There’s some great news for the world’s pickle lovers. Recent research seems to indicate that pickles and other fermented foods and drinks have some important health benefits. So next time you’re craving a crisp and salty snack, go ahead and dive right into that pickle jar for a delicious, salty, sour-tasting cucumber!
It’s one thing to hear that pickles are harmless, but how can they be actively good for you? Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found hard evidence that the bacteria that live in our digestive system are directly linked to brain chemistry and behavior. In other words, those trillions of microscopic bacteria in your gut play an important role in mental health and well-being. Meanwhile, scientists at the College of William and Mary in Virginia discovered that young adults who ate plenty of fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, and various other pickled vegetables) actually experienced less social anxiety than those who didn’t. There’s a connection we can make between these two studies. Fermented foods like pickles are a major source of probiotics which promote the growth of healthy, beneficial bacteria in our gastrointestinal tracts. If we can get the bacteria in our guts to be healthy and balanced, we’ll see a payoff in our mental well-being.
So unlikely as it might have seemed, eating more pickles and other fermented foods will boost your mental health and improve your social life. Research into this subject is ongoing, but it may be that in the near future, a doctor treating anxiety will say, “Eat two pickles and call me in the morning,” rather than immediately prescribing pills.
Nutritionist Barbara Mendez has made an interesting video on this subject and we’ve posted it below for you. Let us know what you think in the Facebook comments and be sure to like and share!