Lillian Wilson

Anxiety-Free with Food by Liana Werner-Gray

Discover the powerful impact of nutrition on mental health with practical tips and tasty recipes from the book 'Anxiety-Free with Food.’

Anxiety-Free with Food

Approximately 18% of the population struggles with mild, moderate, or severe anxiety. And while there is a variety of factors that influence anxiety, the effect of food on our mental health should not be underestimated. The foods we consume have a direct impact on both our brain and body.

In her book ‘Anxiety-Free with Food,’ Liana Werner-Gray demonstrates how certain foods abundant in antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals can safeguard the brain and provide the necessary energy and vitality to conquer anxiety, mental fog, and fatigue.

Author’s background

Liana Werner-Gray is a certified nutritionist and natural food and healing chef, known for her passionate advocacy of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Liana Werner-Gray (r)

She is a successful author, having written three best-selling books on wholesome nutrition: ‘Cancer-Free with Food,’ ‘The Earth Diet,’ and ‘10-Minute Recipes.’ Liana serves as the resident health and nutrition coach at Complete Wellness NYC.

What is the book about?

In ‘Anxiety-Free with Food,’ the author guides readers on selecting foods that promote optimal brain function and foster positive thinking. The book is divided into two parts. The first one emphasises the connection between anxiety and nutrient deficiencies, with a particular focus on the beneficial effects of magnesium and omega-3 in calming the nerves. Engaging in enjoyable activities, including consuming wholesome and nourishing foods, is highlighted as a quick way to elevate important neurotransmitter levels like serotonin and dopamine.

Part II provides delicious anxiety-free recipes, including brain-boosting drinks, energising breakfasts and healing dinners as well as different recipes for soups and salads. The concluding chapter of the book offers a Seven-Day Guide for Living Anxiety-Free, aiming to free the reader’s body and mind from anxiety and toxic thoughts.

Throughout the book, the author encourages readers to adopt a realistic approach to nourishing their bodies, understanding that life is not about perfection but taking small steps towards well-being.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Neuroprotective Nutritional Strategies for Reducing Anxiety
  • Chapter 2 The Top 10 Foods to Reduce Anxiety
  • Chapter 3 Top Antianxiety Supplements
  • Chapter 4 The Most Neurotoxic Foods on the Planet
  • Chapter 5 The Food Upgrade Mindset for Living Anxiety-Free
  • Chapter 6 Kitchen Supplies and Conversion Charts
  • Chapter 7 Brain-Boosting Drinks
  • Chapter 8 Easy, Breezy Breakfasts
  • Chapter 9 Plant-Based Energizing Lunches and Healing Dinners
  • Chapter 10 Soul-Warming Soups, Super Salads, and Delicious Dressings
  • Chapter 11 Fun Sides, Savory Snacks, Sensational Sauces, and Life-Changing Condiments
  • Chapter 12 Meals for Fish and Meat Eaters
  • Chapter 13 Nutrient-Rich Desserts and Wholesome, Sweet Snacks
  • Chapter 14 Seven-Day Guide for Living Anxiety-Free
  • Metric Conversion Chart
  • Resources
  • Endnotes
  • Index
  • Index of Recipes and Ingredients
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author

Key takeaways from ‘Anxiety-Free with Food’

1Do not deprive yourself of your cravings, upgrade them instead

The book emphasises two distinct approaches to dealing with food cravings – the deprivation approach and the upgrade approach. While relying solely on willpower and deprivation may not be realistic or sustainable for many individuals, the upgrade approach offers a more balanced and fulfilling way to address cravings while promoting optimal wellness.

By upgrading the quality of foods consumed, individuals can enjoy the flavours they love while nourishing their bodies with nutrient-rich alternatives. This approach fosters a sense of empowerment, reducing guilt and stress, and ultimately leads to a state of greater harmony and balance. Whether it’s finding healthier versions of favourite treats or making dietary improvements one step at a time, the upgrade mindset proves to be a transformative tool in achieving overall well-being and managing anxiety effectively.

