Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

5 Reasons You Should Eat Probiotic-Rich Fermented Foods

Food
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.

A new study finds you may be able to soothe your anxiety with fermented foods.
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

Should I Be Concerned About Arsenic in My Rice?

Does Greek Yogurt Live Up to All its Hype?

7 Things You Should Know About the Health Benefits of Aloe Water

Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
Trending
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less
The brown pelican is seen on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana in March 2021. Casey Wright / LDWF biologist

Who says you can't go home again?

Read More Show Less