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Plant variety & gut health

You might have seen the guidance to aim for 30 different plant-based foods a week.

According to the world cancer research fund, “Researchers at the American Gut Project found that people who ate more than 30 different plant foods each week had a more diverse gut microbiome compared with those who ate 10 or fewer. The research also showed that people who hit the 30 mark had more bacteria that produce something called short chain fatty acids. And these fatty acids have been shown to reduce your risk of bowel cancer”.

This variety of plant-based foods is also a key part of a Mediterranean diet, the benefits of which are well documented.

The key word, in terms of my diet, is “different”. I find it quite easy to hit my 5 a day; I usually get between 7 and 10 80g portions per day, but I tend to eat towards the same things multiple times a week. Broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber etc, so I thought I’d keep a log to see how diverse my diet was in this area.

The surprising thing was the change in mindset after the first couple of days.

Day one and two I’m already on about 15 and thinking this is easy, I’m going to get 70 different things, never mind 30. Then the realisation came that I had used up most of my go-to sources and would have get other things into my diet.

I went shopping with that mindset, which made me buy things I wouldn’t usually buy, but which would be easy, diverse and that I’d enjoy trying. Celery, passionfruit, baby-corn to eat raw, avocado, many different types of nuts and seeds.

Remember, we are talking about increasing the variety and quantity of plants we eat, not decreasing the amount of meat we eat – they are two different things. There’s no reason (other than for ethical reasons) to cut out lean meat, poultry and fish (red meat and processed meat should definitely be limited), but adding in a wide variety and quantity of plants is always my number one recommendation for good nutrition health.


IDEAS FOR 30+ VEG, FRUIT, GRAINS, LEGUMES, NUTS & SEEDS A WEEK.

Watermelon
Honeydew melon
Cucumber
Tomato
Lettuce
Cauliflower
Almonds
Raisens
Raspberries
Blueberries
Onion
Mushrooms
Spinach
Apple
Pear
Walnuts
Hazel nuts
Peanuts (technically a legume but still counts)
Flax
Chia
Quinoa
Chick peas
Lentils
Sourdough bread
Pomegranate seeds
Plum
Avocado
Frozen cous cous
Baby sweetcorn
Broccoli
Rice
Potatoes
Red pepper
Water chestnut
Olive oil
Oats
Blackcurrants
Strawberries
Banana
Mandarins
Carrots
Plums
Pearl barley
Swede
Leek
Cabbage
Green beans

Read More

https://www.wcrf-uk.org/our-blog/could-you-eat-30-plant-based-foods-each-week

https://www.nutritionscotland.org/30-plants-a-week-the-new-5-a-day

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/why-eat-30-plant-foods

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/what_should_you_eat_for_a_healthy_gut