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Plants. What's the point?

We all grew up hearing about the importance of our ‘5-a-day’ — well, I hate to break it to you, but this is now outdated.

There are trillions of bacteria in our gut that need nourishing, and by focusing on just ‘5’ types of nutrients, we inevitably limit the nutrition our gut can gain.  It's important to eat as many different nutrients as possible. In fact, studies have shown the closest thing to a perfect diet is one that consists of 30 plant points. Sounds excessive, but hear us out. 

Let's start small. How many plant points have you had today? If you had porridge for breakfast, you had 1 point. Now add a sliced banana and sprinkle some nuts, seeds and cinnamon. Bam, that's 3 ¼ extra points right there. So you see, good gut health does NOT need to be expensive, tasteless or a time drain – simple changes can make a big difference.

 

What are plant points?

Plant diversity is the key to achieving your maximum plant points in a day. The Gut health doctor has worked out a way to tally up the range of your plant points across the week to come up with a score. There are six main plant groups called the Super Six: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes (beans and pulses), nuts and seeds and herbs and spices. All of these count towards your weekly plant-point goals. Each plant counts as 1 point, while herbs and spices count as ¼. 

-  The aim of the game is variety. If you eat 2 apples, that's still one point, but an apple and a banana, two points.

-  Variety within the same produce counts. Different coloured apples give you a new point for each.

-  Everything counts. Whether it's frozen, fresh, canned or cooked. Just remember to be conscious of eliminating extra added salt and sugar.

-  Extra virgin olive oil, herbs, spices, teas and coffees all count as ¼ point. This game is getting easier, isn't it?

-  Plot twist: refined plants like juices and white grains don’t count, so aim for whole foods.
 

Here is a cheat sheet to get you thinking about where to start

Some practical ways to incorporate the 30 plant points into your daily life and improve your gut health is to work with combos to rack up your score

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Blend it like Beckham:

Start your day with a smoothie packed with leafy greens, berries, a tablespoon of chia or flaxseeds, and a scoop of plant-based yoghurt.

  • A bowl of porridge topped with sliced fruit, some chia seeds or ground flaxseeds for an extra fibre boost gets you to 10% of your points already.

 

  • Lentils, chickpeas, or black beans are a delicious addition to soups, stews, or salads and are the ultimate source of fibre and protein for a healthy gut.

 

  • Include as many cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or pak choi in your salads or stir-fries. Don't stop there; add carrots, cucumbers, spinach and more to increase your plant points.
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Eat the rainbow:

Stir-fries are the best way to use a large variety of gut-friendly veggies like bell peppers, asparagus, and cabbage. Add some tofu or tempeh for a complete meal.

  • Be mindful of portion sizes and tune into your body's cues for hunger or fullness. Plant-based foods are beneficial for gut health, but it's important to maintain a balanced diet. 

 

  • Sip on soothing herbal teas like peppermint or ginger tea to help digestion and add to your score.

 

  • Snacking is not bad if you do it right. A handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds paired with fresh fruits all contribute to your points.
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There's no such thing as too much garlic:

Add garlic, ginger and turmeric to your cooking, not just for flavour but for their gut-soothing properties. Here is our blog on using excess garlic to help you think outside the box

7 Ways to Use Excess Garlic

Incorporating plant points into your daily life is a gradual process. Ease yourself into it and keep adding varieties and explore combinations. Grubby recipes are an easy way to stay on top of your plant points, some of our favourite meals like our recipe #245 Thai Quinoa Rainbow Salad hits 10 points in just one serving! 

Start collecting your Plant Points
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