A pickle a day may keep anxiety away! Psychology researchers at William & Mary and University of Maryland recently reported in Psychiatry Research that eating fermented foods can help reduce social anxiety symptoms.
While researchers have fascinating hypotheses as to why fermented foods can influence emotions, including the gut-brain theory (which conjectures healthy microflora are essential for normal mood regulation), Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a far simpler explanation. It’s one that has long been used in the TCM equivalent of mind-gut psychology.
Each of the five major tastes – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter — correspond energetically to a different internal organ, each of which in turn regulates the expression of a particular emotion. When an organ’s energy is out of balance, its corresponding emotion tends to predominate a person’s recurring mood patterns.
The taste of sour, found in most fermented foods, stimulates the functioning of the Liver, the organ that is most sensitive to and energetically processes stress, tension, and emotional turmoil. Stronger Liver function results in improved emotional equilibrium and flexibility, even during stressful situations.
Most fermented foods are salty as well – salt is the taste associated with Kidney function, which in turn energetically regulates fear. Because social anxiety is often fear-based, balancing and strengthening the Kidney with salted foods can also help modulate anxious feelings.
The moral of mind-body-spirit and TCM psychology: you are what you eat, and on a higher level, you are what you think, but what you think can also be influenced by what you eat!
To further support your Kidney function and rebuild your energy, join our winter Soup Cleanse from January 10-17. Click here to read more!
Need help on how to reduce anxiety with what we eat.
What aspect of eating is concerning to you? We teach folks how to listen to their intuition when choosing daily meals. As a guide, eat whole foods like fresh fruits and sauteed vegetables. Mostly enjoy what you eat.