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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


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.

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.

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


Once completed, participants will 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); and
  • Discuss the topics of the course and their relationship with daily life.

Duration & Dates


Audience & Eligibility

Everyone, but may be of particular interest to psychologists or people working in health and well-being






English, spanish

Registration Open & Seats




Keep me informed

Structure & Modules

Week 1: Introduction

  • Introduction to the brain and cognition

Week 2: Responses to feeding, reward systems and food addiction

  • The reward system and response to feeding
  • Food addiction

Week 3: Cognitive and emotional influences on food behaviors

  • Emotions and food intake
  • Cognition and food intake

Week 4: Brain, mind and our diet

  • Food and our brain: the good...
  • ... and the bad

Week 5: Gut-brain axis and the microbiome

  • Microbiome and the gut-brain axis
  • Microbiome and the brain


Nira Ramachandran

Thank you for a very informative course, which we can immediately apply to our daily diets with the attendant benefits.


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. 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.

Programme lead

Profile image 20b7852c ea31 4759 8bef 5d606b1a4029
Alessandro Cicerale

Research fellow and Lecturer at the University of Torino, Italy.


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