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Top 3 Tips to IMPROVE your GUT HEALTH

September 06, 2022 me&my wellness / Kathy Ozakovic Season 1 Episode 118
Top 3 Tips to IMPROVE your GUT HEALTH
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me&my health up
Top 3 Tips to IMPROVE your GUT HEALTH
Sep 06, 2022 Season 1 Episode 118
me&my wellness / Kathy Ozakovic

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In this episode of me&my health up we speak with Gut Health expert - Kathy Ozakovic. Kathy provides insight into how you can improve your Gut Health.

About Kathy Ozakovic
 
Kathy is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Founder of NuFit Wellness. Her speciality is in Holistic Gut Health.  Kathy stepped away from working in hospitals to focus on guiding clients in proactive health and disease prevention. Through research, Kathy found her passion for gut health and focused on understanding the relationship between the human gut microbiome and wellbeing.

With personal and professional experience supporting individuals with Metabolic disease, Gut Health Issues, Performance Nutrition and Eating Disorders, Kathy has noticed that focusing on gut health helps these individuals improve physically and mentally.

About me&my Health Up & Host

me&my Health Up
seeks to enhance and enlighten the wellbeing of others. Host Anthony Hartcher is the CEO of me&my wellness which provides holistic health solutions using food is medicine, combined with a holistic, balanced, lifestyle approach. Anthony holds three bachelor's degrees in Complementary Medicine; Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine; and Chemical Engineering.

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Any information, advice, opinions or statements within it do not constitute medical, health care or other professional advice, and are provided for general information purposes only. All care is taken in the preparation of the information in this Podcast. [Connected Wellness Pty Ltd] operating under the brand of “me&my health up”..click here for more

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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode of me&my health up we speak with Gut Health expert - Kathy Ozakovic. Kathy provides insight into how you can improve your Gut Health.

About Kathy Ozakovic
 
Kathy is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Founder of NuFit Wellness. Her speciality is in Holistic Gut Health.  Kathy stepped away from working in hospitals to focus on guiding clients in proactive health and disease prevention. Through research, Kathy found her passion for gut health and focused on understanding the relationship between the human gut microbiome and wellbeing.

With personal and professional experience supporting individuals with Metabolic disease, Gut Health Issues, Performance Nutrition and Eating Disorders, Kathy has noticed that focusing on gut health helps these individuals improve physically and mentally.

About me&my Health Up & Host

me&my Health Up
seeks to enhance and enlighten the wellbeing of others. Host Anthony Hartcher is the CEO of me&my wellness which provides holistic health solutions using food is medicine, combined with a holistic, balanced, lifestyle approach. Anthony holds three bachelor's degrees in Complementary Medicine; Nutrition and Dietetic Medicine; and Chemical Engineering.

Credits

Podcast editing: WE EDIT PODCASTS

Podcast Disclaimer
Any information, advice, opinions or statements within it do not constitute medical, health care or other professional advice, and are provided for general information purposes only. All care is taken in the preparation of the information in this Podcast. [Connected Wellness Pty Ltd] operating under the brand of “me&my health up”..click here for more

Support the Show.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Don't want to continuously rely on taking probiotics that can get really expensive. So we need to learn how to actually nourish our existing gut bugs, feed them the right types of fibers, and also maintain those healthy practices and habits because our gut bugs are affected by our stress levels. They are affected by how much sunshine we get in the day, by meditation practices by exercise, again, taking that holistic approach.

Anthony Hartcher:

That is Kathy Ozakovic, and you've landed on the me and my health up podcast. I'm your host, Anthony Hartcher, a clinical nutritionist and lifestyle medicine specialist. The purpose of this podcast is to enhance and enlighten your well being. And today Kathy's going to be doing that just for you. We're going to be talking about three practical tips to improve your gut health and it's part two of this gut health series that we're discussing on. And Kathy, is it uncredited practicing dietitian and founder of New fit wellness, a bit more about Kathy, she started working in hospitals and focused on guiding clients in a proactive health and disease prevention approach. Through research, Kathy found her passion for gut health and focused on understanding the relationship between the human gut microbiome and well being she practices as a holistic dietitian. And he's very pragmatic in her approach to health and wellness. And I just so excited to be back chatting with Kathy again. So without much further ado, I'll love to welcome you into the discussion I'm having with Kathy. Welcome back on the show. Kathy Ozakovic. How are you today?

Kathy Ozakovic:

I'm doing well. Thanks, Anthony for having me again.

Anthony Hartcher:

So great to have you on your first episode was a real hit on improve your gut health. There's lots of questions coming through that we want to address. And so this episode, I guess, a deeper dive into what we discussed in the first episode, like we certainly spoke about from a big picture perspective, and you gave some great analogies around describing the gut health like a coral reef and, and it was fantastic in terms of visualizing what you're saying. And so today, I'm really keen to have a deeper dive into how the listeners can improve their gut health.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Awesome. Yeah, that great barrier reef analogy always works a treat doesn't, that it's something that we can all resonate with.

Anthony Hartcher:

Absolutely. And I'm sure you've got some other great analogies to share today. So let's just start off for those that have missed the first episode, a little bit of background about you, I think would be good. So a

Kathy Ozakovic:

little bit about me. So I personally through year 10, up to first year of uni even went through an eating disorder. And for me, coming out of this eating disorder, I suffered a lot of gut health issues, and I didn't know anything about it, I kind of stumbled through the dark and didn't have the support that I really wanted. And going through that and learning about food and how it affects the body, I turned my obsession for food and calorie counting and restricting into a love for food as performance food as helping me at whatever I want to achieve in life. So when I went on to uni, to study dietetics, I delved deeper into my knowledge about this, and took a gap year to really heal my own relationship with food. That was a really critical time for me going traveling, meeting new people, and understanding more about my body and my relationship with food. It wasn't until later that I found out about gut health. And it actually helped me put together all the puzzle pieces of what I had experienced over the five years, six years of going through my recovery. It's been 10 years now since I started my recovery. And it's just so rewarding to have the whole picture and understand that. What was really going on with my own personal gut microbiome. Where was this bloating and these intolerances. Where was it all popping up from and how I had actually weakened my own gut lining through the restrictive practices that I was doing, and very happy to say and share that now. I'm not afraid of food and not afraid of any intolerances as I have a very strong gut lining and practice what I preach and it's a very, very holistic approach to it. I specialize in helping people understand the food aspect of things and Nutrition and Dietetics but I always also emphasize it's a holistic approach and reaching out to and connecting people with practitioners to help with their mindset and meditation. is an exercise and light therapy, all these things that help actually achieve the best possible gut health.

Anthony Hartcher:

I love that holistic approach you take Kathy, because it's certainly much needed in terms of optimal outcomes. You just mentioned how bloating and digestive discomfort really affected you when you know you're obsessed about food and not eating well. And you went on that journey, and there's probably the listeners tuned in and, and they may have had this experience or maybe experiencing this discomfort and bloating and not feeling great or around digestion. And I probably ended up going to the chemist to get some probiotics, because they've read the probiotics is good for digestion. And I know we certainly touched on probiotics in the first episode. Part one, however, we haven't had a deep dive into talking about specific strains. And I know that you're a big advocate of finding the right strain for the person's condition. So if you could share more on that, that would be fantastic.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Absolutely. So probiotics are part of the story. It's never as simple as taking a probiotic and expecting that your guts going to be healed. Probiotics are those little gut bugs that we have those little machines that work away at digesting fibers that we ingest. So when our gut microbiome is lacking in those healthy gut bugs, those gut bugs that are good for us that digest fibers, if we reintroduce fibers, suddenly, we can get that bloating, and those intolerances because we don't have those gut bugs to actually help us digest the foods. This is something that I experienced as well, especially with nuts and seeds, as I was restricting so much and weakened my gut lining. And most likely, my biodiversity of gut bugs was just lacking when I would eat foods that I hadn't eaten for a while, all of a sudden, I looked nine months pregnant at times, and I was like 16 years old. So it's never as simple as taking a probiotic on its own, we need to actually feel those gut bugs. And then again, we need to be strain specific on what probiotics we're taking. So for example, people with irritable bowel syndrome, research has shown a specific strain called Lactobacillus plantarum. There is much research out there to actually confirm lactobacillus plantarum helps people that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. And if you want to be even more specific lactobacillus plantarum is really good in combination with partially hydrolyzed guar gum, which is a prebiotic fiber. So probiotics, a little gut bugs feed on prebiotic fibers to produce short chain fatty acids, we covered this last time. So if we give the probiotic what it means, what to feed on, it's going to produce their waste product, their poop, short chain fatty acids help strengthen our gut lining. So suddenly, you see that you can't just take the probiotic, we need to make sure you're getting the prebiotics, we need to make sure the bigger picture is happening, right. And we don't want to continuously rely on taking probiotics that can get really expensive. So we need to learn how to actually nourish our existing gut bugs, feed them the right types of fibers, and also maintain those healthy practices and habits because our gut bugs are affected by our stress levels. They are affected by how much sunshine we get in the day, by meditation practices by exercise. Again, taking that holistic approach.

Anthony Hartcher:

And Kathy, in the previous episode, we talked about diversity and how important it is. And it came up in your top three tips to improve your gut health. So just on that diversity front, you're mentioning pre recording how important it is to not only to have increased fiber and the different types of fibers but also to have fermented foods Incorporated. So yeah, if you could explain that to the listeners, that would be great.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Absolutely. I'm really excited about the fermented foods research has just recently come out. I think it was around December 2021. end of last year. So there's this research paper that's come out. And what the researchers did is they took two groups of people, one group of people went on a high fermented foods diet. So they incorporated up to I think it was six servings of fermented foods to each main meal throughout the day. I'm pretty sure it lasted for about four or six weeks as well. And then this other group of people went on a high fiber diet. And it's really hard to control for what people do with the diet. If throughout the day, they had a dietitian, help guide people and really found that people generally because of the types of diets they were advised to follow, they would cut out a lot of those processed foods, a lot of those ultra processed foods. So at the end, they wanted to compare the gut microbiome diversity. And what they found is, and this is really interesting, the people who had the high fermented foods diet actually did a little bit better in increasing biodiversity of the gut microbiome. So they increase the variety the types of gut bugs that they had in their microbiome, that great barrier reef coral reef system thrived. But the other interesting thing is with the people with the high fiber diet, so what they found in that cohort and those people is that people who started with a diverse gut microbiome did better with the high fiber diet. So again, coming back to that whole what I was saying before of, we need to have those little gut bad machines to help us digest those fibers. So actually, giving people a high fiber diet where they might not be used to it and might not have those gut bugs, that's where we're going to cause some upset. It's all about tapering, slowly increasing the fibers and the different variety. That's what's really important. And whilst we slowly increase the types of fibers, we want to account for that holistic approach, and make sure other things in order to help increase the biodiversity. And again, I would actually say this is a great research paper to emphasize the importance of both both fermented and high fiber foods. Coming back to the variety of foods again, we talk about eat the rainbow. I love this analogy of eating the rainbow because colorful, it's so it's so good with kids, we want to eat as many colors as possible, because different colors of plant based foods, so your fruits, your vegetables, your whole grains, your nuts, and your seeds, beans, and legumes, all these plant based foods. Each type has different types of fibers. So we're effectively feeding different micro gut bugs, microbes. So eat the rainbow can sometimes be very overwhelming for people, so many colors. I have actually made this a little bit simpler by saying let's start with the traffic lights, making sure that each main meal, you have something red, something yellow, or orange, and something green on your plate in your sandwich in your wrap, no matter what you're eating. Is it a rice dish is that the pasta dish, we want at least those three colors to be visible.

Anthony Hartcher:

Fantastic tips, Kathy, very practical. And I love that approach. You have around incremental improvement, not going from zero to hero with fiber. So I really love that sort of slow, methodical type of the client really support them and nurture them. And then you overlay that with holistic health principles, which absolutely yeah, outcome. So really, really great tips just on the the one around fermented foods, can you give some examples of fermented foods.

Kathy Ozakovic:

So it was really important, the researchers made it very clear that the fermented foods that the people had to choose were from the fridge, because those probiotics, those little gut bugs and microbes, they are alive creatures, so they can't actually survive outside the fridge. If you're looking at pickles, for example, they're shelf stable, and they're not going to have any of these, these microbes that we want to be ingesting. So they chose things like Kimchi and sauerkraut from the fridge also got shots. Kombucha has a bit of these as well. And what else did they choose? Anything from the fridge and the fermented kind of in the glass jars around each other? You can assume that they have these probiotics, gut bugs in them was yogurt Incorporated. Yes. And absolutely. Yeah, that's right yogurt, kefir, and we can find filling yolk which is a Swedish type of milk at our grocery stores as well, like a running yogurt.

Anthony Hartcher:

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing that Kathy. And you mentioned fiber and the importance of having fiber in your diet and slowly increasing it and getting it really diverse in terms of the rainbows. Now, as you know, there's a rising trend with the Keto and carnivore diet and that that would certainly supply some of the fiber in your diet because you're so full on the protein and saturated fats. So I just love to get your thoughts on this ketone carnivore movement and its impact on gut health. Ah,

Kathy Ozakovic:

yes, another thing I'm very passionate about. It's a strategy. There is research to show that the keto diet can help improve blood sugar levels and our biomarkers. However, it's not meant for long term I really want to highlight it is not long term sustainable. And if we're going to follow this for years, it's actually starving out those good gut bugs. So it is effectively weakening our gut lining for the long term. And there is this myth going around that, you know, in the times that we were hunter gatherers, we ate a lot of meat and meat based foods, because that was available to us. Well, in actual fact, when we look at what we were eating before, in these hunter gatherer times, one in every 20 Hunt was successful. So we couldn't get our hands on these animals and these meats very often, we actually relied on the plant based foods on the berries and the weight that was out there that we could easily pick. And, actually, research has shown in those times of hunter gatherer, we would get up to 150 grams of fiber a day. Compare this to the average Australian intake of 20 grams of fiber a day, we are well below what we used to get. And the recommended is around 30 grams of fiber a day, we are below the recommendations. And it's not surprising that actually Australia is climbing up the ladder with pretty bad gut health at the moment.

Anthony Hartcher:

So definitely a short term thing to get on if you're looking to just stabilize your blood sugars and maybe lose a bit of weight. But it's certainly not a long term diet that someone should be looking at taking on.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Absolutely. And you know, even that short term, you don't have to do it, if you don't want to don't force yourself to follow a trend that maybe doesn't fit your lifestyle. And again, looking at it as a strategy, if you're going to go and do this, having the support and the guidance to do it right, and how you're going to come off it and how you're going to actually change those habits. Like you mentioned before, I'm all about that holistic approach. And the reason we want to take a fiber back in after a while of not having it, it's also so that we can work on the habits overall and the lifestyle, we want to be able to maintain it long term, we want to be able to keep the weight off, if that was our goal of weight loss. We want to be able to keep those blood sugars stable as well. And we need to really learn healthy habits and practices around this

Anthony Hartcher:

fantastic suggestions. And yeah, I'd love to, for you to summarize in your top three tips around practical strategies on how the listener can improve their gut health.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Absolutely. So last time, I shared my top three strategies, which was number one, increasing fiber, those plant based foods. So really, the best way to do this is focusing on the healthy plate model. The healthy plate model is available to everyone to look up later IBI came out with this, and it is half our plate to be covered with plant based foods with those vegetables, a quarter of the plate to be our carbohydrate source, which also includes corn, beans, and legumes can be included in that carbohydrate source as well. Keeping in mind that beans and legumes also provide a bit of protein. So the last quarter of the plate is protein about palm size or a deck of cards if anybody remembers what that looks like. But really, when you look at this healthy plate model, three quarters of the plate is plant based foods. There is no way you're not going to get enough fiber if you focus on this healthy plate model. And then really number two is that variety, making sure that those plant based foods aren't different colors. The traffic lights like I said something red, something yellow or orange and something green. And we varying this daily or every second day really trying not to rotate the carrot, broccoli and cucumber. We need to expand our taste buds and expand our variety and make sure that even our farmers because we have effectively limited what our farmers are providing us by not increasing our variety of foods. So when we go to the grocery store, it's so easy. tomato, cucumber, carrot, tomato, cucumber, carrot, well, that's all you're going to find if that's all you're buying, because that's it all farmers are going to be providing and growing. Make sure you choose something that you haven't had in a while, at least every second third day. And tip number three is really drinking enough water throughout the day. And this can actually be hard in the winter months, the colder months. So going for warm teas. And personal favorite of mine is chicory root, which is caffeine free as well I use this and suggest this for clients who may have gone a little bit over caffeine intake. I call it fake coffee, it can be quite nurturing and lovely. And it's actually a fiber. chicory root is a fiber. So we're getting a bit of those benefits there as well. Going for soups and teas. And even a hot cocoa counts as liquid as water going for, you know, as sugar free as possible. Simple, that's going to be better for you filled with antioxidants. Even if you wanted to melt some dark chocolate on your own over the campfire. This is lovely,

Anthony Hartcher:

beautiful. It's making my mouth water as we speak. So I love those suggestions, Kathy? And is there like top three things to avoid or minimize?

Kathy Ozakovic:

Yeah, definitely. So when we actually do the top three suggestions of including those plant based foods, and that variety and drinking enough water naturally just like happens in a lot of research, people tend to avoid the high processed foods. So definitely amongst those top three to avoid avoiding processed foods, and those ultra processed foods. So what I'm talking about here is anything that is packaged and high in trans fats and saturated fats and sugars and added sugars and added salts. But honestly, that would be one of the biggest ones. And being aware of your portion control, I would say being aware of your meat portions. Again, going back to the healthy plate model, if you focus on that healthy plate model, naturally, your protein source might decrease in size. As you focus on more plant based foods, you will be more likely to meet that recommendation of a deck of cards, which may seem like little however, three quarters of that plate is filled with plants and fiber that's going to help fill you up. In terms of avoiding I'm much more of a inclusive person. So let's make sure that we include these healthy foods, and everything else will kind of it just kind of disappears. There's no room for the for the carbonated drinks for the Cokes, there's no room for that much alcohol anymore when we're getting so much of the good stuff. Definitely. And another concept that I focus on with my clients is real food. Again, including more real foods helps us avoid those highly processed foods. And real foods are everything that goes in a tree grows in the ground grows on the shrub, or was one swimming or running around. Right. So these are real foods. When you get a packaged food, and you turn it over looking at the ingredients. Make sure you understand those ingredients. So you know that something is ultra processed when you start seeing numbers, colors, preservatives, emulsifiers, gums, stabilizers. Those are your ultra processed foods, make sure you understand the ingredients and you can replicate it at home. Sometimes I'll even tell clients buy these suits, you'll see the ingredients you can actually replicate it at home in your Thermomix this is how you can learn to use your fancy gadgets at home. Just replicate it.

Anthony Hartcher:

Absolutely love it. Love your tips, Kathy. And the listeners say how can they best connect with you if they need that support around improving their gut health?

Kathy Ozakovic:

Absolutely, just go to my website, new fit wellness. So that's WWW dot new fit wellness.com.au. And you'll find a lot of information here. I love writing my blog as well. And you can reach out through a complimentary free discovery call it 15 minute chat if you wanted to ask me anything and see how to work with me as well to help guide you on your journey towards better gut health.

Anthony Hartcher:

Fantastic and listeners. I'll include Cathy's website in the show notes. So you can go directly to the show notes. Click on that and it'll take you directly to her website. And yeah, to select to thank you again for coming on the show and imparting your wisdom and really getting down deeper into gut health to really improve the listeners gut health. So thank you, Kathy.

Kathy Ozakovic:

Thanks for having me. Anthony.

Anthony Hartcher:

Your Welcome and to the listeners. Thank you for tuning in to another insightful episode and stay tuned in for more insightful episodes. And please share this episode for anyone that you'd know would who would benefit from you know, if you hear them complaining about bloating or discomfort or thinking about doing the carnivore diet or the keto diet, please, you know, refer them to this episode because it could really help point them in the right direction. And stay tuned for more insightful episodes of me and my health.