1. Home
  2. Health & Lifestyle

Studies Indicate Eating More Fibre & Fermented Food Helps Reduce Stress

Did you know that there is an actual link between your food and the quality of the food you eat? Scientists have discovered that the good bacteria present in our gut make a huge impact on our behaviour and brain chemistry.

Aarushi Chadha
Many aspects of our urban diet, such as processed foods, sweeteners, excessive salt, emulsifiers, and preservatives negatively impact the composition of our microbiome.

Turns out common phrases such as ‘gut instincts’ and ‘feeling butterflies in our stomachs’ have some truth behind them. Recent studies show that the microbiome in our gut can have a huge impact on our brain chemistry and overall behaviour. This is because our microbiome is very sensitive and things like environment, stress, antibiotics, and diet can affect it.

Many aspects of our urban diet, such as processed foods, sweeteners, excessive salt, emulsifiers, and preservatives negatively impact the composition of our microbiome. This dilemma made Irish neurologist John Cryan and his colleagues wonder- if our poor diet can negatively affect the microbiome and then our brain, then maybe enriching our biome will have a positive effect on mental health.

Psychobiotic Diet Study

Cryan and colleague Ted Dinan, a psychiatry professor at Cork, had previously come up with the term ‘psychobiotic’ to define dietary interventions that would target the microbiome and have positive effects on mental health. Cryan and his team then set out to prove that a psychobiotic diet could exist.

He says, “We brought people in and we either gave them some normal dietary advice or we got them to change their diet completely to this psychobiotic diet, really ramping up the fiber and fermented foods.” He adds, “What we found was that there was a reduction in their feelings of stress, in their overall mood-related readouts and their sleep also improved.”

Their experiment showed that the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids which are naturally found in fish and flaxseeds, polyphenols present in berries, olives, and soybeans, and fibre-rich foods and fermented food in our diet can improve our mental health. The study also indicated that there was a direct correlation between the participant’s perceived stress levels and how strictly they adhered to their diet.

What is fibre?

Fibre is an incredibly important part of our diet. It is technically an indigestible type of carbohydrate that leaves our stomach undigested and ends up in our colon where it feeds healthy gut bacteria. Fibre-rich foods include pears, strawberries, apples, raspberries, bananas, beets, broccoli, and brussels sprout, amongst many other.

Fibre offers many health benefits. For instance, it reduces the risk of colon cancer. It promotes blood sugar control as our body takes longer to break down fibre-rich food. Fibre stimulates our intestines and promotes regular bowel movement. Fibre’s present in the digestive tract reduces our body’s cholesterol absorption. It also keeps us full for longer, thereby, promoting a healthy weight.

What is fermented foods?

Fermentation is an ancient technique for preserving food. Fermented foods are foods or beverages that are produced via controlled microbial growth, along with the conversion of food components through enzymatic action. Popular fermented foods include yogurt, wine, cheese, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

The process of fermentation promotes the growth of probiotics, beneficial bacteria that is linked with improving the immune system, heart health, and digestive system. Fermented foods have several health benefits. For instance, fermented food helps break down the nutrients present in food, which makes them easier to absorb.

Fermentation also breaks down and destroys antinutrients (antinutrients are compounds that interfere with the absorption of nutrients) present in seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts. Eating fermented food regularly is linked with lowering the risk of heart disease since probiotics reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Probiotic strains found in fermented food, such as Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium Longum, are linked with a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters