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  • Writer's pictureKim Atherton

30 Plant-foods a Week Challenge?

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Are you able to eat 30 different plant types each week for a Plant Alkaline Challenge? Your gut microbiome diversity will improve and there will be resultant health benefits if you simply ensure you have a variety of vegetables spread throughout the week. Are you up for the challenge?


30 plant-foods a week as a challenge - easy?


I hear you say, 'But I eat 5 vegetables every day. Where does 30 come from?' A study (see References) on fruit and vegetable intake and mortality, showed that eating 30 different plant based foods produced great positive impacts on our poop and hence on our health and longevity.


It may be easier to reach the magic 30 - easier than you think as you can include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and legumes. With all that list included, it is pretty easy if you think about it! Small amounts count so if you think adding a little sprig of parsley to your dish doesn't do anything, think again. It counts towards your 30 for the week. Bonus!


An extra bonus, is that different colours of the same vegetable count twice. So orange and purple carrots count as 2! This is because the different colours represent different polyphenols from the different colours. Polyphenols are anti-inflammatory and exhibit antioxidant behaviour. Oxidation in our bodies is like fire in our body. We need foods to put out any fires from our acidic lifestyles. We may be eating too many processed foods, and sugary foods, eating too much red meat, and drinking too much alcohol.


Periodic Table of Microbiome-Friendly Foods


Being a science nerd, I do love anything represented in a periodic table, and the below version shows us approximately 100 different ways we can incorporate vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs, and spices into our week. How many can you tick off? Are there any you haven't tried? Be adventurous!


Picture of the Periodic Table shape with different plant foods highlighted over the table.
How may plant foods shown in the table do you eat each week?

Mediterranean Diet


If you follow a Mediterranean style diet, and recipes for ease, you will easily be able to incorporate these foods. The main principles to follow on a Mediterranean Diet include the daily inclusion of the following principles:

  • Cook in Olive Oil

  • Eat vegetables in every meal of the day

  • Eat fruits as dessert (after meals)

  • Eat more fish, and less red meat

  • Snack on nuts

  • Eat wholegrain and not processed grains

  • Substitute legumes and beans for meat throughout the week


The Mediterranean Diet has proven positive impacts on reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and Type-2-Diabetes risk.


Plant foods contribution to the health of your Poop and you!


By eating natural food sources, and largely plant based foods, we incorporate a substantial amount of prebiotics into our diet. Prebiotics are foods our gut microbiome like to eat. By eating these types of food, our gut microbiome produces Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA's) which contribute to positive health outcomes. SCFA's ensure our gut barrier is intact, and has a lot of protective mucous with secretory IgA - our body's initial immune defence mechanism against pathogens. This is also the reason breast milk is so good for babies to get that immune protection from the mother. It is also why digging in the garden is good for us as dirt has a lot of beneficial bacteria for our microbiome. Planting a garden has many health benefits.


We will often experience skin issues if our gut barrier is compromised, and we may experience issues with our poop if the colonies in our gut are altered or dysbiotic. SCFA's are also anti-inflammatory. So the secret to good health, is lots of plant foods - 2/3 of our plate should be plant foods, while the remaining 1/3 can be of meat origin (preferable fish), and healthy fats.

Picture of fresh fruit and vegetables sitting across the rainbow of colours.
Eating the rainbow of colours ensures we get a variety of nutrients.

What might 30 plant foods a week look like?


Breakfast may look like - instead of just eating porridge, we can slice up 1/2 a banana, add a few blueberries, some nuts and seeds with a sprinkle of cinnamon and we have not just 1 point from the porridge oats, but an additional 4-5 from the fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices! A very impressive may to start the day - and that's just one day of the 30! Small additions, and rotating around our food choices for our other meals will bring us to 30 in no time.


If you would like to discuss how to change your diet, then please don't hesitate to make an appointment to discuss, on the bookings tab on my website via the booking button below.



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References:


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The information provided in this blog/article/handout is for your personal or other non-commercial, educational purposes. It should not be considered as medical or professional advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking or omitting to take any action based on this blog/article/handout. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises and assumes no liability regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this blog/article/handout are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this blog/article/handout is done at your own risk. Any third-party materials or content of any third-party site referenced in this blog/article/handout do not necessarily reflect the author’s opinion, standards or policies and the author does not assume any liability for them whatsoever.

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