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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.

43,963 enrolled on this course

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

43,963 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

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

Please note this course runs without facilitation. A Spanish version of the course can be found here.

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.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds Do you know how foods affect our body and mind, and how our emotion and thought affect the way we eat? In Food for Thought, we will touch about psychological topics, such as emotional eating, and biological ones, such as the relationship between our brain and the microbiome. In the course, you will find videos, articles, and quizzes that will help you understand the relationship between areas that could seem unconnected. So, how does the food affect our mind, brain, and body? Join us, and we will discover it together.


  • Week 1


    • Welcome to the course

      Introduction to the course, its structure and its content.

    • Introduction to the brain and cognition

      Let's explore basic information about the brain and its energy metabolism. We will also introduce some psychological topics, most notably what is meant by cognitions.

  • Week 2

    Responses to feeding, reward systems and food addiction

    • The reward system and response to feeding

      What is a reward and what is the reward system in the brain? What happens when we eat food and how this activates the reward circuits? Let's find out!

    • Food addiction

      What is food addiction? Does it really exist? Let's explore the idea of food addiction from a biological point of view and featuring the point of view of a clinical psychologist.

  • Week 3

    Cognitive and emotional influences on food behaviors

    • Emotions and food intake

      Can emotions change our eating behaviour, and can what we eat change our emotions?

    • Cognition and food intake

      How do our thoughts and experiences affect our eating style? What is restrained eating and what are its consequences?

  • Week 4

    Brain, mind and our diet

    • Food and our brain: the good...

      Let's explore the positive effects of some foods and molecules, such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, on our brain.

    • ... and the bad

      Now let's focus on the negative effects of the food we eat on our brain and on our body, including the effects of nutritional deficiencies and diets rich in sugar.

  • Week 5

    Gut-brain axis and the microbiome

    • Microbiome and the gut-brain axis

      Let's explore the gut-brain axis and the role that the microbiome plays in it.

    • Microbiome and the brain

      Let's explore the relationship between our brain and our gut, including the role of gut microbiome in the gut-brain axis.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

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

  • Describe the role our diet has on brain function
  • Identify the role of psychological and neurobiological factors in our food choices
  • Evaluate the possible causes (biological, social, psychological) of unhealthy and pathological eating behaviours
  • Explain the connection between the brain and our digestive system (gut)
  • Assess the relationship between emotions and food intake
  • Discuss the relationship between the food we eat, the digestive system, and the brain and how this affects 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.

The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way. Don’t forget to comment, reply to other learners and ‘like’ comments.

What do people say about this course?

I thoroughly enjoyed the course.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I especially loved learning about the different vitamin deficiencies, brain and body feedback, biology, and eating disorders. "

Really enjoyed the course

"Really enjoyed the course. It covers very complex and complicated mechanisms which affect our emotional, mental and physical well-being, in a way that is accessible for the non expert."

Who will you learn with?

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.

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

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

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Turin

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.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial skills in Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 23 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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