Stress and anxiety is one of the biggest causes of major lifestyle and health diseases. Our busy schedules and hectic lives leave little time for relaxation, thus causing mental health issues and other worries. There are certain tweaks that can be made to the diet and lifestyle in order to keep stress at bay and experience an improvement in mental health. A new study offers some insights into the link between diet and mental health, and how certain foods can have a positive effect on our mood. According to this study, there is a clear connection between consumption of fermented foods and its impact on brain health or mental health.
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Are Fermented Foods Good For Brain Health?
Yes, fermented foods are good for brain health. Fermented foods have been a part of cuisines all over the world, that have various fermented products in their cuisines that are recommended for multiple reasons. Fermentation was originally intended to be a method of conservation, but now research suggests it can also have a positive impact on brain health or mental health. Click here to read.
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The Link Between Fermented Foods And Mental Health: Study Reveals
Researchers at University College Cork, Ireland worked on a study to find the link between fermented foods and mental health. The team is comparing data from over 200 fermented foods all over the world to study their impact on the brain. Ramya Balasubramanian explains that the study is currently in the preliminary stages, but the team is already surprised with the results. “I expected only a few fermented foods would show up, but out of 200 fermented foods, almost all of them showed the ability to exert some sort of potential to improve gut and brain health”.
But how does the science behind this work? As per the researchers, a healthy gut is directly linked to a healthier brain. Fermented foods endow the body with essential bacteria that keep the gut health intact that has a direct influence on mood and stress. “Fermented foods are a source of tryptophan, an amino acid key to the production of serotonin, a messenger in the brain which influences several aspects of brain function, including mood,” read the official website. Further, fermented foods contain neuro-transmitters or brain messengers which may help reduce stress.
Which Fermented Foods Can Be Added To The Diet For Better Mental Health?
Do all fermented foods have the same impact or are some of them more impactful? “Fermented sugar-based products and fermented vegetable-based products are like winning the lottery when it comes to gut and brain health”, explains Ramya. Thus, vegetable-based fermented foods are ideal for better mental health and overall well-being. This includes options like Kimchi salad and Kombucha tea. Although the study is yet to name the particular fermented foods, we have collated a list of some Indian fermented foods that you could consume to alleviate stress.
1. Dahi – This superfood is the key to good gut health and is typically made in Indian households by fermenting it fresh overnight.
2. Kanji – A vegetable-based fermented dish, it involves using carrots and fermenting them with mustard seeds and other eclectic spices.
3. Pickles – No Indian meal would be complete without pickles, whether they are fermented in vinegar or pickled in oil or salt.
4. Dosa or Idli – The humble South Indian cuisine has plenty of meal options that use fermented rice or dal batters in their making, including idli, vada dosa and more.
5. Dhokla – Dhokla is a delicous Gujarati snack that is steamed and made fluffy by the process of fermentation. Add it to your diet for better gut health!