Eating a Psychobiotic Diet May Help You Feel Calmer

A recent study connects food with feelings of wellbeing.

A mother and daughter have fun preparing vegetables, an important food in a psychobiotic diet.

(ShineTerra /

If you are feeling calm and relaxed, it could be the food you are eating. Loading up your plate with fresh fruit, veggies, and fermented foods may go further than improving your physical health; it also does wonders for your state of mind.

An October 2022 study , published in Molecular Psychiatry, shows that eating a psychobiotic diet may help reduce stress levels. Those microbes in our bodies may be tiny, but they are abundant. 

Microbiologist Ignacio López-Goñi told El País, that we are half human and half bacterium, with the body having an equal amount of human cells as microbes. While one percent of our genome is inherited, 99 percent hails from microbes.

Such facts have scientists further exploring this powerful fact. Although they have researched the connection between the gut microbiome and depression, the Molecular Psychiatry study has honed in on the gut microbiome and anxiety. 

Eating a Psychobiotic Diet
In the study, researchers looked at 45 adults with more than half being women, half of whom followed a psychobiotic diet for four weeks, reported Gut News.  The diet consisted of six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits a day which are high in prebiotic fibers. These included cabbage, apples, onions, leeks, bananas, and oats. Participants ate five to eight servings of grains a day, plus three to four servings of legumes a week.

The diet also included two to three servings of fermented foods daily, such as kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. The control group ate healthy food based on the food pyramid.

When researchers compared participants’ microbial profile and mental health, they discovered that the psychobiotic group had a marked reduction in perceived stress. In addition, both groups experienced better sleep, with the psychobiotic group reporting even greater sleep improvements.

Digestive Disorders and Anxiety
This study reveals a tight connection between anxiety and gut health. In fact, people  with digestive disorders tend to have anxiety, according to Optimal Living Dynamics, a company that provides brain and mental health solutions. 

It stands to reason that people with anxiety often have a higher incidence of gastrointestinal disorders. But the study suggested that once these digestive disorders improve, so does the anxiety. This can provide a new therapeutic avenue for people  who may be resistant to traditional methods.

A whole dietary approach is accessible to most. So if you are feeling a little anxious, think about what you just ate, then plan ahead for a calming psychobiotic meal. Your gut and improved sense of well being will thank you!

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