Health & Fitness

Gut Bacteria Can Change the Way You Think and Feel

Kristen Sparrow • January 18, 2020

Gut Bacteria Can Change the Way You Think and Feel

Following a healthy, fiber rich diet is good for you in a lot of ways, but recent research shows that encouraging good gut bacteria improves mood also. 2 cups of yogurt a day was shown to improve mood. Hard to know if the study was well done or not…

Rethinking Bacteria

When people eat a plant-heavy diet, the fiber from the plant matter ferments in the gut and creates short-chain fatty acids, which, in turn, regulate the immune system and influence gene expression in the brain and elsewhere. People who eat fiber have more diverse gut bacteria, and these bacteria make various chemicals that influence our mood.

Inflammatory molecules, called cytokines, that are produced by body fat can spark inflammation elsewhere in the body. Inflammation increases the risk of depression and other diseases by harming the lining of the blood vessels. Meanwhile, healthy fats increase the production of proteins called neurotrophins, which “act like manure to the brain as they promote the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus,” Jacka says. “There is a strong link between the quality of people’s diets and the size of their hippocampus.”