Why Gut Health is Good for Brain Health
Your gut and your brain are biochemically and physically connected in numerous ways. The vagus nerve and neurotransmitters all connect the brain and the gut, and your gut microbes even make chemicals that can affect the way that your brain works.
For example, gut microbes produce short-chain fatty acids, which can affect the brain by affecting your appetite. The gut also plays a big role in the immune system and inflammation.
We know that the gut and the brain are connected, and researchers have found that changing your gut bacteria can improve brain health, too. Probiotics offer one way to change your gut bacteria by introducing healthy bacteria to the gut. Certain probiotics known to affect the brain are sometimes called “psychobiotics” and have been shown to improve the symptoms of anxiety and stress.
Prebiotics, which are fibers that are fermented by the gut bacteria, also have an impact on brain health. Taking prebiotics has been linked to reduction in cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, which can have a positive effect on brain health.
A few specific foods that are excellent for benefiting the gut and the brain include:
- High fiber foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, and seeds
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish
- Foods rich in tryptophan, such as eggs, cheese, and turkey
- Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut, and yogurt
- Foods that contain polyphenols like olive oil, coffee, cocoa, and green tea
Better brain health can begin in your gut, so learn how to take care of your gut health. Check out more articles on how to nurture your body by eating right, finding new relaxation methods, and moving your body every day.