Study finds eating pickles may reduce anxiety

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Whether you're a fan of pickles themselves or other pickled foods, recent research shows that fermented foods have some serious mental health benefits.

A recent William & Mary study shows that young adults who eat fermented foods are less likely to experience social anxiety. The findings came from researching the dietary habits of 700 college students, and they will be published in the August issue of Psychiatry Research.

The benefits from the probiotics in fermented foods seem to have the greatest effect on people who are at genetic risk for social anxiety disorder that is measured by neuroticism.

William & Mary Psychology Professor Matthew Hilimire said:

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

The main finding was that the students who consumed more fermented foods had reduced social anxiety, but it's important to note that those effects were qualified by an interaction that involved neuroticism. The study made it very clear that the relationship and correlation was strongest amongst people that were high in neuroticism.

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Study finds eating pickles may reduce anxiety

Delicious homemade pickles - seasoned with garlic and dill.

(Photo via Getty)

A cheeseburger with fries and a side of pickles.

(Photo via Getty)

(Photo via Shutterstock)

A Cuban sandwich is a variation of a ham and cheese originally created by Cuban workers, either in Cuba or in the immigrant community of Ybor City in Tampa Florida. Later, Cubans brought it to other communities in southern Florida, particularly Key West and Miami where it is very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread.

(Photo via Getty)

(Photo via Getty)

(Photo via Shutterstock)

This March 12, 2014 photo shows a vendor preparing raw herring with pickles and onions at one of Amsterdam's ubiquitous herring stands, in the Netherlands.

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A pile of sliced pickles is seen as cooks prepare orders at a diner in Philadelphia, Friday Aug. 1, 2003. Whether it is love or loathe, pickles for some reason can inspire passionate debate. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
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So maybe it's true: You really are what you eat. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!

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