A research study put forward a probable link between social anxiety in young adults and fermented foods.
The College of William & Mary in Virginia and the University of Maryland researchers asked around 700 college students regarding their consumption of fermented foods and utilized an established testing tool to weigh their levels of social anxiety.
The published survey in the Psychiatry Research journal revealed that students who eat more fermented foods, like pickles, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, , kimchi, miso soup, tempeh in the past 30 days yielded less symptoms of social anxiety.
Even if the findings do not point to a conclusive link, the study reveals the relatively new concept of the gut-brain connection, the idea that the digestive bacteria of the body impacts our physical and mental health.
And the bacteria, called probiotics, in fermented foods are presumed to help promote a healthy gut, by association of a healthy mind.
“The Omnivore’s Dilemma” author, Michael Pollan, dedicates a whole section of his recent book, “Cooked,” to fermented foods and discourses their benefits with so-called “fermentos”, strong proponents of naturally fermented foods.
Pickles and sauerkraut with probiotics are available in grocery stores, found in the refrigerated aisle. But not all pickles are fermented, and not all types of sauerkraut have the bacteria, so the label needs to be checked for “live cultures.”