Dietary Changes to Reduce Anxiety


In India, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences conducted a study on 72 people who’d been diagnosed with severe anxiety. The results indicated that basic, Ayurvedic principles—specifically dietary modifications—reduced anxiety a great deal; even more so than drugs such as Klonopin.

Why Ayurveda?

Years ago, I began working with an Ayurvedic physician in NYC. I learned the importance of creating and maintaining balance in our daily lives. The term “sattva” means balance, and it’s the foundation of an Ayurvedic lifestyle—diet plays a huge part. When we are out of whack and not lined up with nature, illness befalls us. We need to maintain a harmonious relationship with our bodies and nature in order to function at our best. Avoiding certain foods while increasing others helps stomp out anxiety.

How your constitution plays a role

If you’re prone to anxiety, depression, or even just frequent bouts of the “blahs”, take a look at your Ayurvedic constitution. Take this simple quiz to see which describes you best:

Vata is the constitution prone to the most anxiety, although anyone with any constitution may encounter nervousness at some point. Following a Vata-pacifying diet is a great way to calm down and send the body a message that everything is going to be ok!

OK, so how do I begin?

Instead of eating mostly raw, crunchy, cold foods, focus on incorporating soft, warm, cooked organic vegetables. Soups, sautéed greens, baked yams, root veggies and porridge are all foods that calm, nurture and take the edge off. Non-processed, whole foods that are warm and wet will hydrate and nourish even the most frazzled among us. Take it from me; I’ve been using these guidelines for years and am quite pleased with the results.

What if I slip up?

No worries—if you have some coffee, or too much sugar and get freaked out, simply step up your water intake, and take a few deep, slow breaths. Flush out caffeine and other toxins with some herbal tea, hot veggie broth and lots of fresh, room temperature water with cucumber, mint and lemon.

Can I still eat junk food?

Come on now, we all know that junk can be fun in the moment, but if we are to raise ourselves up and vibrate on a higher frequency then junk food has got to hit the road. Avoid soda, candy, and anything with real or artificial sweeteners. Stick with real, whole foods. Eat mostly plants and keep your diet varied with many different colorful fruits and veggies, and you’ll feel amazing—inside and out!

It’s okay to get anxious; just know that you can ratchet it down by making simple changes to your diet. Ayurvedic guidelines are safe, easy and effective. For more info visit (where I share free Ayurvedic recipes and advice for stress and anxiety reduction). Here’s to a better, calmer you!



Anna Maria Giambanco
Anna Maria Giambanco is a blogger, esthetician and seasoned yoga instructor. She teaches and presents Ayurvedic skincare workshops at studios all over North America. Anna has worked for Martha Stewart, Coach and Guess which is all very fancy, but she prefers teaching yoga above all. Since 2002, she has trained to teach many modalities including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yoga Nidra and she's currently furthering her studies in Yin Yoga. Follow her @barrebellayoga on Instagram and check out her blog, where she shares tales of triumph and woe from the road.


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