Fermented foods and fiber may lower stress levels: Study

2022-10-31 19:24:34
Fermented foods and fiber may lower stress levels: Study

A new study has shown that eating more fermented foods and fiber daily for just four weeks had a significant effect on lowering perceived stress levels.

Scientists from University College Cork in Ireland recruited 45 adults and split them into two groups. Around half received a month-long "psychobiotic" diet, which is designed specifically to invigorate a person’s gut bacteria, known as the microbiome, and included two or three servings a day of fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir.

This diet also includes up to eight servings daily of fruits and vegetables high in prebiotic fibres (such as onions, leeks, cabbage, apples, bananas and oats) as well as up to eight portions of grains a day and four servings of legumes per week.

Participants in the control diet were given general food guidance but not placed on any tailored nutritional program.

Questionnaires tracked a person’s mental health and their “perceived stress”, which is different to their biological stress but includes how they are feeling.

In the control group 17 per cent of participants saw a reduction in their perceived stress levels, but this figure was almost double (32 per cent) for the fermented foods cohort.

In their study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the team found 40 chemicals that were affected by the change, which may be behind the mental health benefits.

The study offers exciting evidence that an effective way to reduce stress may be through diet. It will be interesting to know if these results can also be replicated in people suffering from stress-related disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

It also adds further evidence to this field of research, showing evidence of an association between diet, our microbiome and our mental health.


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