Can an unhealthy diet lead to an unhealthy brain?

The biological relationship you should know about!

Food impacts our mood. It can increase serotonin and give us immediate pleasure. However, too much of these foods can be bad for us. A lot of the foods that boost our moods instantly are high in sugar and fat, too much of these can make us feel worse off. The reason for this could be due to the lack of butyrate found in these foods.

What is Butyrate?

Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid is found in abundance in good bacteria but is derived from whole foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

Why do we need Butyrate?

Without enough butyrate, our gut lining can become inflamed with can contribute to a bad mood. This is because our guts are linked to the brain via the vagus nerve.

Where is Butyrate found?

Food high in butyrate include legumes, fruits and vegetables as well as some whole grains.

Can a bad gut cause mental health issues?

There have been numerous studies who aim to establish the link between bad gut health and mental health problems. While not all mental health problems are caused by the gut, the gut can trigger these issues such as anxiety and depression.

As Harvard Health discusses:

Given how closely the gut and brain interact, it becomes easier to understand why you might feel nauseated before giving a presentation or feel intestinal pain during times of stress. That doesn't mean, however, that functional gastrointestinal conditions are imagined or "all in your head." Psychology combines with physical factors to cause pain and other bowel symptoms. Psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology of the gut, as well as symptoms. In other words, stress (or depression or other psychological factors) can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract.”

Full article here


The idea that if we disrupt our digestive system in one way or another, that it can impact our brain isn’t rocket science. But it is interesting to discuss how the brain can interpret these symptoms. That while our body parts work in very separate ways, they are all connected.

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