Fun Facts About Your Gut Microbiome

by Ashleigh Feltham,  Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

You’ve probably heard of the gut microbiome, but do you know what it is? A fun fact to share at parties is that there are more microbes in your gut than there are cells in your body. These microbes heavily influence the health and function of your body. They also impact your risk of developing illness and disease. It is important to consume a diet that promotes a more healthy volume and variety of microbes. Fibre provides the fuel for health-promoting gut microbes to function, so an adequate fibre intake should be a key component of your diet.

A good way to achieve this is to include plant foods like wholegrains, such as wholegrain bread, crackers, pasta, quinoa, rice or couscous. Also add in nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruit.

Another easy addition to your diet to promote a healthy gut microbiome is a soluble and prebiotic fibre called inulin. Soluble fibre will dissolve in water, and inulin helps to bulk up your stool, creating a healthy poo consistency. This helps to promote healthy bowels and reduce the chance of both diarrhoea and constipation.

Inulin can also help you feel satisfied for longer after eating, which can support healthy body weight. Soluble fibre also boasts a role in promoting stable blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar. This helps the body provide sustained energy rather than a high and then a sugar crash soon afterwards.

As a prebiotic fibre, inulin feeds the health-promoting microbes in your gut, which in turn support your health. Some of the benefits to your gut microbiome of including inulin as a prebiotic fibre include increasing the levels of health-promoting microbes, specifically Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. When these bacteria eat the prebiotic fibre they create messages including short-chain fatty acids. These metabolites influence the health and function of your body.

An adult needs 25-38g of dietary fibre each day. Including this amount of fibre will help to promote your overall health and well-being. As part of a healthy lifestyle, including 30 different plant foods in your diet each week.

Here are five fun facts you may not know about your gut microbiome:

  1. Everyone’s gut microbiome is different. Your gut microbiome is as unique to you as your fingerprint.
  2. The entire length of your digestive tract is between seven and ten meters in length.
  3. Ninety-five per cent of the bacteria in your body is in your large intestine.
  4. If you weigh 70kg, your gut microbiome weighs around 200g, which is about the weight of a mango.
  5. In a healthy human, your gut microbiome encodes more than 500,000 genes. Genes control DNA and RNA function. Your DNA and RNA determine a person’s characteristics and influence functions and processes in the body.

Take home message:

The types and amounts of different microbes, which make up your gut microbiome, largely determine your health status. Make sure you include fuel sources that feed healthy microbes to optimise your health for life.



The importance of a healthy gut microbiome is vital for your health. It promotes optimal immune function, metabolism of nutrients and organ health.