If you dread everyday activities like going to the shops or speaking on the phone, you may suffer from social anxiety.
Now results published in the journal of Psychiatry Research say that fermented foods such as probiotic yoghurts, pickles and dark chocolate could help to treat this extreme shyness.
According to the NHS, social anxiety is a persistent and overwhelming fear of social situations, and is one of the most common anxiety disorders.
Women are twice as likely than men to suffer from the disorder that can interfere with work, school and relationships and often requires cognitive behavioural therapy treatment.
Researchers gave 710 participants a series of questionnaires designed to assess their personalities and lifestyles, including the amount of fermented foods they had eaten over the last 30 days.
People who ate more probiotic-rich fermented foods had fewer symptoms of social anxiety, the researchers found.
Researchers reported: ‘It is likely that the probiotics (friendly bacteria) in the fermented foods are favourably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety.
Researcher Dr Matthew Hilimire advised that eating these foods encourages your body to increase the neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety, and concluded that the study “suggests that consumption of fermented foods that contain probiotics may serve as a low-risk intervention for reducing social anxiety”.