You may be wondering what is so important about eating 30 different plant foods each week? Maybe you’ve heard about it but can’t understand how it’s possible on a low FODMAP diet. The good news is, it’s much more achievable than you may think. Read on to learn more about why eating 30 different plant foods a week is beneficial for our health and how you can achieve this on a low FODMAP diet!
What’s so great about eating 30 different plant foods a week?
Research has shown there are a variety of health benefits that are associated with eating 30 or more different plant foods each week. The American Gut Project found that people who consumed 30 or more plant foods each week had a more diverse gut microbiome compared to people who consumed 10 or less. It is believed that a more diverse gut microbiome is better, since each different microbe (the bacteria and other microorganisms that live in our gut) plays a different role in our health!
Additionally, those who ate 30 or more plant foods had a greater number of bacteria which produce a compound called short chain fatty acids. These short chain fatty acids play an important role in maintaining the health of the cells in our digestive tract. In fact, they help to minimise bowel cancer risk!
How can I achieve this?
So first things first, you may be wondering what is classified as a plant food? There are actually 6 types of plant foods, so it does include more than just fruit and vegetables. Plant foods include fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds – essentially anything that comes from a plant.
A simple starting point is to count all of the different plant foods you are eating each week. It’s as easy as making a list in the notes section on your phone or a scrap piece of paper lying around at home. Once you have a list of all the plant foods you ate in a week, tally up the number and use this as your starting point. Then each week aim to include one additional plant food and you are one step closer to the goal of 30 or more.
How can I achieve this on a low FODMAP diet?
You may be thinking that this doesn’t sound possible on a low FODMAP diet. The good news is, it’s actually a lot easier than you think. It just involves a few small changes to your regular diet.
Try swapping a single type of berry for mixed berries, a single type of nut for mixed nuts or brown rice for brown rice and quinoa mix. This can double or triple your plant food tally with just one simple step! Some other ways to increase your plant foods include adding extra vegetables to your meals, using fresh herbs or snacking on fruit and nuts throughout the day.
Here is just one example a low FODMAP day on the plate:
|Breakfast||Homemade low FODMAP muesli with a mix of low FODMAP nuts (e.g. macadamia, pecans, peanuts) chia seeds and linseeds
served with yoghurt and mixed berries (raspberry, strawberry, blueberries)
|Morning tea||Peanut butter and pumpkin seed slice||4||May vary depending on nuts included in muesli/slice|
|Lunch||Burrito bowl with beef mince, brown rice and quinoa mix, grated carrot, cucumber, chickpeas (1/4 cup)||5|
|Afternoon tea||Veggie Sticks (Carrot, cucumber, capsicum) with home-made hummus||2||Cucumber, carrot and chickpeas counted at lunch|
|Dinner||Grilled salmon with a side of baked potatoes, broccolini and Greek salad (cucumber, tomato, lettuce, feta)||4||Cucumber was counted at lunch|
|Dessert||Home-made blueberry and strawberry crumble||0||Berries included at breakfast|
This is just an example of what a day on the plate could look like and we’ve already hit a total of 23 different plant foods. At this rate you will easily eat your 30 different plant foods by the end of the week!
It can be helpful to track the number of different plant foods you are eating at the start to help you get towards the goal of 30. So, what are you waiting for? Get tracking and you’ll be on your to improving your gut and overall health in no time!
Image sourced from @Pinterest
Start feeling better now! By signing up to The FODMAP Challenge you will receive meal plans, recipe ideas, and regular support with other resources, to make this as easy for you as possible.