New Study Finds ‘Psychobiotic’ Foods Lower Stress and Improve Sleep

You may be aware of the fact that there are foods that can ruin your sleep. There are also foods you should avoid when you are stressed. On the other hand, a new study found that eating a “psychobiotic diet” can not only reduce stress but can also help you get a better night’s sleep.

October 2022 study published in Molecular Psychiatry involved 45 adults between the ages of 18 and 59 who typically consumed a low-fiber diet. While all participants met with a registered dietitian for counselling, researchers from APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork also divided participants into two groups instructed to eat different diets. The first turns to a diet that follows the food pyramid. The second group was asked to eat a “psychobiotic diet” that included large amounts of prebiotic and fermented foods. Dr. John Cryan, lead author of the study, told Medical News Today that his research team coined the phrase “psychobiotic diet” to refer to “targeted microbiota interventions that support mental health.”

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The second group was specifically instructed to follow a daily menu that included 2 to 3 servings of fermented foods (such as sauerkraut, kefir, or kombucha), 5 to 8 servings of whole grains, and 6 to 8 servings of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. prebiotics (including apples, bananas, cabbage, leeks, and onions). They were also asked to eat 3 to 4 servings of legumes per week.

The resulting findings showed that although both groups recorded an improvement in their sleep, participants who had taken the psychobiotic diet also experienced a decrease in the amount and intensity of stress they may have been experiencing at the time. Additionally, perceived stress levels decreased as participants followed the psychobiotic diet more closely.

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“The study provides promising benefits of what a psychobiotic diet can do in relation to digestion and stress,” Catherine Gervacio, RDregistered dietitian and contributor at Living Fit, tells Eat This, Not That! “Stress affects digestive health and can prevent the efficient absorption of nutrients needed to combat stress and other potential risks associated with it. More research is needed, but it provides further evidence of how important diet and nutrition are in managing stress and sleep.”

Although Gervacio says that “this type of diet still follows a healthy eating path and adheres to the recommended food intake,” he states that “people need to know, however, that all diets need to be carefully reviewed first if one can benefit more either of them—or there may be other diets that fit their health data and fitness goals.”

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Gervacio offers an example, pointing out that “someone who needs a low-histamine diet may not benefit from psychobiotic foods and may do well with Mediterranean instead.” That’s why he said that “it’s best to talk to an expert before starting a diet.”

Beyond that, Gervacio added, “Further studies have yet to be conducted to prove that probiotics contribute significantly to stress and sleep. Until then, everyone should focus on eating healthy, and practicing ways to combat stress and sleep.”

Desiree O

Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée


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