The Food That Can Potentially Help Social Anxiety, According To Research

Eating this snack can reduce your feelings of anxiety.

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It may be tough to handle, but there are ways of dealing with anxiety. Breathing exercises, getting all of your beauty rest, and staying away from coffee are all great ways to feel better, but if all else fails, maybe you should eat a pickle.

To help social anxiety you should eat this food, says research.

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Yep, PICKLES have been found to help when you're feeling nervous.

According to a study published in Psychiatry Research, fermented foods like pickles, have probiotics might help with social anxiety.

"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 W&M Psychology Professor Matthew Hilimire. "I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind."

The conclusions came from 700 college students who completed a questionnaire.


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The researchers designed a questionnaire that was included in a mass testing tool administered in the university's Introduction to Psychology courses during the fall 2014 semester; for the 700 students that participated. The questionnaire asked students questions about fermented food they had eaten over the previous 30 days, it asked about how frequently they exercised and their average consumption of fruits and vegetables. This was done so that the researchers could control for healthy habits outside of fermented food intake.

So, what's the connection?

"The main finding was that individuals who had consumed more fermented foods had reduced social anxiety but that was qualified by an interaction by neuroticism. What that means is that that relationship was strongest amongst people that were high in neuroticism," said Hilimire.


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Another finding from the study was that more exercise was related to reduced social anxiety.

Although the researchers were happy to see that their hypothesis about probiotics and anxiety was right, the study is just the first step to continuing to explore the mind-gut connection.

What other fermented foods can you snack on before you go into a particularly nerve-wracking situation? Kimchi and sauerkraut also have the same effect on people.

Although these results show a relationship between these types of foods and social anxiety, the study has yet to say they're 100 percent positive the foods are causing this. They want to further look into it and advise people to add fermented foods to their regimen, rather than forgo things like exercise.


We can't get enough of pickles, so this is good news for us. If a connection between fermented foods and anxiety is made soon, maybe pickles will replace SSRIs and medications. We can only hope.

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Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.