5 Reasons You Should Eat Probiotic-Rich Fermented Foods
The best way to prevent anxiety—and the stress-induced bellyache that comes along with it—may be to balance your gut bacteria. Eating probiotic-rich fermented foods is associated with less social anxiety, according to a new study published in Psychiatry Research.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Plus, this held true even for individuals who may be genetically predisposed for anxiety. The researchers explained that phobias seem to be hereditary, suggesting a genetic component. They measured this with the personality trait of neuroticism (a personality trait characterized by instability, aggression and anxiety). In the study, individuals who rated high for neuroticism had fewer social anxiety symptoms if they ate more fermented foods.
One way your gut talks to your brain is through the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). "As far as gut-brain communication is concerned, your HPA axis is an interstate freeway," says Gerard Mullin, MD, author of The Gut Balance Revolution.
Dr. Mullin explains the major players in this complex system:
• The hypothalamus is part of your brain.
• The pituitary gland controls several hormones.
• Your adrenal system governs your body's stress response.
How does your gut get involved? Dr. Mullin points out that initial research with rats has found that a healthy microbiota early in life is critical for their HPA development. "If this turns out to be true of humans as well, we'll know that your microbiota have a far wider influence over your health than we originally thought," he says.
And we do know that an imbalanced HPA axis can lead to an exaggerated stress response and altered neurotransmitters and brain hormones. "This may be one of the reasons why mood disorders such as depression and anxiety and even autism have been tied to [microbial imbalance] and why administering probiotics helps improve these conditions," he says.
In addition to eating probiotic foods—like kefir, sauerkraut, fermented miso and kimchi—Dr. Mullin recommends eating non-digestible carbs (aka fiber) to support good gut bacteria. His picks are bananas, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus and leeks.
"This class of fiber is so important because your gut bugs love to eat these fiber-rich and fermentable carbs, and when they get them, they send out 'happy' messages encouraging your body to produce these chemicals in the right amounts," he says.
While this study doesn't prove a causational link between fermented foods and social anxiety, it does add to the research supporting that a healthy brain starts in the gut because of the gut-brain axis.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Robin Scher
Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.
- Can Urban Farms Prevent Hunger in 54 Million People in the U.S. ... ›
- New Report Finds Malnutrition World's Top Killer Amid Pandemic ... ›
- Oxfam Warns 12,000 Could Die Per Day From Hunger Due to ... ›
- Three Ways to Support a Healthy Food System During the COVID ... ›
- Trump USDA Resumes Effort to Cut Food Stamp Benefits - EcoWatch ›
- Pandemic Threatens Food Security for Many College Students ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.
- 15 Top Conservation Issues of 2021 Include Big Threats, Potential ... ›
- How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy - EcoWatch ›
By David Drake and Jeffrey York
The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.
The Big Idea
People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.
- Major Milestone: More than 100,000 MW Worth of Coal-Fired Power ... ›
- Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and ... ›
- Renewables Beat Coal in the U.S. for the First Time This April ... ›