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Why 30-a-week is the new 5-a-day! - Group Talk - 7th May 2024.

We have all heard of the 5-a-day campaign based on advice from the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.), which recommends eating a minimum of 400g's of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health concerns;

  • heart disease

  • strokes

  • some types of cancer

A portion is seen as 80g'sof fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables provide us with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of dietary fibre contributing to a healthy balanced diet.

The 5-a-day campaign was adopted by the UK Government in 2003 in fact it was launched on the 23rd March 2003.

What counts as 1 of your 5-a-day;

  • 80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables (but not Potatoes, Yams, Cassava and Plantain i.e. starchy foods) tinned Fruit and Vegetables must be in natural juice or water, with no added sugar or salt.

  • 30g of dried fruit (Eaten within meals not as snacks)

  • 150ml of fruit juices, vegetable juice or smoothie (No more than one portion a day)

  • 80g of Beans and pulses (only one portion a day)

Since 2003 The British and American Gut Project initiated a study to look at the diets of thousands of people, and how different dietary patterns were associated with different health outcomes. This study took place in 2018, and the results showed that those who ate a wider variety of plant foods had a more diverse gut microbiome (i.e. 40 trillion Microorganisms that live within the gut).

The research reveals that diversity is key in supporting and developing the 40 trillion microorganisms. The prebiotics within plants include different types of fibre and other carbohydrates, including chemicals called polyphenols, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, this is often responsible for the colours of many plants i.e. purple; beetroot, aubergine, blueberries, blackberries...

The different prebiotics found in different plants, feed different gut bacteria. This means eating a diverse variety of plants supports the diversity of the bugs within our gut-microbiome.

Scientist concur this supports us to live longer, healthier life's.

So what counts towards our 30 plants a week.

  • Fruit

  • Vegetables

  • Legumes - Beans and Pulses

  • Wholegrains

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Herbs and Spices

Eating 30 plants a week means eating 30 different varieties of plants a week.

You might be surprised by a few foods that also count towards our 30 a week;

  • Dark Chocolate - 70% Cocoa and above

  • Coffee Beans - Freshly ground not instant

  • Green Tea

  • Olive Oil - Extra Virgin

  • Popcorn both Corn and Maize - without flavours/coatings

Different colour plants count as different varieties of plants i.e. red, green and yellow Bell Peppers count as 3 different plants. This is due to the different colours means different polyphenols, which feed different strains of gut microbes - offering different health benefits.

Fruit and vegetables come in all shapes, size and colours and your 30 plants can include different types of fruit, root vegetables, salad leaves, brassicas and alliums. Fresh, frozen and tinned (in waters and no added salt/sugar)

Legumes include beans, pulses and peas, they are a great all-rounder offering a substantial source of fibre, protein, folic acid and minerals.

Grains we include towards our 30 a week include whole grains i.e. oats, barley, wheat, rye, quinoa, brown rice, avoiding white flour and white rice which has the fibre/husks removed which affects our blood sugars and blood fat levels.

Nuts and seeds contain protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, offering us a great snack or a different textures within the meals we eat.

Herbs and spices are a healthy way to add flavour to the food we eat both dried and fresh.

To increase our variety of plants doesn't have to be daunting, buy fresh fruit and vegetables but also stock up your cupboards with tinned fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses and your freezers with frozen fruit and vegetables.

Add nuts and seeds to salads creating texture and herbs adding flavour.

Lift yogurt with fruit, nuts and seeds taking it to the next level.

Beans and pulses can be added to salads and stews, they can also be a replacement to meat within meals.

You can soon reach 30 a week, by just being aware of what you are eating and also reaching your 30g of fibre a day target.

Those Superfood Granola Bars, made last week offer us 12 of our 30 a week and each portion offers us 2.9g of our daily fibre.

track your fibre and the variety of plants you eat over a week, you can reach 30g a day of fibre and the variety of 30 plants a week.


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