Many of us turn to a bottle of scotch and the third season of the X-Files—isn't "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" just the best? Peter Boyle was the man—when feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders, but turns out we can banish anxiety in a more homeopathic way: by eating pickles. A study out of the University of Maryland and published by Science Daily has shown that the consumption of fermented foods like pickles and kimchi and sauerkraut have been linked to reduced anxiety levels in the young adults who ate them. Turns out the foodstuffs that make your office smell like the inside of a locker room are the very same things keeping those colleagues who eat them cool, calm and collected.
The researchers asked students at the university's Psych 101 course to answer a questionnaire about their eating and exercise habits, as well as their anxiety levels and stressors in their lives. The resulting data showed that students who both ate more fermented foods and were also confronted by more neuroticism had reduced social anxiety. So...if you've already got a crazy roommate, best to start stockpiling kosher dills in your fridge.
Since the study was conducted without an experimental phase, scientists can't make a "causative connection" about pickle consumption, but it can't hurt, right? "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," explains W&M Psychology Professor Matthew Hilimire. "I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind."