Study: Eating pickles, yogurt can reduce social anxiety

By Alixandra Caole Vila ( | Updated July 7, 2015 – 2:08pm

MANILA, Philippines –  A study published in Psychiatry Research claims social anxiety may be eased by eating fermented foods like pickles.

Social anxiety is defined by as the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness and feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated which, as a result, leads to avoidance.

To find out whether fermented foods can reduce social anxiety, 700 students were given questionnaires, asking them about how much fermented food have they eaten for the past 30 days. Results showed that young adults who eat more fermented foods have fewer social anxiety symptoms. They also exercise more.

Normally, our mental state affects the way our whole body functions. Hence, anxiety has pounding heart, sweating, shaking, blushing, muscle tension, upset stomach and diarrhea as its effects. The study made it rather clear that the gut-brain connection is strong and significant.  According to the study, the probiotics or good bacteria in our digestive tracts can send a message to the brain and dictate the way we feel. Probiotics found in fermented food lead to more production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a chemical messenger that functions like anti-anxiety medications.

The next time you feel the social jitters have some of these fermented food items to make sure you don’t pass out: Sauerkraut a.k.a. fermented cabbage, pickles, yogurt, miso, tempeh, fermented onions, atchara or  pickled jalapenos.

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