Fermentation has been used to preserve food for at least 5000 years. Fermenting vegetables was a key survival technique that allowed people to move farther away from the ever-verdant tropics into regions of the world where they could only grow vegetables for part of the year-but, through fermentation, preserve the harvest for months thereafter.
Because fermentation kills pathogens, it has been a lifesaver-and a continuing source of nourishment for the microbiota. Refrigeration may be a marvel technology, but it has also displaced fermented foods from our diets, with unfortunate consequences. Thankfully, fermented foods are still abundantly available.
Almost any food can be fermented or pickled, just by encouraging the growth of probiotics residing on its surface. Pickling is fermentation by another name, in which salt and lack of oxygen discourage unwanted pathogens for bacteria, usually Lactobacillus species, to grow unimpeded. Pickles can be made for example of fruit as well as vegetables, including mangoes, cucumbers, lemons and watermelon. Other well known fermented products include tempeh, miso, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.
Every culture has its own cultures, all of which has probiotic effects and sometimes, psychobiotic effects.
SO what is the connection between fermented foods are mood?
Psychobiotics include a novel class of microorganisms that convey benefit upon the host's mental health via the dynamic microbiota-gut-brain crosstalk. The potential use of fermented foods as source of psychobiotics is gaining popularity among consumers for its possible therapeutic function on the brain. Gut microbes can regulate the expression of central neurotransmitter, related receptors and synthesise neurotransmitters. Gut bacteria influence behaviour, and both depression and anxiety symptoms are directly associated with alterations in the microbiota.
As our knowledge of the human microbiome increases, including its connection to mental health (for example, anxiety and depression), it is becoming increasingly clear that there are untold connections between our resident microbes and many aspects of physiology. With some exceptions depending on the individual-adding more fermented foods to your diet will help support mood and mental health.
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