It turns out getting into a pickle is actually good for you

Emma Haslett
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Gherkins, pickled beetroot and sauerkraut could all help to reduce social anxiety (Source: Getty)

Those of you who carefully pick the gherkins out of your burgers, beware: it turns out eating pickles can actually make you less anxious.

Read more: Why anxiety could stop you getting the job you want

According to a study to be published in the journal Psychiatry Research, young adults who ate more fermented foods had "reduced social anxiety". The effect was greatest among those who were at "genetic risk" for social anxiety disorders - so the more neurotic you are, the more gherkins will help.

"It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favourably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety," said Professor Matthew Hilimire, one of the authors of the study.

The study also found - as others have before it - that exercise also reduced social anxiety. Which means those who find themselves frequently feeling anxious could do a lot worse than following a run with a snack of kimchi.

"What it would suggest is that you could augment more traditional therapies (like medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two) with fermented foods - dietary changes - and exercise, as well," said Hilimire.

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