Probiotics reduce anxiety, improve training
Strenuous competition increases chances for psychological disorders, which probiotics may help prevent, leading to a new field of study, “psychobiotics.” In this first-of-its-kind study, 20 competitive football players, aged 18 to 21, took a beverage placebo or lactobacillus casei Shirota at 3 billion colony-forming units per day.
At four weeks, doctors used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain waves and found, compared to placebo, those taking probiotics had significant changes in theta (relaxation) and delta (attention) brain waves. The probiotic group also exhibited greater sustained attention during training.
“Stress, anxiety, and depression are often associated with competitions, and regulating these psychophysiological factors through food-based supplements can improve performance,” doctors said.
Polyphenols and mood in hypertension
Evidence is increasing that a diet rich in polyphenols can have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. In this study, 99 people, aged 40 to 65, with mild high blood pressure, or hypertension, consumed a high- or low-polyphenol diet.
After four weeks, while those on the low-polyphenol diet had not changed, those on the high-polyphenol diet saw a 67 percent decrease in depressive symptom scores on a standard depression index.
Discussing the results, doctors said, “The study findings suggest a polyphenol-rich diet could potentially lead to beneficial effects on certain outcomes including depressed mood and physical and mental health in hypertensive participants.” Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, coffee, tea and wine, dark chocolate, virgin olive oil, and spices including anise, celery seed, oregano, and spearmint, among others, are rich in polyphenols.