Our belly and brain share a deep connection: Nutritionist Munmun Ganeriwal

How we feel is connected to what we eat to a great extent. Nutritionist Munmun Ganeriwal in a conversation with HT Digital talked about this unique connection between our belly and brain and how they interact through billions of gut microbes that live inside our gut.

Explaining how these microbes while living inside our belly affect our emotions and behaviours, the nutritionist said that the food we eat and the nutrition that we give to ourselves is the same food that the microbes are also eating. “So, the food really has a great effect on our mental health, on our brain health because the food we eat goes to microbes and then they affect our behaviour, emotions and brain health,” she explains.

Talking about the microbial community that resides inside our gut and their role in overall health, Ganeriwal says, “we have trillions of microbes living inside our gut, so we need to work on the health of these microbial community that lives inside us and once we do that we benefit in multiple ways.”

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Ganeriwal’s upcoming book Yuktahaar: The Belly And The Brain Diet is about improving the balance and diversity of this gut microbiome. The book suggests a diet which could help attain this over a period of 10 weeks by following a three-phased programme. “It is the only programme in the world that combines traditional Indian foods, ancient yogic practices, principles from Ayurveda with gut microbiota study and it can help us understand obesity and fight other diseases,” says the author of soon-to-be released book on lifestyle and diet.

On brain-belly connection

The gut microbes are the ones that connect our belly with brain. The role of microbes in brain health has gained significance over the recent decade. It changes the understanding of mental health for scientists all over the world. In fact there is also a term coined by scientists that is called the gut brain axis, says Ganeriwal.

“While things are pretty new in the research field, but if you look at it, we have always been speaking about it. We have always said things like butterflies in the stomach to reflect upon something we are nervous about. We say it as a figure of speech but these are being validated now in the labs. Even our behaviour, our emotions, whether it is being nervous, being optimistic, cheerful, all of these emotions are connected with our belly and the microbes that is living inside our belly,” concludes the nutritionist.

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