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

One of the beavers released into England's Somerset county this January, which has now helped build the area's first dam in more than 400 years. Ben Birchall / PA Images via Getty Images

England's Somerset county can now boast its first beaver dam in more than 400 years.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Australia's dingo fences, built to protect livestock from wild dogs, stretch for thousands of miles. Marian Deschain / Wikimedia

By Alex McInturff, Christine Wilkinson and Wenjing Xu

What is the most common form of human infrastructure in the world? It may well be the fence. Recent estimates suggest that the total length of all fencing around the globe is 10 times greater than the total length of roads. If our planet's fences were stretched end to end, they would likely bridge the distance from Earth to the Sun multiple times.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Hopi blue corn is being affected by climate change. Abrahami / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Climate change is making ancient Hopi farming nearly impossible, threatening not just the Tribe's staple food source, but a pillar of its culture and religion, the Arizona Republic reports.

Read More Show Less
Pollution on the Ganges River. Kaushik Ghosh / Moment Open / Getty Images

The most polluted river in the world continues to be exploited through fishing practices that threaten endangered wildlife, new research shows.

Read More Show Less
Oil spills, such as the one in Mauritius in August 2020, could soon be among the ecological crimes considered ecocide. - / AFP / Getty Images

By Kenny Stancil

An expert panel of top international and environmental lawyers have begun working this month on a legal definition of "ecocide" with the goal of making mass ecological damage an enforceable international crime on par with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Read More Show Less