The cure for social anxiety? Pickles, astonished scientists discover

Researchers found that young adults who eat more fermented foods have fewer social anxiety symptoms

Christopher Hooton
Friday 19 June 2015 17:00
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If you're the kind of person who leaves the pickle on the side of the plate after finishing your burger, you may want to reconsider.

Research conducted by University of Maryland and published in the Psychiatry Research journal claims to have found a link between pickled foods and social anxiety.

Those that regularly ate pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut and more were found to have reduced 'neuroticism'.

The scientists were quite surprised to find that issues of mental health might be tied up in the stomach as well as the mind - calling it the 'mind-gut connection' (Descartes spins in grave).

"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 psychology professor Matthew Hilimire.

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

Anecdotally, picklebacks have done nothing for my anxiety, but maybe the whiskey's mitigating things.

The team is now examining data to see whether a correlation exists between fermented food intake and autism symptoms.

@christophhooton

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