Why do we crave junk food so much? We explain the gut-brain connection and how you can train yourself to want healthier food
06/19/2018 // RJ Jhonson // Views

If you've ever decided to start eating healthier but soon found yourself reaching for a bag of chips, it's not just because you lack self-control. You're probably fighting against enemies – trillions of them, in fact – that you can't see.

The bacteria in your gut play a larger role in your life than you may think. They are linked to your brain in what scientists dub “the gut/brain axis,” which they use to send signals to your brain, affecting your decisions, especially with regards to what you eat.

If you feed the bacteria in your gut with junk food, you will be supporting the growth of those microorganisms that thrive on junk food. Soon these bacteria will multiply and keep on asking your brain for more – you got it right – junk food. This is how bad cravings are created. (Related: Junk food is engineered to addict you to chemical ingredients.)

The only way to put a stop to the cravings is by doing the opposite and starting to eat healthily. Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will starve out junk food-loving microorganisms, causing a decline in their numbers and reducing those cravings. The microorganisms that like healthy food will multiply in their place, fostering a healthier microbiome.

It doesn't take much to foster a population of friendly bacteria in your gut.

Fill your diet with fiber-rich food

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and both are good for you. Insoluble fiber is usually found in the roughage of food items like vegetables, whole grain cereals, and fruits.


As implied by its name, insoluble fiber cannot be digested by humans. When eaten, it acts as a broom of sorts that transports toxins as it travels through your intestine and exits your body. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, absorbs water and helps in stabilizing digestion.

Apart from all these, fiber can act as a prebiotic, a substance that the human digestive system cannot process, but is eaten by bacteria in the gut instead.

Eat more fermented food

You may not like the smell of kimchi, but it's good for you. Fermented items like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. The fermentation process occurs because of the action of microorganisms, so these items do contain microbes that are good for your digestive system.

The benefits of good gut bacteria

The action of the bacteria in your gut affects not just your digestion, but also your general health. Here are some of their other benefits:

  • They boost your immune system – Your large intestine is contact with fecal matter on a daily basis, which means it needs to have a strong barrier in place that keeps it safe from infection and harmful toxins. Gut bacteria fortifies your intestine's natural barrier, increasing its protection from damage and disease.
  • They help boost your mental health – Remember the gut/brain axis? It also has an impact on your mental health, it turns out. A healthy stomach will allow you better control over your moods and may even help you fight anxiety, depression, and sleeping disorders.
  • They give you an energy boost – By improving and keeping your digestive system healthy, friendly gut bacteria help facilitate the efficient delivery of nutrients to your body. This means getting more energy from your food and being more resistant to fatigue.
  • They're good for your heart – Your body produces bile acids that are used to help in digesting the fat you consume. Unwanted bacteria attacks these acids, impairing your body's ability to process fat effectively and putting you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease. High populations of good bacteria keep balance the microbiomes, keeping bad bacteria at bay, thus keeping bile acids intact and returning your body's ability to process unwanted fat and cholesterol.

Learn more about the hazards of eating junk foods by following Fastfood.news today.

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