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The New Jersey Self-Advocacy Project


12/6/22: Food and Mood: The Gut-Brain Connection

The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach's juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That's because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected. Mary Ellen Zung, BA is an Integrative Health Coach and works as a health educator with not for profit health care organizations to educate the community as well as health professionals about the importance of cancer screenings including addressing the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mary Ellen also teaches the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program at the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA. Mary Ellen is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she received her Health Coaching Certification, has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Rehabilitative Counseling from Emmanuel College, earned graduate level credits in Industrial Psychology and Business from SUNY, Baruch College and holds a New Jersey teaching certificate.