Because mixing up what’s on your plate is great for your skin, overall health and resident microbes.
It’s often said that variety is the spice of life. Feeding your family the same foods day in, day out is not likely to win them over. And your other important life partners—your gut microbes—feel the same way. Just like us, they appreciate diversity.
It’s estimated that there are about 1000 different species of both good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome and each plays a role in your health. Some are important for enhancing your immunity, others influence your moods, metabolism, digestion and even heart health.
Similarly, different foods feed different microbes. Eating a varied diet helps cultivate a more diverse microbiome, which has been shown to be good for your metabolic, immune and cognitive health. So with that in mind, it’s time to get out of your rut and start mixing things up in the kitchen… to keep everyone happy.
We change our clothes to suit the seasons, so why not switch foods too? Knowing what is actually in season at the supermarket can tricky when almost everything is available all year round—to tune into when fruits and vegetables are at their best, head to a farmer’s market. A recent Stanford study of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania found their microbiome changed seasonally as their diets altered. Research is ongoing into whether seasonally changing our microbiome has health benefits, however, we don’t need a study to tell us that fruits and vegetables taste better and contain more nutrients when they are organic, in season and freshly harvested.
AIM FOR MORE FIBRE
Chances are you aren’t eating enough plant fibre. Despite our healthy reputation, a 2018 Australian study found that more than 99 per cent of children and 96 per cent of adults don’t eat the recommended intake of five serves of vegetables a day. Low-fibre Western diets have been linked to a loss of microbial diversity and may be contributing to rising rates of obesity, along with other lifestyle diseases.
Your gut microbes love to eat prebiotic fibre. Prebiotics (non-digestible plant fibres) that are resistant to digestion in the stomach and intestines become food for the microbes residing in your colon, thus encouraging the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria. Tip: try CLEANSE for a delicious and easy way to enjoy a daily boost of alkalising greens and prebiotic fibre in a bio-available form.
Embrace Eye Candy
Instead of rolling your eyes when a friend posts their best breakfast on social media, bookmark it. Create a set of tabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner to refer back to when you need inspiration. Follow a few healthy foodies who live in your part of the world and take note of what fruits and vegetables they are using right now. Making your own meals look prettier will also diversify what’s on your plate—aim for plenty of polyphenol-rich, colourful plant foods and make them the star attractions rather than mere side dishes.
Get Sorted On Sundays
Let’s face it, those busy mid-week nights can make ordering takeaway awfully tempting. Shopping and meal-prepping on weekends will help keep you on track. Signing up to a weekly grocery or organic veggie box delivery can also save you precious downtime. Make a few treats to take to work or pop in kids’ lunchboxes. And consider doubling the batch to pop some in the freezer, too.
Feed Like-Minded Friends
When you’re making a batch of your favourite winter soup or summer salad, double your quantities and then swap dishes with friends. Along with diversifying your diet and getting out of your own food rut with minimal effort, you will discover your friends’ hidden talents. And if you happen to have friends or family who like to make lacto-fermented foods then give them an empty jar or two to fill for you. Or throw a probiotic party to sample and swap ferments. Your microbial friends will love it, too.
How are you diversifying your diet? We’d love to hear!