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Eat a Pickle - Lead
Credit: Matt Armedariz

There are plenty of ways to deal with stress: meditate and breathe deeply, doodle in an adult coloring book, smell a ripe orange.

But have you tried eating a pickle?

Several new studies conducted at the University of Maryland and William and Mary have found that eating fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt may lessen social anxiety.

Here’s why: By eating a pickle, you’re filling your digestive system with helpful bacteria (called probiotics) that prompt the brain to produce stress-fighting hormones (called cortisol). In fact, some scientists even posit that fermented foods are high in GABA, the same chemical messenger triggered by anxiety drugs.

In other words, munching on a gerkin might have the same effect as popping a Valium.

Don’t suffer from anxiety? Pickles have a handful of other health benefits, and make for an electrolyte-rich hangover cure and great post-workout recovery food. Some women even swear by their ability to alleviate period cramps.

Better than chocolate? Better than Xanax? Color us intrigued.