• Less than one week to go until Food Matters Live Ascot. Last chance to save your space!
Get our best content directly in your inbox
Sign up

The link between nutrition, health, cognition and the gut microbiome

3 min read
AUTHOR: Ross Carver-Carter
A tape measure, stethoscope and vegetables representing the link between disease and nutrition

Emerging research suggests that diet not only helps prevent lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, but that it may also be effective in managing the symptoms of existing diseases as well.

The gut microbiome has emerged as a key mediator for dietary symptom relief, and as we now know, can communicate bi-directionally with the brain via multiple pathways. Dubbed “the gut-brain axis”, this communication highway offers a mechanism for how diet may influence cognition too.

Curated from the Food Matters Live Podcast, the following episodes unpack the complex link between food, health, cognition and disease management. Without further ado, let’s dive in:

Nutrition, Crohn’s and Colitis

A human intestinal tract against a blue background with inflammation and gut bacteria depicted

Crohn’s disease and colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), affecting over 500,000 people in the UK alone.

Characterised by diarrhoea, cramping, fatigue and skin rashes, they can severely undermine a person’s quality of life. Whilst there is no cure for IBD, sufferers can alleviate symptoms through certain interventions, including diet.

So, how does nutrition affect the development and management of IBD? What foods might trigger flares? And how can diet control help with those in remission?

Joining us to answer these questions is Dr Miranda Lomer, Senior Consultant Dietitian in Gastroenterology at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital and Mairi Wilcock RD BSc (Hons), a Dietitian at Stanner Nutrition Clinic. Bringing extensive expertise to the table, our guests offer actionable insights to empower those suffering with IBD.

Exploring the link between nutrition and Parkinson’s disease

Young hands holding the aged hands of someone with Parkinson's

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements. Whilst we know it’s linked to a loss of nerve cells, the causes behind this deterioration remain poorly understood.

Emerging research suggests that the gut microbiome – the millions of bacteria in the intestinal tract – may be implicated. And as we now know, diet can help shape this microbial community within us. So, if your gut plays a role in the development of Parkinson’s, could what you eat and drink play a role too?

Joining us to explore this question is Professor K Ray Chaudhuri, Consultant Neurologist and Professor in Neurology at Kings College London.

How does what you eat affect brain function?

A chalk outline of a human head against a black background with food depicting a human brain

Goji berries and oily fish, avocados and nuts. All of them have been touted as “brain foods” –nutritional powerhouses capable of enhancing cognitive function.

But what does the science actually say about the link between nutrition and brain functioning? Does Omega-3 have as big an impact as some would have us believe? And does it matter how it’s consumed?

These are just some of the questions tackled in this thought-provoking episode offering food for thought about supposed foods for thought. We also look at the impact nutrition can have on Dementia, exploring how what we eat can affect short-term cognitive function.

Explore research developments, market trends and ingredient innovation across the nutritional world at the Inspiring Nutrition event, this November.