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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Unraveling the Mystery of the Gut Microbiome: A Comprehensive Guide

Ask me about gut health and I will most likely start talking about the Great Barrier Reef. What does the GBR got to do with your microbiome? Find out by reading more below. Scroll down to find my top 3 tips to achieve a thriving gut microbiome. Attend the NuFit Wellness Microbiome Masterclass to learn how to put this new knowledge into practice and reap the benefits of improved gut health. Join the waitlist for the next masterclass.


When I started learning about the gut microbiome it was likened to a rainforest and that just didn't mesh well with me. I wanted a better analogy. One that would encapsulate what happens when our gut microbes are starved of their preferred fuel source. At the same time the GBR was making headlines due to coral bleaching. So a new analogy was born! 'Coral Bleaching' is what happens when our gut microbiome diversity is reduced and our gut lining weakens.


Let me back track to explain.


Our gut microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria that are also called probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that we can find in fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi, sourcrout. Those are the same bacteria we are host to in our bodies. There are lots of different types (strains) of bacteria, however we can divide them into 3 main categories depending on what they eat and produce as waste. To us, their waste (poop) is a byproduct that is either healthful or harmful. If it is healthful it is known as a postbiotic.


Type 1: Fibre Loving (prebiotic fibre) - produce mostly healthful byproducts, postbiotics.

Type 2: Protein Loving - produce mostly harmful to our health byproducts.

Type 3: Not Fussy - they eat what you give them. If your diet is protein dominant they will eat protein and produce harmful byproducts. If your diet is higher in fibre, they will eat fibre and produce healthful byproducts.


So think of these bacteria as little pacman that eat the food that we consume and then they poop out chemicals that are either good or not so good to our health. These chemicals include short chain fatty acids, neurotransmitters, hormones. To be our healthiest best self we need to feed them what they need to produce the good chemicals.


You see, when you go to bake an apple pie you need the right ingredients. The flour, the apples, the cream, the spices. Similarly, if we want our bacteria to produce happy chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and the hormones we need for optimal performance then we need to give them the right ingredients. Feed them accordingly. They need prebiotic fibre.


Summary: we eat pre-biotic fibre (from plant based foods) and feed the probiotics (bacteria in our gut) which then excrete Post-biotics (healthful byproducts/waste of the bacteria).


Although capsules of probiotics may help boost our gut microbiome (bacteria proliferate fast), health benefits come from consuming pre-biotics from food rather than capsules. This is most likely because when we eat wholefoods we are consuming a variety of nutrients which all impact our metabolism for the better.


We do also need protein


I am not advocating for a completely meat free way of eating here. That will be your choice. You most certainly can and will get protein from plant based sources. What we want is variety to achieve that Great Barrier Reef functioning at it's prime. When our gut microbiome is at it's best, it looks like a colourful thriving Great Barrier Reef with lost of different types of corals, fishies, big and small. This is what creates a strong gut lining that protects us from disease. A more robust gut microbiome also means a strong immune system.


When things go wrong


When we focus on growing only one type of bacteria and the wrong type of bacteria. When we are not consuming enough fibre from fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans, legumes and lentils, nuts and seeds, spices and herbs, then the protein loving bacteria start to proliferate. Our gut lining is made of protein so if we are starving our fibre loving bacteria by not eating the protective foods, the protein loving bacteria won't have any trouble nibbling at our gut!


So, cut out entire food groups, don't get enough fibre, have a predominantly meat based diet without the antioxidants, polyphenols of plants and you're gut microbiome starts to look like a bleached Great Barrier Reef with minimal diversity and a weak, imbalanced ecosystem of bacteria. You will easily get sick, overwhelmed, unable to focus or concentrate, poor memory, more pain and inflammation and likely be making your way towards metabolic syndrome. Food intolerancdes will also start to appear as a result of a weakend gut linning and reduction in bacteria.


But so many people feel great cutting out grains, beans and legumes, foods that usually cause them bloating! I don't disagree. This does happen. However, this is a temporary band aid solution to address the root cause of the intolerances - an already weakened gut lining, imbalance in the gut bacteria, toxin overload, overstimulated sympathetic nervous system.



A healthy fibre-fuelled gut microbiome, with a large diversity and abundance of bacteria likens the Great Barrier Reef at its prime. An imbalanced, protein-fuelled struggling gut microbiome will have low diversity and low abundance of bacteria likening a bleached coral reef system and result in a weak gut lining, also known as "leaky gut syndrome". The image above may refer to before cutting out foods and after cutting out entire food groups.



My top 3 tips to achieve a thriving gut microbiome, likening the Great Barrier Reef:


  • Start low and slow when it comes to fibre, especially if you have a low fibre diet at the moment.

  • Variety over quantity, meaning small amounts of lots of different plant based foods rather than overdosing on one single fruit or vegetables. This will also keep the overall "fodmaps" content of your food low.

  • Seek guidance to check whether you need to clear out harmful bacteria, fungi and parasites before growing your gut microbiome. Weed before you seed! The right guidance will save you stumbling in the dark for years and help you achieve a balanced gut microbiome in months. Book now.


Join the waitlist for the next Microbiome Masterclass to learn how to put this new knowledge into practice and reap the benefits..

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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: Mediterranean, Diet, Lifestyle, Traditional, Plants, Plant Dominant, Rainbow, Colour, Color, EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Eat, Eating, Health, Longevity, Healthy, Healthiest, Best, Dietary, Gut Health, Gut Microbiome, Leaky Gut, Gut Linning, Microbes, Bacteria, Fibre, Intolerances, FODMAPS, Variety, diversity, Probiotics, Prebiotics, Postbiotics.

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