Stress messes up your microbiome—the bacterial world in your gut—and this creates a vicious circle that makes stress and anxiety attacks worse.
Eating more prebiotics could undo the damage caused by stress by feeding and nurturing the 'good' bacteria in the gut that's still there. Prebiotics are in plant fibres, such as raw chicory root, raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion greens, raw garlic, raw leeks, raw asparagus, and raw and cooked onions.
Probiotics, on the other hand, include yoghurts and dairy products that introduce good bacteria back into the gut.
Prebiotics also have a protective effect, and help safeguard the good bacteria during stressful times, say researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder. They could even help re-establish good sleeping patterns.
So far, the researchers have tested the theory only on laboratory rats, but they're confident they would see similar positive effects in humans, and that's the next stage of the testing process.
But as there aren't any adverse reactions to prebiotics that the researchers could see, they say it's safe to start eating more of them in your diet. You have nothing to lose except your levels of stress and anxiety, and sleeplessness.