stir fry on medium high the marinade and chicken in 2 batches until the chicken is cooked (about 4-5 minutes per batch.)
  6. Combine 2 batches again in the pot.
  7. Add the chicken stock and cornstarch that you set aside.  Cook until thickened (about 1-2 minutes.)
  8. Add the sesame seeds and green onions before serving.

Slow Cooked Garlic Chicken

  1. Cut up 3-4 pounds of chicken.  Place in slow cooker.
  2. Combine:
    • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
    • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
    • 6 tbsp vinegar
    • 1 tsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/8th tsp black pepper
  3. Pour combined spices over the chicken.
  4. Add enough water to cover the chicken in the slow cooker.
  5. Slow cook on low for about 8 hours for tender chicken!

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Books About Garlic

Garlic, book cover
Garlic, book cover
Growing Garlic, book cover
In Pursuit of Garlic, book cover
Garlic Lovers' Greatest Hits, 1979-1998, book cover