HealthPickles aren't just tasty: Their surprising links to mood and brain health

Pickles aren't just tasty: Their surprising links to mood and brain health

Przygotuj ogórki po kaszubsku do słoików na zimę
Przygotuj ogórki po kaszubsku do słoików na zimę
Images source: © Adobe Stock

7:50 AM EST, January 12, 2024

Pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut enthusiasts are pretty standard, but the world of fermented food extends beyond them, encompassing products like kefir, kimchi, and the increasingly popular kombucha. After analyzing 200 types of fermented products worldwide, scientists identified the standout health benefits.

Probing pickles: A study led by British microbiologists

"Fermented foods, particularly those based on sugar and vegetables, are like winning a health lottery for both the gut and brain," declares Dr. Ramya Balasubramanian from University College Cork.

While fermented food is a staple in every culture, global products are gaining more recognition, as evidenced by the growing interest in kombucha and kimchi.

Improved mood through fermented products

So, what makes these pickles so popular? The appeal of fermented foods isn't just a fad; it's a path to improved health. We already know that diet significantly impacts mental health and involves more than just tantalizing taste buds.

Fermented foods are an excellent source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid for producing serotonin. This "happiness hormone" is a neurotransmitter that influences our mood and several aspects of brain function.

Moreover, many valuable compounds in pickles positively affect our brain's operation. Hence, the ingestion of fermented products can enhance our overall mood.

Finding the pickles that are most beneficial for the brain

After testing 200 food items globally, University College Cork's experts found the results astounding. Nearly all types of pickles positively impact the gut and brain. The top rankings, however, went to fermented products based on sugar and vegetables. Despite sugar's bad reputation, the fermentation process turns sugar substrates into metabolites that are beneficial to the body.

Given the numerous benefits, including pickles in your diet seems like a simple, natural way to maintain a healthy gut, uplift your mood, and add novelty to your meals.

Related content