2Supporting the gut microbiome is crucial for thriving mental health

In ‘Anxiety-Free with Food,’ Liana Werner-Gray shares nutritional strategies for reducing anxiety. One of the principles emphasises the critical role of gut health in managing anxiety. The gut-brain axis, the biochemical relationship between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, plays a significant role in determining mood, energy levels, and overall well-being. Research highlights the connection between gut microbiome and anxiety, revealing that individuals with anxiety often have a different gut microbiome than those without.

Supporting a healthy microbiome is crucial as gut microbes contribute to synthesising vitamins, and neurotransmitters like serotonin, and play a pivotal role in digestion and nutrient absorption. To promote gut health, the book suggests incorporating prebiotics through complex carbohydrates, reducing simple carbohydrates, and consuming probiotic-rich foods and supplements. Research shows that regulating the microbiome can effectively improve anxiety symptoms, making this approach a promising avenue for anxiety management, especially for those who may not be suitable for conventional psychiatric drugs. Ultimately, nurturing a healthy gut can lead to improved mood, a calmer demeanour, and a happier, more peaceful state of mind.

3Not only is olive oil a brain booster but also an anxiety buster

Olive oil is a staple product in any healthy diet. What is more, it is also one of the anxiety-free foods as it offers numerous nutritional benefits for promoting mental well-being. Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants like oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and vitamin E, it plays a significant role in supporting brain health. Olive oil has been found to reduce anxiety-like responses by activating neurons that regulate serotonin, making it potentially helpful for those dealing with anxiety and PTSD. Additionally, it has neuroprotective effects and has been suggested as a therapeutic substance for treating depression.

To incorporate more olive oil into your diet, the author recommends using it as a base of salad dressing or using it for cooking foods at medium heat like stir-fried vegetables. If you are not fond of the taste of olive oil, alternative options include chopping up the leaves and adding them to salads or preparing stuffed grape leaves as commonly done in Mediterranean countries.

Overall rating & strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews

The book has gotten 3.67 ⭐️ on GoodReads.


  • Packed with practical tips and daily recommendations for managing anxiety through food and lifestyle choices.

  • References research studies and presents them in a clear and relatable manner, supporting the book’s claims with scientific evidence.

  • References research studies and presents them in a clear and relatable manner, supporting the book’s claims with scientific evidence.

  • An engaging writing style that keeps readers hooked and eager to learn more about the relationship between food and health.


  • Excessive promotion of various brand names for anxiety treatment may create scepticism about the authenticity and credibility of the recommendations.

Best quotes from ‘Anxiety-Free with Food’

“Always remember, especially with anxiety, that making some effort to feel better is better than doing nothing.”
“Coconut oil combined with exercise was shown in another study to ameliorate the effects of stress on anxiety. Researchers concluded that coconut oil can be especially helpful during the critical period of brain development.”
“Cacao releases those feel-good emotions in the body and brain. It also is an excellent source of good, healthy fats.”

Final takeaway

‘Anxiety-Free with Food’ by Liana Werner-Gray offers a valuable and practical resource for individuals seeking to manage anxiety through dietary and lifestyle changes. The book emphasises the profound impact of food on our mental health and well-being, providing a comprehensive guide to incorporating brain-boosting and anxiety-busting foods into our daily lives.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘Anxiety-Free with Food’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, audio and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.

Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, ‘Anxiety-Free with Food’ includes a variety of anxiety-free recipes, including brain-boosting drinks, energising breakfasts, healing dinners, soups, salads, and more.

Yes, the author of ‘Anxiety-Free with Food’ references research studies in the book, presenting the information in a clear and relatable manner to support the claims made.

No, while the book ‘Anxiety-Free with Food’ offers valuable insights and strategies, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance in managing anxiety or any mental health concerns.

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