Pickles are both an excellent ingredient in hamburgers and one of the weirdest, most frequent cravings of pregnant women. But did you know about the secret properties of those altered cucumbers? Pickles are not only great for your body in multiple ways, they also surprisingly can have an effect on your state of mind. Here’s how.
According to Smithsonian magazine, pickles can indirectly affect things like neurosis and anxiety. Matthew Hilimire from the College of William and Mary testifies to that effect: A study he co-authored experimented with the effect of fermented foods on social anxiety and neuroticism, and the results, chronicled for the National Center for Biotechnology Information, show that the foods did have an “anxiolytic effect.”
Because fermented foods are rich in probiotics, they have a positive influence on your digestive system. While it is not yet clear how this happens, scientists have nonetheless determined a healthier stomach leads to a healthier brain, with a significant decrease in shyness and anxiety-fueled thoughts. “In other words,” National Geographic’s Rebecca Rupp writes, “if you’ve got a case of social jimjams, eating a bowl of sauerkraut may be the equivalent of popping a Valium.”
This mental boost is not the only positive effect pickles and similar fermented foods have, either. The probiotics within strengthen the immune system and can allow your body to fight off illnesses more easily, the Washington Post reports. In addition, fermented dairy is a lot easier to digest for people who suffer from mild lactose intolerance.
A pickle a day may just be what you need if you’re feeling a little worried about that speech you have to give at your sister’s wedding, or that big meet-and-greet coming up at school. Either way, pickles are delicious, so there’s really no reason to hold back. Make sure to share this information with your friends and relatives on Facebook.
Credits: Wojciech Dziadosz via Shutterstock, Smithsonian magazine, Washington Post, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and National Geographic.