Lots of people mistake anxiety for excitement. They mean to say “I’m excited for…” but they say “I’m anxious for…” Excitement, it seems, in our lives is a little more fleeting. Anxiety usually takes its toll for days, or worse.
Social anxiety is defined as the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness and feeling of being negatively judged and evaluated. This leads people to not want to take part in the finer things in life.
Relationships. Friendships. Concerts, carnivals, theatres, BBQs. The outdoors. If these conjure up negative images for you, you might be considered to suffer from social anxiety. A study, published in Psychiatry Research wanted to draw parallels between fermented foods and social anxiety.
700 students were given questionnaires about their eating habits, specifically regarding fermented foods. They were asked, amongst other things, how much fermented food they’d eaten in the past 30 days. The results show those who ate more fermented foods had fewer symptoms of social anxiety. There was also a correlation to exercise: those who ate more fermented foods seemed to exercise more.
I think this is an important variable because exercise is a good way to loosen up (so to speak) and to get blood flowing. Feeling energized is an important and easy way to have a more positive outlook.
Be Pro Pro-biotic
Our mental state affect our entire bodies. Anxiety causes a quickly racing heartbeat, a flop sweat, a rush of blood to the face (flushed or blushing), your muscles tighten, your intestines tighten and your system receives the shock. The study puts a strong emphasis on the strength of the gut-brain connection.
According to the study, the good bacteria (probiotics) in our digestive tracts helps dictate how we feel by sending a message to our brains. The probiotics in fermented foods help to produce GABA – gamma-aminobutyric acid – a chemical messenger.
GABA isn’t an essential nutrient, but is often called-for and used therapeutically in cases of anxiety, stress, insomnia, and hypertension. GABA works similarly to antidepressant and antianxiety drugs, only it is all natural.
So when you feel tense or wound-up, or if your insides are quaking at the thought of some social event, reach for a pickle:
5 Foods Better For Anxiety Than Meds
Naturally fermented sauerkraut contains lactic acid and probiotics that help you digest, and help to ease an irritated or upset stomach, a symptom of anxiety. As long as it’s raw and natural, sauerkraut is very healthy for your gut-health and overall health.
Full of healthy minerals and vitamins A, Bs, C, D, E, K, and folate, pickled cucumbers are a great tasting fermented food. They are naturally full of antioxidants and help maintain a healthy liver. Another fermented food full of gut-friendly probiotics.
A fermented Indonesian food, tempeh is similar to tofu but with more health benefits. Good for the cardiovascular system, fighting cancer, and full of vitamin K and gut-friendly probiotics, tempeh may take more preparation than pickles, but might be worth it.
A Korean fermented cabbage dish, kimchi helps with more than just probiotics. Kimchi lowers your cholesterol and helps promote a healthy stomach, helping with digestion and staving off ulcers and stomach cancer.
If you reach for fermented onions you won’t be thinking of the crowds or your social anxiety anymore – but you may want to grab a stick of gum. The strong smell means the fermentation worked to make fermented onions part of your healthy gut (and healthy heart) tool-belt.