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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Three Major Things People Get Wrong About Their Gut Microbiome I See In Practice As A Dietitian

The hot topic for a few years now has been gut health. Pro-biotics, pre-biotics, post-biotics, high in fibre, good for your gut, gut bacteria, LGG, IBS, SIBO, IBD have all been increasingly used across internet searches, food packaging, the media. It's almost as confusing as dieting. According to a 2019 CSIRO study at least 50 per cent of adult Australians experience poor gut health with one in seven experiencing distressing symptoms. In this blog I share the 3 most common mistakes I hear people make when they want to improve their gut health and what to do instead.




MISTAKE 1: CUTTING OUT FOODS


There is a time and a place for eliminating foods that may be exacerbating uncomfortable symptoms. Think of this as a short term strategy as it may have long term consequences. Excluding foods for prolonged periods of time means potentially developing intolerances to those foods. By cutting out foods you are starving out and reducing the abundance of the gut bacteria that usually feed on them. Consequently, when you decide to consume that food months later thinking "surely it won't harm me" suddenly you look 6 months pregnant (even if you're a man).


By all means if you suspect gluten intolerance let's cut out gluten, however we need to consider the nutrients that are not being consumed as a result of this change, and make sure we get them elsewhere. Furthermore, what is the root cause of the intolerance and how do we help the body heal is the real question. This will be done on a case by case basis with specific guidelines with the client at the centre of decisions. We work at the pace of the client to prevent potential flare ups.


What to do instead: Focus on an overall anti-inflammatory dietary pattern like the Mediterranean diet. Instead of blaming any one particular food, focus on the diet as a whole, your daily and weekly intake. I've had clients worried about reflux triggered by tomatoes when in actual fact they were not eating enough of any other foods! I often say - I am more concerned about the protective foods my clients are not eating enough off. The tomatoes were no longer an issue in the context of this client's whole day of eating.



MISTAKE 2: TOO MUCH TOO FAST


So you've learnt that fibre is the key and now you are increasing your fibre from plant based foods. Whilst this is great in the long term, short term it may cause discomfort. Especially if you haven't been consuming much fibre on a regular basis your gut bugs will be scarce.

What to do instead: Start low and slow when feeding your gut bugs fibre. Remember they are bacteria so they will proliferate easily when we give them what they want. Start by focusing on variety rather than amount of fibre. Think traffic lights. Choose a plant based food that is red, yellow/orange and green for your plate/ sandwich/ wrap/ salad. Small amounts of different plants will provide different types of fibres, and help the variety of bacteria replenish in your gut. Also, remember to drink more water as you increase fibre.



MISTAKE 3: JUMPING TO PROBIOTICS

I'm all for natural medicine and it is actually much broader than a supplement. You could run into issues especially if you are dealing with SIBO potentially exacerbating the issue if you opt for probiotics.


What to do instead: Seek guidance. Book in a discovery call here. Balance your gut bugs first. Weed before you seed! In SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) you already have too much bacteria in your small intestines so antimicrobials would be your first step. Changing your diet will offer relief. This is a case where short term elimination will be a strategy.


Overall, whether probiotics are the right supplement for you will be dependent on many other factors. Good Gut Health is found in the fundamentals (The 6 Pillars To Wellness). Each pillar requiring something different and with the right guidance, herbal medicine can help.


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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. Promoting consciousness in food choices helping people heal. Dietitian & Wellness Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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KEYWORDS: Gut Health, Gut, Bacteria, Probiotics, Myths, Microbiome, Microbes, Mistakes, Fibre, Variety, Supplements, Elimination, Eliminating Foods, Food, Intolerances, Intolerance, Gluten, Natural, Herbal, Medicine.


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