By Dr. Krystosik

Your digestive tract is much more than a long tube that transports food in and out of the body. Thanks to your gut, the food you eat is broken down to individual nutrients that benefit your body from head to toe. You also have a diverse body of micro-organisms living inside gut that are crucial players in the health of the mind and body. A growing body of research is discovering the significant role bugs that colonize your gut have in overall health. The right kind of bacteria living in the gut can provide your body with up too 15% more energy to live on, boost your immune system, decrease your body weight and the risk for obesity, and surprisingly improve your moods and happiness. 

A recent study published in the medical journal Bioessays found certain microorganisms living in the gut influence food cravings. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Believe it or not, other researchers found these same bacteria can influence personality traits and moods. Researchers explain that could be a major reason why 80% of people with irritable bowel syndrome suffer with depression and anxiety.

So, what food do you suppose the bugs living in your gut that cause food cravings, depression, anxiety and weight gain love to eat. You might have guessed, sugar. Oh, how sweet it is. Sugar creates comfort, fond memories of family parties, and for many it’s a reward at the end of a tough day. The problem is sugar is hard on all the body systems, including the bacteria living in our gut. Sugar encourages the growth of harmful bacteria. On the other hand, fiber, specifically water-soluble fiber increases the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut.

So, go ahead and enjoy some sweet treats, but try to eat them made with whole grains. Whole oats, whole wheat, brown rice, whole corn and other whole food grains and
cereals can be made into delicious cookies, muffins, cakes and pies. The fiber in whole grains will encourage the growth of healthy bacteria and leave you in a better mood.

Take Home Message: The food you eat determines the type of bacteria living inside your gut. Healthy bacteria living in the gut contribute to better moods and increased
happiness. Harmful bacteria living in the gut can trigger
depression, anxiety and grumpiness.

Dr. Krystosik is a board-certified chiropractic physician with an undergraduate degree in clinical nutrition and is northeast Ohio’s leading expert in functional medicine.
Dr. Krystosik is the author of 5  books on nutrition and natural medicine and is a nationally known speaker. For an appointment with Dr. Krystosik in his Northfield office, call 330-908-0094 or go to