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Mar 07, 2024

Your gut is your gastrointestinal system which includes your stomach, intestines and colon. Your gut microbiome can have a profound influence on your mood, cognition, and overall mental wellbeing. The intricate connection between your gut and brain, often referred to as the gut-brain connection, can be disrupted if you have an unhealthy gut.

You may be wondering, what classifies as an unhealthy gut? And how can you improve your gut health? Let’s take a look.

The unhealthy gut

An unhealthy gut can have several different symptoms, including bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Most fascinatingly, beyond the physical symptoms and discomfort, research increasingly shows that an imbalanced gut microbiome can contribute to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

A 2023 study focusing on the relationship between gut microbiomes and anxiety and depression and how to manage it, stated that “patients with inflammatory disorders are more likely to experience depression. Episodes of depressive symptoms are expected with severe inflammatory bowel disease conditions, possibly related to disrupting the pathways involved in the gut-brain axis.”

The study also noted that persistent neuroinflammation can alter brain functioning and can affect a person’s mood and behaviour.

Supporting your own gut health

So, how can you support your gut health and subsequently nurture a positive gut-brain connection?

One of the most fundamental aspects is your diet. The adage “eat the rainbow” holds true, as you need a range of fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as part of your diet. Some fermented foods also promote a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics can also make a big difference, so discuss these with your doctor if you are experiencing gastrointestinal sissues.

Regular exercise can also improve your gut health. According to the Alabama Colon and Rectal Institute, diet, sleeping habits, and exercise are the three most vital factors contributing to your digestive health.

Some benefits of exercise for digestion include:

  • Increased blood circulation
  • Activated bowel movements and digestive enzymes
  • Stimulated nerves in the nervous, muscular, and endocrine systems

Managing stress equally important. Heightened stress levels can disrupt gut microbiota composition. The 2019 study that examined the link between stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota states that “… stress and depression can reshape the gut bacteria’s composition through stress hormones, inflammation, and autonomic alterations. In turn, the gut bacteria release metabolites, toxins, and neurohormones that can alter eating behavior [sic] and mood.”

As with all facets of healthy living, sleep is essential for gut-brain health. A lack of quality sleep can affect both your ability to think and concentrate, as well as your gut microbiota. A consistent sleep schedule and a peaceful bedroom can help you sleep better, which supports both gut and brain function.

The essence of gut health

The major factor in gut health is proactive care. Exercise, sleep, a healthy diet, and stress management are all key. Fortunately, if you have a chronic gut condition, there are ways to improve your gut health and nurture a strong and healthy gut-brain connection.

Bestmed’s Tempo wellness programme offers our members hands-on support with regards to nutrition, fitness, and emotional wellbeing. The holistic approach to wellness will certainly also improve your gut health.

Your gut lays the foundation for a happier, healthier you. Give it everything it needs to thrive.



Gut health. Better Health Channel. Accessed 2024. Available here.

Gut Microbiota in Anxiety and Depression: Unveiling the Relationships and Management Options. National Library of Medicine. 2023. Available here.

Feel Your Best in 2023: 5 Exercises for Better Digestive Health. Alabama Colon and Rectal Institute. Updated 2024. Available here.

The gut microbiota and depressive symptoms across ethnic groups. Nature.com. 2022. Available here.

Do gut bacteria play a role in depression? Medical News Today. Accessed 2024. Available here

What's the connection between the gut and brain health? Harvard Health Publishing. 2022. Available here.

The Brain-Gut Connection. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 2024. Available here.

Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: human–bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition. National Library of Medicine. 2019. Available here.

Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans. National Library of Medicine. 2019. Available here.

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