Can Fermented Foods help with Social Anxiety?

fermented foodsA possible conenciton has been found between the health of a person’s gut and levels of social anxiety they experience. A study was recently conducted to look into a mind-gut connection, and to see if social anxiety levels could be reduced by eating fermented foods that create a healthy gut.

There are many fermented foods, including sour milk, which many people find hard to stomach, but other foods in this category include:
– Natural sauerkraut
– Korean Kimchi
– Pickled cucumbers
– Pickled garlic
– Pickled beetroot
– Pickled radish
– Pickled corn relish
– Natto

Many of these you can make by yourself at home and are extremly easy to do so. In fact, many cultures through the ages have developed their own fermented foods for health but also for longevity of foods.

Not many studies have been conducted looking at the mind-gut connection and researches are no thinking that the gut plays a key role in mental health.

What the study found was young adults who eat more fermented foods have fewer social anxiety symptoms. The greatest being people with a genetic predisposition for social anxiety.

The journal who published this stud stated:

“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 Hilimire. “I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.”

The main finding of the study found that increasing the level of fermented foods eaten decrease the levels of social anxiety experienced. This helps build on previous research conducted over the last few years that increasingly finds links between nutrition and mental health.

Sources of this article on Fermented Foods

Matthew R. Hilimire, Jordan E. DeVylder, Catherine A. Forestell. Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model. Psychiatry Research, 2015; 228 (2): 203 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.04.023