CELEBRATING AGEING SERIES | CAN EATING MORE HELP REDEFINE AGEING?26 Feb 2021, Posted by FYS News in
It is now only a week until I turn 50 and my celebrating ageing series seems to have struck a chord with you all!
Last week I shared my top 5 foods to redefine ageing and this week I want to talk about diversity in the food we eat.
In 2018 a group of scientists gathered in Madrid to share their knowledge and insights on nutrition for the ageing brain.
Two factors they all agreed upon:
1. A decrease in the diversity of the microbiome can cause our brain to age; and
2. Using diet to increase the diversity of the gut bacteria can IMPROVE brain function as we age. (ah….it didn’t take long to get back to the microbiome!)
How do I use diet to increase the diversity of my gut bacteria?
The biggest study to date that looks at how diet affects our gut bacteria (the American Gut project) found that people who eat more that 30 different plant-based foods a week have greater diversity in their gut microbiota. Which is why my diversity challenge is a core part of my Food for Thought online programme. As part of this series I want to share the concept with you all.
For the next week, count all the different vegetables, fruit, and other plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, lentils, beans and peas that you eat.
What counts as a different plant-based food?
It is all about variety. If you eat spinach, red pepper and brown rice every day, then each one counts as a single entry. If, however, you eat an orange pepper one day, that counts as an extra one. If you eat basmati rice one day, that counts as an extra one, if you eat baby leaf spinach, that counts as an extra one – get the idea?
How many to aim for?
Initially aim to hit 30 different plant-based foods in a week. My experience with working with individuals is that 30 is often quite easy to achieve. Additional research has supported the idea that more diversity is better from an oxidative stress perspective. I like the set the bar for this “challenge” a little higher and have people aim for 40. The important thing is to start with where you are and take steps forward.
In my Food for Thought programme we go deeper and separate the plant-based foods into categories with a target for each one. The basic principle remaining that aiming for more variety will achieve the goal of increasing your microbiome diversity and moving one more step towards redefining how your body ages.
Why are these foods so powerful for your microbiome?
They are packed full of different types of fibre and phytonutrients (bioactive ingredients) which we know act to stimulate and feed the bacteria in our guts.
Next week, the actual birthday week, I have something totally different to share with you all, so stay tuned for that.
In health and happiness