Studies have shown that there is a relation between eating fermented foods and being socially anxious among young adults. The brilliant minds of William & Mary College and the University of Maryland conducted a survey of 700 college students regarding their habit of eating fermented foods and correlated it with a tool that determines anxiety levels.
The survey yielded astonishing results. It was published in the journal, Psychiatric Research. They found that students who ate more fermented foods showed lesser signs of anxiety than those who did not. The foods they ate included yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso soup, and kefir.
Although the results of the study are not yet conclusive, they do widen the door to the theory of gut-brain connection. The theory suggests that our physical and mental health are significantly affected by digestive bacteria. Probiotics, a kind of bacteria present in fermented foods, help develop a healthy gut and, therefore, a healthy mind.
In his book “Cooked,” Michael Pollan wrote a whole section about fermented foods and talked about the great benefits that “fermentos” have. These so-called “fernmentos” are great advocates of naturally fermented foods.
The best thing about this is fermented foods are readily available and easily accessible to everybody. You can immediately buy sauerkraut and pickles that contain probiotics, in stores. They are normally located in the refrigerated aisle. But before you purchase them, make sure that they fermented and that they contain probiotics. Just check if they are labeled “live cultures.” If you don’t have time to go to the store, you can even make whip up your own fermented foods. Just check The Oregonian/OregonLive offers for recipes on homemade sauerkraut and yogurt.