What is the gut brain axis?
We love to ‘go with our gut’ on big decisions. And it turns out, there might be much more sense to that than we realise. For a long time it was believed that the gut, just like many parts of our body, simply took instruction from the brain. Yet, we now know the brain and the gut have regular powwows and most of the time it’s the gut telling the brain stuff, not the other way around. Special signalling hormones and other little messengers ride this highway back and forth between the gut and brain all day long. This is called the gut brain axis.
Is there a link between gut health and mental health?
There’s now more and more evidence that people with healthier guts have more energy and feel happier. In fact, gut bacteria are thought to have just as much say in our happiness as our genes do. And your gut might even have more control over your mood than your brain! There is no denying the gut brain axis links both organs so it’s likely they have a pretty big impact on each other.
Perhaps there’s a reason that sometimes we need to take a trip to the toilet before a big presentation, an audition or an interview. Or a reason that you feel excited butterflies in your stomach ahead of that critical second date. The research linking gut health and mental health is pretty new, but we do know that the gut bacteria can impact the immune system, which in turn can be linked to conditions like depression and anxiety. For more info on how your gut and immune system are linked click here. If your gut health isn’t what it could be, there are some easy ways to make simple changes that might just improve your mental health too. Click here.
Can food help the gut brain connection?
Now we know that gut bacteria and gut health can play an important part in your brain health, it makes sense that feeding your gut its favourite foods can help your brain. It’s also pretty easy to do. First you’ll want to eat more fibre, especially prebiotic fibre! It’s the foundation of a hunky dory digestive system. Adding more variety of plant foods is a dead cert to get all those miscellaneous gut microbes energised and improve the gut to brain connection. You can also look to include probiotics through fermented food in a bid to increase the variety that live in your gut. Check out what food can help improve gut bacteria here.