January 5, 2024

The Importance of Gut-Mental Health With Nutritionist Aditi Prabhu

Written by our expert


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

The Importance of Gut-Mental Health With Nutritionist Aditi Prabhu
Quick Links

Aditi Prabhu is a seasoned Clinical Dietitian-Nutritionist specializing in Gut-Mental Health Nutrition. Her expertise extends globally, offering consulting services that blend her deep knowledge of dietetics with contemporary practices. As a Food & Nutrition Blogger and Speaker, Aditi shares valuable insights into healthy eating and wellness. Her proficiency also encompasses Bariatric Nutrition, providing tailored nutritional guidance for weight loss surgery patients. With a keen interest in the intersection of genetics and nutrition, she is also a skilled Nutrigenomics Counsellor, guiding individuals toward personalized nutrition strategies based on their genetic makeup. Aditi's multifaceted approach to food and wellness marks her as a distinguished professional.

Livest Health caught up with her for an exclusive interview. Read on to discover her groundbreaking insights on Gut-Mental Health, her global consulting experiences, and her unique perspective on Nutrigenomics. Get ready to be enlightened on how diet can transform not just your body but your mind, too.

Nutritionist Aditi Prabhu

Can you explain the connection between gut health and mental well-being and why it's gaining more attention in nutrition science?

The gut-brain axis is a bi-directional pathway that impacts gut and mental health, inflammation, immune responses, and stress responses. The gut microbiome plays a huge role in this, while the gut microbiome is largely impacted by the dietary choices one makes. So basically, since the gut-brain axis impacts overall well-being, it is gaining more and more attention in nutrition science.

What unique challenges do you face when consulting with clients globally, especially regarding varying dietary habits and cultural differences?

When engaging with clients internationally, it's not about overcoming challenges but embracing opportunities. These opportunities include the study of various cuisines, accessibility to different foods, the influence of accessibility on dietary choices, and the exploration of cultural nuances. For instance, food availability in Turkey significantly differs from that in Canada, including variations in work schedules, food practices, etc.

What key messages do you aim to convey to your audience through your food and nutrition blog and speaking engagements?

The main aim of my blog is to create awareness and understanding about incorporating various local and seasonal ingredients into our diets. Combining these ingredients into one's diet will ensure more dietary diversity, supporting individual health, sustainability, and the local economy.

The main objective of my speaking engagements is twofold: to make nutrition accessible to all by simplifying food and to create awareness about the role of proper nutrition in different phases of life and several health conditions, mainly focusing on gut and mental health.

What nutritional advice do you prioritize for individuals pre-and post-bariatric surgery to ensure their long-term health and well-being?

Proper in-depth and personalized nutrition counseling, pre-and post-bariatric surgery, is crucial for long-term health and well-being.

A thorough nutritional assessment is essential for pre-bariatric surgery patients to identify and deal with deficiencies. Followed by curating a balanced calorie-restriction diet, ensuring proper hydration, helping with behavior modifications, and incorporating targeted nutritional supplementation to deal with deficiencies.

Regarding post-bariatric surgery, the gradual introduction of food, focusing on protein and nutrient-dense foods, the importance of portion control and hydration, proper nutritional supplementation, and regular follow-ups are focused upon.

woman in white tank top standing beside woman in green dress
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

As a nutrigenomics counselor, how do you incorporate genetic information into your dietary recommendations, and how does this impact individual health outcomes?

As a nutrigenomics counselor, how one interprets and incorporates genetic information is crucial.

General work procedure includes getting the genetic test done. The data obtained from these tests, detailed nutrition counseling information, and dietary recall are then utilized to create a targeted and personalized nutrition plan that considers all the genetic data, including health risks, sensitivities, stress response, etc.

Such a personalized plan can help prevent diseases, improve health conditions, help plan targeted interventions, and ensure better health outcomes.

What dietary approaches do you commonly recommend for improving gut health, and how do these diets affect mental health?

The dietary approaches to improving gut health vary from case to case. Some of the nutritional approaches I commonly recommend include-

  • We focus more on whole foods and local and seasonal ingredients.
  • Adding color to the plate by adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Eliminating processed and ultra-processed foods.
  • Incorporating healthy fats and adequate fiber.
  • Hydration
  • Stress management
  • Getting adequate sleep

How do you address food sensitivities and allergies in your practice, particularly in relation to gut health?

In my practice, food sensitivities and allergies in relation to gut health are addressed with a personalized approach.

It begins with taking a detailed medical history, along with a detailed dietary recall, understanding the dietary habits and choices, reviewing the blood work, and getting all required tests. Based on this, a customized plan provides balanced meals and hacks, tips, tricks, and alternatives to deal with food allergies and sensitivities. It also includes regular follow-ups and check-ins to monitor progress and ensure a balanced diet is consumed despite the restrictions.

What recent research in gut-mental health nutrition do you find most promising or impactful?

Recent research on-

  • Gut-brain axis
  • Gut microbiome
  • Psychobiotic
  • Gut microbiome and mood
  • Pre & Probiotics and cognitive health

What common misconceptions do you encounter regarding diet and mental health, and how do you address them with your clients?

While I often encounter a large chunk of the population that refuses to accept mental health struggles, the fraction of the population that understands the role of nutrition in mental health is very small.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that nutrition does not play a role in mental health, while others blame food for mental health struggles. Addressing such kinds of misconceptions cautiously with proper explanation becomes very important. This includes explaining the role of nutrition in mental health, i.e., the impacts of different foods and dietary choices on mental health, and it also includes explaining the importance of making the right dietary choices to deal with mental health struggles better.

Where do you see the future of nutrition therapy headed, particularly in gut-mental health?

The future of Medical Nutrition therapy in the gut and mental health looks very promising with so much research happening in the gut and mental health field and advancements in technology, mainly testing ( gut/ microbiome).

Follow Aditi on LinkedIn.

Get In Touch

Do you have any questions for Aditi Prabhu? Write to [email protected] to get personal advice from our experts.

Share this article

Livest Health's assurance

crossmenuchevron-down-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram