Fermented foods reduce social anxiety: Study


Ready to overcome your social awkwardness? Eat a bowl of sauerkraut and face the world!

The microorganisms in fermented food such as pickles, kimchi, pickles, and yogurt may alleviate social anxiety, according to a study that will be published in the August issue of Psychiatry Research. Researchers at the University of Maryland and the College of William & Mary in Virginia found that these beneficial bacteria increase production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that counterbalances other neurotransmitters involved with anxiety disorders.

"It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favourably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety," said Professors Matthew Hilimire, assistant professor of psychology at William & Mary. "I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind."

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Image: "I forgot to eat my natto." Shutterstock