You’ve probably heard that there is a connection to our diet and how it affects our mind. So, we’re answering the question “How does Gut Health Impact the Brain?” by breaking it down into the basics with an expert on the relationship between your gut health and your brain.

A Healthy Gut Makes A Healthy Brain

The relationship between intestinal health and overall good health –including a healthy brain – is receiving a great deal of attention these days. Your intestines are brimming with bacteria, which play a role in a wide range of your body’s functions. Maintaining healthy gut bacteria may help you avoid excess inflammation and limit the activity of free radicals, highly reactive molecules in your body that can cause cell damage.

Inflammation and cellular decay are thought to be important factors in aging and in the vulnerability of your body – and your brain – to illness and dysfunction. The idea behind books like David Perlmutter’s Brain Maker (Little, Brown and Company, 2015) and other gut-focused books and programs is that by eating to promote healthy intestinal bacteria, you can protect your brain from degeneration. What does gut-friendly eating look like? It favors prebiotic, probiotic and fermented foods, all of which promote healthy gut bacteria. It avoids sugar and processed foods, which can promote unwanted bacteria and inflammation. Many of these diets strongly urge avoiding carbohydrates and gluten, however, for people who do not experience sensitivity or allergy to these foods, there is nutritional value in whole grains and complex carbs. There’s a lot to recommend in these eating strategies (such as consuming plenty of prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods) but as with any eating program, it’s important to keep a sense of balance.

So exactly how does gut health impact the brain? We’ll be diving deeper on the Vitamin & Me podcast.

Written by Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald for Clean Eating Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Maintaining a balanced diet is important to our overall health. If we are not able to optimize our prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic intake through foods, we may need to use supplements. Take our free, personalized vitamin quiz to find the best vitamins for your daily needs or contact us at Vitamin & Me to learn more at hello@vitaminandme.com.

Featured image provided by Polina Zimmerman

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