Those who suffer from shyness can get some relief from their social anxiety through eating foods that have undergone a specific prep process. Research has found the probiotic content found in fermented foods can increase the body’s production of a chemical that lessens anxiety. The discovery is one more proof that you are what you eat. Included is a recipe, so you can learn how to make fermented food at home.
People with social anxiety have a persistent fear of social situations. It is a common anxiety disorder that causes them to have difficulty in meeting strangers and speaking in a group.
In years past, psychologists have focused on the mind in endeavoring to help people with mental health disorders. Now, they are finding the gut also plays an important role. The findings below, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, are the latest in a body of studies that explore the connection between the mind and gut.
“Microorganisms in the Gut Influence Your Mind”
In the research at the University of Maryland and the College of William & Mary in Virginia, scientists quizzed 700 students on how much fermented or probiotic foods they consumed. Those who ate the most yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso soup and pickles reported less social anxiety symptoms. The benefit was greatest among students with a genetic risk for social anxiety, which was assessed by neuroticism.
“It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety,” said researcher Matthew Hilimire. “I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.”
The authors believe the beneficial or “good” bacteria in fermented foods boost the body’s production of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which acts similarly to anti-anxiety drugs. Since the body’s increased GABA is attained in a drug-free manner, people get much of the same benefits of the medications without any of the side effects or dangers, Hilimire indicated.
It’s important to note that not all pickles and sauerkraut in supermarkets contain probiotics. In fact, most of the pickles are made with vinegar and have not been fermented. The ones with probiotics are usually found in the refrigerated section, but check the labels to see if they have live cultures.
While the primary discovery was the connection between fermented foods and reduced social anxiety, a second discovery was made. In addition to asking the students about their diet, the study’s authors also asked about their exercise frequency. They found increased exercise correlated with decreased social anxiety.
Looking for a way to make fermented foods at home? Here’s a great recipe, plus a step-by-step guide to fermenting at home:
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.