Online course

Food for Thought: The Relationship Between Food, Gut and Brain

The gut and brain are very closely linked. Explore how neurology, the microbiome and more interact to affect health.

Food for Thought: The Relationship Between Food, Gut and Brain

  • Duration 5 weeks
  • Weekly study 2 hours

Find out how your diet affects your brain, and your brain affects your diet

Over the last few years, the importance of the link between gut and brain has become clear. On this course you’ll explore this complex relationship.

You’ll learn how the brain works, and is affected by diet and nutritional deficiencies. You’ll also discover less known, cutting-edge subjects such as the gut-brain axis, the microbiome, and the relationship between food and reproductive health.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to explain this two-sided relationship: the role of diet on brain function, and its opposite - how the brain can determine our dietary choices.

This activity has received funding from EIT Food, the innovation community on Food of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU, under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsHow does the food we eat affect our brain and body? How do our thoughts and emotions influence our diets and eating behaviour? In this MOOC, our multidisciplinary team will discuss the relationship between food, brain and thoughts, showing you the many ways in which different aspects form an interconnected network. We will discuss topics such as the effect on the brain of diets rich in sugar, food addiction, restrained eating and eating disorders.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsDuring this five weeks course you will receive useful knowledge, discuss how the topics of the course are relevant for your daily life, and you will have the opportunity of interacting with your instructors and fellow students. This course is open to everybody with an interest in our topics and has no specific prerequisites. So, if you want to learn about the relationship between your mind, body and the food you're eating, join us in our journey!

What topics will you cover?

The course focuses on the relationship between food, brain and mind:

  • How does the brain work?
  • How do emotions and thoughts affect our food choices?
  • How do diets and nutritional deficiencies affect our brain?
  • Reward systems and their relationship with food
  • The link between the microbiome and brain

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced
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What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the role of our diet on brain function
  • Reflect on the role of psychological and neurobiological factors in our food choices
  • Reflect on the possible causes (biological, social, psychological) of unhealthy and pathological eating behaviours
  • Describe the connection between the brain and our digestive system (gut)
  • Discuss the topics of the course and their relationship with daily life

Who is the course for?

This course is open to everyone, but may be of particular interest to psychologists or people working in health and well-being. No previous experience is required, though a background knowledge of biology or psychology may help.

Who will you learn with?

Alessandro Cicerale

I am a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Torino, Italy. My research activities include neuroimaging of eating disorders and neurostimulation with therapeutic and rehabilitative goals.

Monika M. Kaczmarek

I am a professor at the Institute of Animal Reproduction & Food Research Polish Academy of Sciences in Poland. I am interested in molecular aspects of reproduction, including diet-mediated programming

Nanette Stroebele-Benschop

I am a professor and lecturer for nutritional psychology at the University of Hohenheim in Germany. I am interested in the psychological aspects of our eating and consumer behavior.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, with the aim to create a sustainable and future-proof food sector.

The University of Turin is one of the largest and most prestigious Italian universities, with about 70,000 students, 4,000 employees, and 1,800 research fellows, encompassing all academic sectors.


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