Breaking! All those picklebacks + deli dill indulgences may actually be paying off for you in more ways than just appeasing your appetite. Heads up, lovers of pickles and pickled food items alike: A recent study reveals the salty treats have a positive effect on your social interactions — and it’s a big dill ;)

pickles anxiety study

According to ScienceDaily, psychology professors from William + Mary teamed up with a University of Maryland professor to determine if there is a connection between fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut and other canned yums and social anxiety. The findings, which will be published in full in August’s issue of Psychiatry Research, were determined by studying the dietary habits of 700 students at UM through a questionnaire that covered everything from how much fermented food they consumed over the previous 30 days to their exercise frequency and their average fruit + veggie intake. The results determined that those favoring items like kimchi, et al. have fewer social anxieties, with the lowered nervousness being greatest among those at genetic risk for social anxiety disorder as measured by neuroticism.

“It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety,” stated Professor Matthew Hilimire of William + Mary. “I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.” While this mind-gut connection is an interesting reveal + the first in a series in which the team plans to explore that connection, the researchers noted they will be conducting an experimental version of this particular study to further prove their hypothesis about the fermented foods-lowered social anxiety relation.

Until those results come out, why not conduct your own field study by indulging in a handful of fried ranch pickles before heading out to the bar? Just remember to pack some gum and/or mints for afterwards ;)

What do you think about this pickle-friendly study? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

(h/t Grub Street)