The gut-brain interaction is a fascinating field of study and it has revealed the powerful connection between our physical and mental health. Recent research has identified several pathways through which signals travel to and from the brain, including the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA) and the enteric nervous system (ENS).
Through these pathways, signals from the gut influence our emotional state and decision-making by sending messages directly to our brains via neural pathways.
And now, researchers believe that we can use certain strategies—such as eating prebiotics and probiotics and avoiding processed foods—to promote a healthier gut and by doing so, enhance the balance between our physical and mental states.
As such, there are countless benefits to further developing our understanding of this connection. It can help us identify potential causes of low energy levels or cognitive issues for example so we can optimise product concepts which can alleviate these conditions.
It can also help us to better understand how our diets affect our mental health—and vice versa – and the crucial role that prebiotics and probiotics play in maintaining our human biome in tip-top condition.
Studies have also shown that this link may impact on how we perceive the taste of certain foods or drinks, either positively or negatively, and how this in turn influences our emotional connection.
This suggests that by understanding the gut-brain interaction, food and drink brands can create new ways to engage with customers, providing a unique experience that resonates on both a physical and psychological level by creating an ‘environment’ in which people become emotionally connected to particular products through their physical and sensory attributes.
As such, brands have the potential to make powerful emotional connections with consumers on two levels–product and brand and as research continues to uncover the deeper implications of this relationship, we can expect to see more brands leveraging it to create positive and memorable experiences through a variety of strategies presented to evoke positive emotions.
This has the potential for brands to use new ways of creating lasting impressions on customers and to motivate them to develop brand loyalty, and hence strengthen their stature in an continuously competitive market.
And by understanding this connection more fully, we may well be able to find new ways to improve our overall well-being without relying on pharmaceutical medications or medical interventions, whilst creating stronger, emotional connections with brands at the same time.