There's long been an intuitive association between stress and your stomach. For instance, when you feel anxious, you might notice that your stomach feels upset.
An increasingly massive body of research suggests that this association is very real, and that the gut may play a large role in how our brains our wired, and specifically, how anxious we are.
Earlier this month, neuroscientist John Cryan, chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork in Ireland, spoke at a TedMed conference about how scientists are learning just how much the microbiome (the collection of bacteria that live in and around us) affects us.
His research focuses on specifically how the microbiome influences our brains, and the role of probiotics in potentially addressing anxiety and depression.
As Cryan told the crowd on September 12, it's becoming increasingly obvious that your state of mind is dependent on your "state of gut."
And as one of his studies in 2011 showed, mice who were fed lactobacillus rhamnosus, a probiotic sometimes found in yogurt, showed fewer signs of anxiety and depression, and were even more adventurous — willing to explore an open maze. The brains in these mice also showed an increase in a neurotransmitter that helps with anxiety.
Here's exactly how you should be eating to support your microbiome and your brain health, and here's what Dr. Mark Hyman has to say about how our microbiomes are so sensitive that they actually change with every single bite of food we eat.