How It Works
While scientists aren’t 100 percent sure how probiotics combat depression, one belief is that they increase levels of plasma tryptophan — an essential amino acid necessary for the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, and niacin (mood boosters).
Meanwhile, a 2015 study of 45 healthy volunteers at Cambridge University discovered that a short course of “prebiotics” — a non-digestible dietary fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines — lessened participants emotional responses to negative stimuli (anxiety).
“Prebiotics are dietary fibers (short chains of sugar molecules) that good bacteria break down, and use to multiply,” Oxford neurobiologist and study lead, Dr. Philip Burnet, told The Huffington Post. “Prebiotics are ‘food’ for good bacteria already present in the gut. Taking prebiotics therefore increases the numbers of all species of good bacteria in the gut, which will theoretically have greater beneficial effects than [introducing] a single species.”
How to Get More Probiotics
Cheese – Some types of cheese, like gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese (mostly aged cheeses) are highly nutritious containing essentials vitamins and nutrients like protein, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and selenium.
Kefir – Is a fermented milk drink often considered a better source of live bacteria than yogurt – a great option for people who are lactose intolerant.
Kimchi – Contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus kimchii, as well as other “good” bacteria that may boost digestive health.
Pickles – When pickled in salty water (not vinegar) pickles boast a decent dose of vitamin K. Did I mention that they’re also low in calories?
Sauerkraut – This topper isn’t just rich in probiotics. But, it’s high in minerals and antioxidants such as fiber, vitamins C, B and K, sodium, iron, and manganese.
Yogurt – Is made from milk that’s been fermented with lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacterium.