Your “gut” - or digestive system - is involved in many vital processes. It is responsible for converting food into simple nutrients and delivering them to the body via the bloodstream. The gut plays a significant role in regulating hormones and excreting toxins, so keeping a healthy balance of good bugs in your intestine is critical to good gut health. A healthy gut microbiome, which can be influenced significantly by a healthy diet, helps protect against some of the nasty inflammatory diseases you can get in your bowel.
Poor gut health is not only linked to gastrointestinal problems but may play a role in the management of serious diseases like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. The gut contains 70% of the body’s immune system, and the gut microbiome plays a major role in immune health. There’s still a lot we don’t know about how the gut microbiome influences our wellbeing this certainly appears to be a promising area of health research - this truly is the next frontier of nutrition.
It’s now possible to have a gut microbiome test which tells you about the microorganisms that are in your gut, how they affect your gut health and how you can achieve a better balance between desirable and less desirable microorganisms. After some research I decided to try the Microba analysis. I had seen Microba used on ABC’s Catalyst program and I was impressed by their health professionals’ training which I decided to do before the test 🤓. The test comes with a report that also provides whole food suggestions to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria that are low in your sample and a 15-minute consultation with a microbiome coach who can help explain your report and suggest next steps in improving your overall health and wellbeing.
So how can you actually use the information provided? Well, you can...
🧐 Learn about your unique microbiome in high-resolution: Microba uses full "metagenomics" technology, which is a comprehensive DNA sequencing method to provide you with a picture of your gut microbiome.
🐛 Learn which microorganisms are in your gut and what they might be doing: Discover your microbial community's potential to digest carbohydrates, protein, and fat, as well as their potential to produce essential vitamins and nutrients.
💊 Learn if the probiotics you have been taking are actually present in your sample: Sometimes probiotic supplements don't colonise in the gut and therefore don't provide much benefit. Find out if your probiotics are doing so.
🍓 Learn which foods to add to your diet, to promote a healthy gut: Microba provides personalised dietary suggestions based upon the levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut and how to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria that are at lower levels.
📉 Monitor how your gut microbiome changes: See how quickly your microbiome recovers from antibiotics, or measure whether making lifestyle changes has worked.
🔍 Identify over-growths of a particular species: Sometimes we can have an imbalance in the types of bacteria in our gut microbiome which can have an impact on our health. Discover if you need to address an imbalance.
I had the analysis performed for myself and my husband (note I paid for the kits myself, they weren’t gifted, to see whether I’d be happy to recommend for others). As we typically kick off our day with my 5 star muesli. greek yoghurt, and a homemade green juice we are well on our way to 30 different plant foods that we are aiming for. So what did I learn? I learnt that although I eat enough fruit and veggies (well you’d hope so wouldn’t you?!) I could do with increasing my wholegrain intake. My husband needs to eat MORE veggies (by adding a salad at lunch) and also diversify his grain intake so a bit less wheat at lunch and more rice and quinoa for example. Luckily one of his favourite recipes is my Mexican quinoa and black bean bowl so he is happy to take that for lunch.
What are three things you can do right now to improve the health of your microbiome?
There is no “one size fits all” approach to improving your gut health, but there are some general changes you can try. Such as:
Make sure you are eating enough fibre (the Australian and NZ Nutrient Reference Values for reducing chronic disease risk is 28g of fibre/day for women and 38g fibre/day for men).
Try to eat diverse types of fibre from a variety of foods including fruits, vegies, legumes, cereal grains and nuts.
Limit saturated fats.
Microba Insight Practitioner
I’m pleased to be a Microba Insight practitioner, trained in interpreting the results from this test. I can help you understand your report clearly and come up with specific action steps to improve your gut health by going over the report together and coming up with meaningful strategies to better balance your microbiome. The test is expensive (A$349) and as such I don’t think everyone needs to take this test, however I’m very happy to recommend it. If your personal health challenges make it useful to have a more detailed picture of your gut microbiome, what you discover may help you finally get to the root cause of ongoing concerns. If you’re already in a good place with your gut health, you’ll still learn valuable information to improve your mood, immunity, mental focus, heart health, weight management and more.
If you’re curious about whether Mircoba Insight testing may be a good option for you to get more information about your gut microbiome, or if you’ve already taken the test and need help figuring out what to do with the results now, please reach out and let’s have a chat about it!
Please note that the information you receive is meant to help you gain a better understanding of your personal microbiome and how it may change in response to lifestyle choices. It is not a diagnostic tool and cannot be used to diagnose or treat medical conditions. My role is to answer any questions you have about your results and provide dietary advice.
Use this Practitioner Referral Code to ensure I get a copy of your results so I can started personalising your nutrition advice: RE6RY7Z4
Have you been thinking for a while that you would love to find out more about your gut health or why your weight won’t shift no matter what you do? Or maybe you just want to feel less bloated, have more energy and understand what food you are meant to be eating?
I’m offering a free 15 minute call to work out a nutrition action plan to get you feeling your best. There are no commitments just a friendly chat so we can work out if I’m the right person to help you reach your health goals.
Rachel is a university qualified Clinical Nutritionist based in Sydney, Australia. She is also the busy working mum of two teenagers, so is practical and realistic with her advice. Rachel offers private consultations to improve your family's health and well-being. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.