Ever wondered how much fruit and veg you should be eating? We consulted local health & wellness expert, Dr Kai Koch and looked at the latest research by @TheGutHealthDoctor to put this together.
What are the minimum daily portions of fruit and vegetables?
In 2018, only 28% of adults were eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables per day. You have probably heard of getting your 5 a day, however, the latest research suggests we go even further, with minimum daily portions being 2 pieces of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables. Don't get overwhelmed if this seems like a lot, start by making small improvements and increasing by 1 or 2 varieties a week. Any increase is better than nothing! Our top tip is to ensure your fruit bowl and fridge is fully stocked up every week.
The benefits of eating all the colours of the rainbow
You can also work on getting in all the colours of the rainbow. 'Eating The Rainbow' describes eating a variety of whole plant-based foods: reds (e.g. tomatoes, peppers), oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples. Without getting too technical, our gut microbes thrive off these colours and reward you with all types of benefits - 1. Training your immune cells, 2. Strengthening your gut barrier, 3. Communicating with your brain, 4. Balancing your blood sugar, lowering blood fats and helping prevent against many diseases. Our top tip is to make your plate as colourful as possible at every meal.
The benefits of eating natural and unprocessed foods
Try to eat whole, natural and unprocessed foods. Our ancestors ate up to 800 varieties of plants. In comparison, the typical modern ‘western diet’ comprises only 12 plant and 5 animal species, with a lot of processed foods and refined sugars that are implicated in almost every chronic disease.
How many portions of wholefoods should I be eating?
Another thing you can do is aim for 3 portions of wholegrains a day and 2 portions of nuts, seeds and legumes a day. These foods contain high amounts of fibre which our guts love. Our top tip is to snack on mixed nuts throughout the day and ensure your kitchen cupboards are full of wholegrains such as (brown rice and wild rice, quinoa, wholewheat (including spelt and durum wheat), barley, maize (corn), rye, millet, spelt, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, amaranth, freekeh, and kamut. We like to start each day with a bowl of muesli, granola or porridge which are full of wholegrain oats.
Best food and drink to enjoy in moderation
These are some of the best items to enjoy in moderation due to their high levels of plant micronutrients:
- Filter coffee (Up to 3 cups a day)
- Black and green tea (Up to 3 cups a day)
- Grapes, particularly black variety
Vegetables and legumes:
- Red onion
- Beans (e.g. white and black)
- Nuts and seeds:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Don’t forget herbs and spices:
- Celery seeds
- Curry powder
Dark Chocolate (1-2 squares of ideally above 85% dark cacao. If you’re not used to dark chocolate it can take a while but once you do, you won’t want to go back. It’s especially good when mixed with nuts or can mix with yoghurt such as kefir and fruit. Red Wine is great too (just try sticking to no more than 1 glass a day!).
If you have any known allergies or intolerances, please consult an appropriate medical practitioner such as a nutritionist or GP before making any dietary changes.