Intestinal flora: Good for your stomach and head: Why you should eat fermented foods when you're stressed

John Mayer already knew: “Your body is a wonderland”.

Intestinal flora: Good for your stomach and head: Why you should eat fermented foods when you're stressed

John Mayer already knew: “Your body is a wonderland”. Sure, he had something more superficial in mind with this lyric. Nevertheless, he is essentially right. The human body is a wonderland, one that needs to be cared for and nurtured. The right diet plays a crucial role, as various studies have proven. If you want to keep your body strong, both physically and mentally, you pay attention to what you feed it. After all, you don't fill up a Ferrari with manure. Scientists from APC Microbiome Ireland now want to find out what should end up on the plate when times are particularly stressful again: fermented foods and fiber.

“Simply healthy with us” is the motto of a key topic in RTL Deutschland’s media from July 24th to 30th. On these days we want to explain what you can do for your body in an approachable, informative and everyday-oriented way.

Whether we feel good or not depends largely on our microbiome. The microbiome refers to all the microorganisms in our body, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Among other things, it influences our immune system, metabolism, but also our perception of stress. One reason for this could be the gut-brain axis. The two organs constantly communicate with each other. Can stress levels be reduced by changing your diet? The research team examined it. 45 people between the ages of 18 and 59 took part in the four-week study. All participants were healthy. During this time, half of the group ate a so-called psychobiotic diet, while the control group only received general nutritional recommendations.

The psychobiotic diet included fruits and vegetables high in prebiotic fibers such as bananas and cabbage, grains and legumes – several servings of each daily. On top of that, participants should eat fermented foods such as kefir and sauerkraut. After four weeks, a balance was drawn. And in fact, the participants who ate a psychobiotic diet as part of the study felt less stressed than those in the control group. The people who ate more of these foods during the study period experienced the greatest improvement. They also slept better than before.

Hans Hauner, professor of nutritional medicine at the Technical University of Munich, described our intestinal flora compared to “quarks” like a personal fingerprint. This forms very early in life, at birth and in the first few months afterwards. In adults, the intestinal biome is quite stable. So can the microbiome really be changed by a simple change in diet?

The scientists themselves speak of only subtle "changes in the composition and function of the microbes in the gut. However, we observed significant changes in the amount of certain key chemicals produced by these gut microbes." Only a few people took part in the study, and whether the observed effects can also be transferred across the board still needs to be researched. It is also unclear "whether these results can be repeated in people with stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression," the team writes.

By the way, if you don't feel like eating sauerkraut all the time for the sake of your health, you don't have to worry - chocolate, beer, cheese and yoghurt are also fermented foods.

Quellen:Neuroscience News, Cell, Quarks