The prebiotics found in food like asparagus, oatmeal, and legumes could help you manage stress and regulate your sleep after a traumatic event, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Acute stress can affect the gut bacteria within your intestines, and researchers set out to discover whether eating a prebiotic enriched diet would be able to limit this disruption and help subjects better cope with stress.
Using rats, the team tested whether consuming prebiotics prior to a stressful event would impact the way the body responded. The rats were split into two groups, with the first eating a prebiotic rich diet for several weeks before being exposed to a stressful instance while the second ate their regular diet. They were then exposed to a stressor that was the traumatic equivalent of a car accident or the death of a loved one, and it was found that those who had consumed the prebiotic diet saw no stress-induced effects in their gut bacteria and were able to return to normal sleep patterns faster than the rats who ate a normal diet. Researchers plan to address how prebiotics affect humans after stress and examine whether they protect their gut bacteria and help them return to normal sleeping patterns.