And fermented foods may be one way to do just that.
A recent study of 700 uni students revealed that people who eat fermented foods have far fewer symptoms of social anxiety.
What is social anxiety?Social anxiety (also known as social phobia) is a disorder that affects how we socialise. It may cause us to avoid social situations altogether – and if we do meet and mingle, it can make us awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassed. Especially if we display obvious symptoms such as shaking hands and sweating.
In this way, social anxiety can have a big impact on how we live our lives and relate to others. It can become so severe that we avoid doing the things we need to do to live a healthy, productive life – such as go to work, university, or important social functions.
What are fermented foods?Fermented foods are – as you might expect – foods that have gone through a natural lactofermentation process. This is when bacteria feast on the sugars and starch in food, turning it into lactic acid. As a result, the food is preserved – and presents you with a good healthy dose of probiotics.
Probiotics are key to maintaining good gut health.
Fermented foods include beer (not so nutritious), yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and sauerkraut.
The link: fermented foods and anxiety
In this study, participants recorded their fermented food intake. They also shared their physical activity habits and other lifestyle factors.
The students who ate more fermented foods also had fewer social anxiety symptoms. And while working out also helped reduce anxiety, fermented foods were observed to be working independently.
If you’d like to add more fermented foods to your diet, a dietician or nutritionist can give you plenty of pointers.