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Updated: Apr 28, 2023

If you heard: “Eating 30 different plant foods weekly supports your microbiome” you might react the way we did when we first heard that number: GET REAL!! But reality is sometimes better than you imagine, so do what we did, and start counting! You may be very pleasantly surprised. It is a goal you can achieve!

TRY IT: and remember, you are counting ALL of your different plant foods consumed during the week.

chart of plant foods

True, herbs and spices are eaten in smaller amounts, but they have strong health benefits. They are an important part of your 30, and useful for boosting your count! If your count isn’t as high as you’d like, SHINE is here to help!

Where is this information from? The American Gut Project, established in 2012, has been examining the microbiomes of stool samples from over 11,000 people in 45 different countries. This research has shown that the more nutritious, nutrient-dense plant foods people ate, the healthier their microbiomes. People who ate more than 30 different plant foods a week had more diverse microbiota than people who ate less than 10. And more diversity in the microbiome is a very good thing. It is associated with less chronic illness, better immunity, healthy weight, slower aging, reduced inflammation and even better mood. The Gut Project is likely to come up with lots more helpful information. It has already confirmed that eating this wide variety of plant foods is associated with an increase in anti-inflammatory chemicals that benefit your cardio-vascular system, as well as a reduction in antibiotic-resistant genes in your gut bacteria. It has also shown us that Bifido bacteria species, which are the predominant species in a healthy large intestine, play an important role in terms of the diversity and stability of gut microbiota. These Bifido bacteria are also supported by eating lots of plant foods. Your microbiome can be likened to your internal farm. If you weed, seed and feed it well, it will help nourish you (Prebiotics and Probiotics), and keep you healthy. And it thrives on a clean, healthy and varied diet, just like you do! Easy additions to get your 30 plants: It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of work! • A variety of grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole rye crackers • Dressings and drizzles (see Tahini Dressing in the eBook) • Pestos (see SHINE’s vegan pesto recipes, coming up in summer) • Seedy sprinkles (see super salad sprinkle in the eBook) • Pickles and fermented foods

• Slaws and vinegar-marinated sides (see beet recipe in e book) • Fruit (unsweetened if possible) as snacks, in smoothies, on a salad • Nuts on salads, in porridge, or as snacks • Muesli (see Morning Muesli in the eBook) • Herbal teas • Chickpeas or lentils added to soups and salads • A handful of raw spinach thrown into the bottom of your bowl of hot soup or stew. Many of these can be made up in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer to use as you need them. SHINE will be offering lots more recipes to boost your personal plant count. In the meanwhile, explore our eBook for a great tasty start!

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