If you want to incorporate psychobiotics into your life, there are several ways to go about it, including probiotic supplements and incorporating fermented foods into your diet, according to Dr. Naidoo. Have yogurt rich in certain beneficial probiotics for breakfast or in a smoothie, use tempeh as a protein in savory meals, flavor foods with miso, and add kimchi or sauerkraut to sandwiches, salads, or side dishes. burgers are a few simple ways to increase daily probiotic intake, she says.
Research into probiotic foods, in addition to supplements, is ongoing. For example, a 2019 study of more than 26,000 people found that people who included probiotic foods in their diets had lower rates of depression than people who did not eat probiotic foods regularly.
Both Dr. Aggarwal and Dr. Naidoo are proponents of consuming probiotic foods for mental health, as well as other health benefits, including optimal digestion. “Probiotic supplements are more expensive than probiotic foods, and you have to eat them anyway,” says Dr. Naidoo. Some probiotic foods that contain potentially beneficial live organisms include:
- Pickled vegetables
Although probiotic supplements may have higher concentrations of good bacteria, both experts say the benefit of eating probiotic foods is that they also contain other important nutrients that benefit the brain, as well as the body in his outfit. Fiber, for example, can benefit the brain and heart and is found in fiber-rich probiotic foods like kimchi and pickled vegetables. The same goes for antioxidants, which are found in some probiotic foods, including kefir, tempeh, and pickles. Studies show that antioxidants benefit the brain by helping to prevent oxidative stress on brain cells.
Since probiotic supplements are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is important to research any probiotic supplement you are considering to ensure it is of high quality. Consumer Lab, Pharmacopeia, and NSF International are all online resources that independently test supplements, including probiotics.
“At the end of the day, what’s important is the study of one person: you,” says Dr. Aggarwal. He suggests taking a supplement daily for a month to see if it makes a difference. If you don’t notice a change, he suggests trying another probiotic supplement or focusing on probiotic foods instead.