Can Food Fix Depression?

This video explains the connection between gut health and mental health, highlighting the influence of the vagus nerve and gut microbiome. It further suggests ways to improve gut health, mainly by incorporating prebiotic and probiotic foods into one’s diet. Examples include banana, garlic, onions, asparagus, suerkaust, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kefir, pickles and different kinds of cheeses. Adding these foods to one’s diet can have great health benefits.


  • Dr. Islam discusses the connection between gut health and mental wellbeing, as well as how stress can manifest in the way your gut microbiome is.
  • The vagus nerve plays a major role in connecting the brain to the gut and influences digestion, breathing, sleeping and other bodily functions.
  • Eating prebiotic foods such as fruits & vegetables helps improve good bacteria inside of one’s GI tract while probiotic-rich foods like yogurt & kefir act as supplements for it.
  • It is recommended that people start incorporating these two types of food into their diet by starting with one meal per day to help break any vicious cycles caused by unbalanced levels of bacteria within their bodies.


So have you ever had that gut feeling inside your belly or that nervousness, those butterflies that go inside your stomach before a big presentation? Well, did you know there was a connection between gut health and maybe depression and anxiety? In today’s video, we’re going to discuss two connections between what’s going on here and what’s going on right here as well. And it’ll give you two tips I recommend to improve your gut health, which may improve your mental wellbeing. If you know somebody who has depression and gut issues, this video is for them and for you guys, let’s talk about poop. How to y’all? Dr. Islam here, a k a, your poop go trying to keep you happy and healthy from the top all the way down to the bottom so you can live your best life.

Did you know there is a connection between what is going on in your brain and what is going on inside your gut as well? That gut feeling that you have actually may be real And there is a connection between the brain gut access. In today’s video we’ll discuss number one, how the brain and the gut are connected and we’ll go over two specific ways that they’re connected.

And at the very end of the video, I’ll go over two tips I recommend to help improve that connection to get you happy and healthy. Now I wanna tell you a story about a patient of mine named Tom. Now Tom keen to me cuz he was having a lot of gut issues, pain, nausea, diarrhea, and he had really, really, really bad ibs. We tried all sorts of different treatment options for him. We tried medical therapy, national therapy, but nothing really seemed to work. Then one day Tom came to me and said, Hey, Dr. Islam, I think I know what’s going on. I am under so much stress at home and at work. I have family members who are not doing well and I’ve noticed that that stress can really affect what’s going on inside my GI tract.

And this opened up a light bulb for me and it allowed me to hopefully address his anxiety and depression. And what we did is that we really focused on that. I got the help of a psychiatrist, a psychologist really changed his gut microbiome to improve both his gut health and his mental health. And after a couple months he noticed that his gut symptoms got better, he felt so much better, but more importantly, he was able to handle the stress and deal with it in a very productive and well mannered function. So what exactly is going on between your mental health and your gut health? So your gut health is made up of trillions and trillions and trillions of gut bacteria. These are part of your microbiome. All the stuff going on inside your GI tract is your gut microbiome interacting with what you eat, what’s going on in your environment, and the stress level is going on inside your body. In fact, those stress levels will really influence what’s going on here. So when we’re stressed, we jack up our core of cell levels and our steroids and everything going on inside our body. We go into this flight or fight, ugh, response. And that can Also manifest in the way your gut microbiome is.

It helps to make the bad guys higher up inside your gut microbiome and suppresses all the good guys. So you start to have this imbalance of a lot more bad guys, a lot less good guys leading to conditions like gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, and i b s type issues. And this is why very commonly me as a GI doctor, when I have patients who come in for gut issues, one of the first things I ask is, what is going on in your life? Are you stressed? You have anxiety? Are you able to manage that stress or anxiety? Because I have found, and the studies show that stress totally influences the mobility, the motility, and the function of your gut microbiome. Then it ends up being a vicious cycle.

Your gut feels bad, then you feel even worse and more stress makes your gut feel bad and you feel even worse. It’s a cycle going on and on and on. And we need to break the cycle and one way we can break the cycle, it’s a no. What are the components going on to make the cycle happen? There are two main components you need to be aware of.

Number one is the vagus nerve. This is the big guy, the superhighway, the main connection between the brain and the gut. I call this the Audubon of your body and it has that direct connection to influence what’s going on in your head and inside your gut. Now your vagus nerve plays a huge role in the autonomic nervous system when it comes to breathing, sleeping, and for gut issues, digestion and using the restroom and anything involved inside your GI tract. And this helps us send messages from your brain. This is not your brain. It helps to send messages from your gut to your brain and vice versa. So that means this vagus nerve plays a huge role when it comes to mental wellbeing. If you’re stressed up here, all those hormones, that’s stress, those neurotransmitters go down, that superhighway into your gut to manifest those symptoms inside your GI tract. And this is why stress can play a role and a toll just like that superhighway, you got that guys in your GI tract. But the second player, like I mentioned before, is your gut microbiome, those trillions of bacteria inside your GI tract.

And these are actually the components to help break down food into its natural smallest portion so we can digest those properly. And if one of those two components are not in balance or not working properly, this leads to leaky gut and a lot of gut issues. So what can you do today to improve your gut microbiome and hopefully improve your stress? Here are two recommendations I have.

Number one, eat rich prebiotic foods. Prebiotic foods are the fertilizer for your gut microbiome. It makes them strong and swollen and happy. These are foods that you can implement into your diet to improve the natural bacteria inside your GI tract. And By by doing that, you can improve the good guys, make the good guys stronger to fight off all those bad bacteria and hopefully improve your mental wellbeing and your mood.

Prebiotic foods are found everywhere, especially in fruits and vegetables. This is why a plant-based diet is the best diet to improve your gut microbiome. These include foods like banana, garlic, onions, asparagus, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, all the foods that are great for your gut microbiome. Act as prebiotics to help the good guys do their job. Number two, artsy eat probiotic rich foods. Did you get that? First one was pre, second one was pro. So probiotic foods are foods that actually already have live bacteria in them. They act as a supplement to your good guys going on inside your GI tract. They’re like the reinforcement to help your guys do the job that we need them to do. This includes food like yogurt, keifer, pickles, and certain cheeses. So here’s what I want you to do this week. I want you to start to incorporate prebiotic foods and probiotic foods in your diet. Start off with one meal per day and