Food for Thought

by Destinee Cushnie-Mason

Welcome to “Food for Thought,” a blog series designed to be exactly that! By delving into the intricate connection between gut health and mental well-being, this blog aims to stimulate your mind and your tastebuds and provoke thoughtful reflection on how nutrition influences mood. We aspire to equip you with valuable insights into taking charge of your gut health and empower you with practical dietary adjustments that can profoundly impact your mental wellness. Follow along weekly and savour the exploration!

1. Introduction to Gut Health

Have you ever had a gut feeling?

Have you ever experienced an emotion that’s made your stomach turn?

Perhaps excitement has put butterflies in your stomach?

That’s because your gut and your brain have a special connection. Despite their distance, your thoughts, feelings and emotions have the amazing ability to influence what’s going on in your digestive system, and what’s even more exciting is that the gut also has the power to influence the way your brain works.

Scientists looking into this two-way relationship have discovered that the food we eat has a huge impact on this connection, known as the Gut-Brain Axis. This is because the gut is more than just a pitstop for the food we eat, it is the home to millions of microscopic bacteria and other microbes that drive our bodily systems like a tiny little workforce, called our Gut Microbiome. And the types of foods we eat determine how well they can do their job. When our gut is healthy, we have high numbers of lots of different types of good bacteria which produce chemicals that make us healthier. Whereas when our gut is unhealthy, the bad kind can thrive and cause damage so that we’re less protected from illnesses. These bad bacteria have been linked to mental illness, as well as a range of other health conditions.

The good news is that there’s a lot we can do to make our guts healthier, and research has shown that doing so can improve our mental health, sleep quality and immune system.

This blog series will delve into nutrition and the Gut-Brain Axis. Together we’ll discover how simple dietary changes can boost your mental well-being.

Join us on a journey of self-discovery as we explore the link between what’s on your plate and what’s in your mind.
Note from the author: Hi, I’m Destinee. I’m currently studying my Masters in Nutrition and Behaviour and I’m really passionate about self-advocacy and finding ways to help those with mental illness, having had many close family members suffer in this way. This blog by no means attempts to minimise the significance of mental illness, nor offer a magic cure. I simply want to highlight practical, evidence-based lifestyle adjustments that have been shown to promote mental wellness in those living with diagnosed mental illnesses. I sincerely hope you find it insightful.

Much love,

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