You have probably heard once or twice that probiotics – the healthy bacteria – are good for you. If you did some research, you may have even found out the mainstream reason why, which is it helps with digestion, including processing nutrients. But that’s not all.
According to a new study conducted at University College Cork, your gut microbes can have a direct, physical effect on the brain, helping to regulate its responses. These gut microbes we get from dairy cultures and other “live” foods assist in the production of myelin, “a fatty substance which wraps itself around nerve fibres, preventing leakage of electrical current and facilitating the conductance of nervous impulse”. The process of myelination, the active process of myelin wrapping around the axons, is crucial for brain development, maturation as well as daily functions such as responses.
While this research is in its primary stages, we are not surprised that developing healthy gut microbiome can help regulate mood and behavior. After all, who doesn’t feel ready to conquer the day after some Greek yogurt?
Here is a list of probiotic foods you can start adding to your diet today:
- Yogurt. Be aware that not all yogurts are created equal. Choose the one with live cultures and low or no sugar. Greek yogurt is often a great choice!
- Kefir. Are you lactose intolerant? Many people with this issue can still drink kefir, a fermented milk drink. As with yogurt, be careful to choose a product that is low in sugar.
- Sauerkraut. Probiotics and antioxidants all in one delicious side-dish.
- Miso. Yep, your favorite Japanese soup can help regulate gut microbes. Miso is a fermented soybean paste and has been linked to lowering the risk of cancer and stroke in women.
- Kimchi. Think sauerkraut, but with spicy Korean flavors! It is made of fermented cabbage, which is a great source of probiotics.