Do you ever find yourself feeling calm and relaxed after consuming an ice cream or a bag of chips when you’re feeling tense? It happens because some foods have the potential to elevate your mood and manage stress levels. After all, some healthy foods are packed with essential nutrients that improve mental health. While there are several foods to reduce stress, but have you heard about psychobiotic foods? A recent study noes that psychobiotic foods are also good for mental wellness.
HealthShots reached out to Deepti Lokeshappa, Senior Consultant, Nutritionist, and Dietician, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bengaluru to understand how psychobiotic foods can help lower stress.
What are psychobiotic foods?
Psychobiotics is the term for the use of probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods for mental wellness. “Psychobiotics are described as live bacteria and yeasts that, when consumed in adequate amounts, give a benefit to mental health,” explains Lokeshappa. They aim to assist in the treatment of various mental health conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Psychobiotic foods are good for reducing stress! Here’s why
A recent study published in the journal Nutrients suggests that consuming certain psychobiotic foods can reduce stress and improve sleep quality. The study involved 40 healthy adults who were randomly assigned to either a psychobiotic-rich or a placebo group. The psychobiotic group consumed a daily supplement containing Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, while the placebo group received a non-probiotic supplement.
The results showed that participants who consumed the psychobiotic supplement experienced a significant decrease in perceived stress levels compared to the placebo group. They also reported better sleep quality and cognitive function. In contrast, the placebo group did not show any significant changes in these parameters.
Hence, psychobiotic play a specific role in lowering abnormal behaviours, reducing negative emotions, and enhancing cognitive function. They also have a significant potential to reduce psychological stress.
A few psychobiotic foods for better mental health
There are a number of health benefits of consuming probiotics and prebiotics that go beyond maintaining physical health. The results of the research so far are promising, and it is expected that psychobiotics will become more important for your overall health, including mental wellness.
Probiotics and fermented foods are quite similar. Probiotics aren’t present in all fermented meals, though. Yet, the majority of fermented foods are also probiotic foods.
Fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, cottage cheese, buttermilk, and sauerkraut, which are also high in probiotics, are some examples of foods high in psychobiotics. These foods contain live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can colonize the gut and improve its function. Garlic, onions, and asparagus are examples of prebiotic foods that can aid in the development of good gut bacteria.
Including foods high in psychobiotics in your diet may provide a healthy and effective way to reduce stress and enhance the quality of your sleep. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and identify the optimal strains and dosages of psychobiotics for mental health benefits.