Stressed-out foodies seek comfort in probiotics

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  • Today’s health-conscious consumers are keen on foods with additional perceived health benefits, and probiotics have been no exception to that rule. A group of scientists work now suggests that healthy gut bacteria (aided by probiotics) may not only play a role in digestion but in boosting and regulating mood as well.
  • Researchers involved with the Human Microbiome Project have discovered that the human digestive system contains a multitude of micro-organisms that produce some of the exact same chemicals that regulate mood: dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid.
  • Another study surveyed 710 college-aged students about their eating habits and found that participants who regularly ate fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and kefir experienced lower rates of social anxiety than their peers, even when controlling for other health-related factors like frequency of physical exercise.
  • The prevalence of probiotic supplements may indicate consumers’ desire for a healthy gut without a funky taste. But for committed home cooks, probiotic-rich foodscan be easily made in the kitchen. As an added benefit, fermented foods have an extra-long shelf life.

Balanced Healthy POV:

  • People want food with both physical and psychological benefits. What’s interesting is now people are starting to think about food by what benefits they add versus what they take out. For example, people are seeking out foods that are fortified with calcium, are made with real ingredients, have probiotics, or are mood-boosting opposed to searching for foods with no fat, low-carbs, or less sugar.
  • Probiotics are becoming more mainstream among health-conscious consumers. Some people choose to eat natural foods with added benefits and incorporate them in their diet, but for others, this might not be as easy. However, that doesn’t mean they are out of options. Probiotic supplements make it easier for consumers to add the benefits of probiotics to any meal they make without being forced to eat foods they might not enjoy. This opens up the benefits of probiotics to the masses versus just catering to that niche group who is willing to change their diet.


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