This week we will be discussing 30 Plants a Week, its proposed benefits, and how to incorporate it into your diet.
What is 30 Plants a Week?
30 Plants a Week (30PW) is a way to improve your food choices with the aim to help improve gut health, by increasing the diversity of good bacteria in the gut. Gut health plays a key role in overall health, mood, and hormone regulation.
30 plants may sound like a lot, however, numerous plant foods count towards your weekly goal of 30 different plants a week. There are six main plant groups including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. To work out how many different plants you are eating a week, use this list as a guide:
- Only 1 point is given for plants of the same variety.
- Different coloured plants of the same variety count (e.g., red, and green peppers).
- Fresh, dried, canned, and frozen plants all count
- Herbs and spices all count
- Nuts and seeds are all important plant foods
- Refined plants such as juices, and white grains don’t count as a point
What are the benefits of 30 Plants a Week?
There are numerous reported benefits of 30PW. One study showed that eating a varied diet promotes gut bacteria diversity, with another showing that varied diets increase gut stability .
A key study from the American Society for Microbiology viewed a large sample of people from the US, UK, and Australia to identify key factors in promoting gut health. This study found that gut bacteria in those who consumed over 30 plant types a week was more varied than those who consumed less than 10 plant types. Additionally, those who ate over 30 plants a week had less antibiotic resistance genes, promoting the possible use of antibiotics when needed .
Furthermore, 30PW promotes intake of fibre. Fibre is important for regulating blood sugar, keeping you full, and keeping you regular . In terms of gut bacteria, one study showed that high fibre diets are more diverse and promote better gut bacteria profiles than low fibre diets .
Finally, aiming for 30PW may increase the intake of polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds found largely in plant foods. They play a key role in protecting cells from reactive oxygen species, chemicals which can cause several illnesses. Other benefits of polyphenols include regulating blood lipids, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and inflammation, as well as promoting gut health .
How to incorporate 30 Plants a Week into your diet?
There are several ways that you can incorporate more plants into your diet and promote good gut health:
- Serve all your meals with at least one vegetable.
- Snack on or swap your desserts for fruits.
- Season your meals with plenty of herbs and spices.
- Add legumes to soups and curries.
- Swap butter for extra virgin olive oil when cooking.
- Switch to whole grains from refined grains.
- Incorporate a variety of whole grains into your diet such as quinoa and cereal.
- Enjoy cups of herbal tea.
30PW is a good way to increase good gut health as well as overall health. Making small changes to your lifestyle can promote numerous benefits to health and prevent from future health risks.
For more information about how I can support you with making changes to your diet, book a free 15-minute discovery call with me
Caroline Hill is a specialist menopause dietitian supporting women making dietary change. Caroline uses her extensive knowledge, skills and expertise of food and nutrition to help women manage their symptoms and weight during menopause. Caroline believes in providing sustainable, individualised, evidence-based advice to women making dietary change.