3 surprising facts about the connection between gut and brain health
1. OK, so you know all about probiotics but what about PSYCHOBIOTICS?
The term psychobiotics was coined in 2013 by clinical psychiatrist Professor Ted Dinan and neuroscientist Professor John Cryan. It refers to the friendly bacteria that play a role in the communication between your gut and the activity of your brain, also known as the gut-brain axis. It is now widely recognised that the bacteria living in our gut (our microbiota) communicate directly with our brain via the nervous systems, and are integrally linked to the workings and the health of our brain. It is for this reason that many gut health experts believe that a healthy gut makes for a healthy mind.
2. Gut feelings, trust your gut, gut instincts…sounds like there’s something going on here?
Indeed! These idioms in our language around “trusting your gut” etc. exist for a reason and there’s definitely something in them. Did you know that the gut is thought to produce around 90% of the serotonin found in your body? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can affect your mood and feelings of happiness and pleasure, and research has shown that gut bacteria can impact its production in the gut. So, if your gut instincts are telling you to show your gut some love, listen up! They could be onto something.
3. So are you saying I can eat myself happy?
Correct! There’s strong evidence to suggest, a good place to start could be with your diet. Good gut microbiota thrive on certain foods that are high in fibre or fermented so if you’re feeling a little blue, ask yourself whether you are eating enough of the right foods to feed your gut and therefore boost your mood. Also make sure you’re drinking enough water. Just like you can have a fuzzy head if you’re dehydrated, your gut may not work properly if it’s not adequately hydrated so make sure you’re drinking around 2-3 litres every day.