Updated: Jul 21
So we all know that we should be aiming to have at least 5 portions per day of fruit and vegetables but what are 30 plant points and what makes this different? We are sharing top tips for meeting this goal.
In 2003, the government set out to get our country eating more fruit and vegetables by launching their 5 a day campaign. These 5 a day fruit and vegetables can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned or juiced.
However, we can now see through recent research, we would not only benefit by aiming for 5 a day but also improving the diversity of the foods we choose.
The American Gut Project reviewed the stool samples of over 11,000 participants from around the world, including the UK, US and Australia. They found that when participants ate 30 plant points or more per week, their microbiome was far more diverse than those who had only 10 plant points or less per week.
In other words, the more different plant points a person eats, the larger the potential of microbial diversity in the gut.
Research suggests that having increased microbial diversity can make our gut more capable, resilient, and functions better than a microbiome with few kinds of bacteria.
So what counts as a plant point?
A plant point includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs and spices. Each of these count as 1 point, herbs and spices, oil, tea and coffee are ¼ point
Top tips to be able to achieve this goal
Buy mixed bags of nuts and seeds - Add them to your smoothies, sprinkle them on salads, make overnight oats, add to homemade bread, homemade cereal bars, use them in stir fries etc.
Make salads with a mix of leaves - Why not choose either a mixed salad bag or buy two types of leaves I.e lettuce and spinach. This is an easy way to add extra points.
Mix up the dips - Choose/make dips which are made from 1 or 2 pulses/veg and/ or include spices/herbs such as red pepper hummus (includes red pepper and chickpeas), guacamole (includes chilli’s, lemon/lime juice and avocado) . Don't forget different types of vegetables to dip!
Add more beans/pulses to your meals -Why not add some tinned beans to your salad or add them to your leek and potato soup. You could also crisp up some kale in the oven to have on top of your soup to have instead of croutons
Add more herbs/spices to meals - If you use 4 different ones in each evening meal you have, this would equate to 7 plant points. Its such an easy way to add plant points and food tastes delicious!
No matter how big or small, all positive changes can make a big difference to your overall gut health.
We have created a booklet all about plant points - check out our website for more!
If you want to know more and would like to book a 1-1 consultation, please take a look at our website for further information.
If you want to ask us any questions prior to booking, feel free to email us or book your FREE discovery call which you can book via our website.
Gut love to you all
Cat & Rosie, Registered Dietitians
McDonald, D., Hyde, E., Debelius, J. W., et al., (2018). American Gut: an Open Platform for Citizen Science Microbiome Research. mSystems, 3(3), e00031-18. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00031-18
Lozupone, C. A., Stombaugh, J. I., Gordon, J. I., Jansson, J. K., & Knight, R. (2012). Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota. Nature, 489(7415), 220–230. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11550