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Jul 08, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
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.

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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.

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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.

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