The US National Library of Medicine suggests that fermented foods enriched with probiotics can help in reducing social anxiety.
Sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt, and other fermented foods help you relieve the symptoms of anxiety and general neuroticism. This was confirmed by several scientists and health experts. They believe that the stomach has an important role in the mental health.
In a study based on 700 students at the College of William and Mary, those who consumed a lot of fermented foods marked less social anxiety symptoms.
One professor explained that probiotics in fermented foods have the ability to affect the environment in gut, changing it in a way that affects social anxiety.
Scientists have long talked about the biological link between the guts and the brain. When it comes to anxiety, scientists say that friendly bacteria in fermented foods lower the level of a chemical called GABA. It is a neurotransmitter that provides an anti-anxiety effect. Friendly bacteria accumulates in the intestines and have a direct sedative and anti-anxiety effect.
The ecosystem in the intestines is different in everyone. It is hard to predict the amount of pickles that will provide a sedative effect. It is also hard to predict the level of “anti-anxiety” effect provided by these foods.
Dr. Matthew Hilimire, a professor of Psychology at William and Mary explains that probiotics increases GABA in animals. This has the effect of drugs, but in this case their bodies did actually produce GABA. Your own body becomes able to increase the neurotransmitter that fights anxiety.
Scientists have studied this effect on animals. Some studies have confirmed the link between probiotics and depression/anxiety. The manipulation of fermented foods has a direct effect on personality and social anxiety.
The group of scientists also confirm the link between GABA level in the brain and lower permeability and inflammation of the intestine. They discovered the lessening of negative gut reactions and consumption of fermented food.
When asked about the relationship between guts and brain, researchers explained that fermented foods that are commonly included in traditional dishes can affect the function of your brain in a way they affect your microbiota. This results in changes of your behavior.
The number of neurons in your gut is the same number of neurons in your spinal cord. This neuronal arrangement in your gut is called the enteric nervous system or your “second brain.” Your gut is able to react without communicating with your brain thanks to these neuronal firings.
The bacteria in your gut (microbiome) is affected by your age, genetic code, stress, and environment. The microbiome can communicate with your Central Nervous System (CNS) and influence your behavioral traits.
Probiotics can also lower the levels of cortisol, and make you pay less attention to negative information and more to the positive one.
In other words, your favorite pickles trigger a gut reaction that relieves stress and anxiety. Your gut has a “mind of its own,” and one that has the ability to influence your thoughts and behavior. Eating healthy will help you feel better, too.
Do you still need a reason to eat more pickles? Some people can’t stand their flavor, but truth is, this are great for your body and mind. This applies to those struggling with anxiety attacks. So, if you really want to prevent your next attack, just have a pickle or sauerkraut once in a while. It doesn’t require much effort or a total change of lifestyle. You just have to eat a pickle. That’s all.