Plantastic Challenge

This Smart Eating Week, we are encouraging staff to try and eat at least 30 different types of plant foods in a week!

The notion originated from emerging research highlighting the relationship between food, mood and our gut.

What is the microbiota?
Our gut microbiota is made up of trillions of diverse bacteria that live in our intestines, majority of which are good bacteria, while a smaller number are pathogenic (promoting disease). In a healthy individual, these bacteria coexist without problems.

However, dysbiosis occurs when there is an imbalance in the abundance and diversity of our gut microbiota, and this can be caused by infections, unhealthy diet or prolonged use of antibiotics, and this can affect our health.

The current evidence shows that our gut bacteria is influenced by what we eat. In particular, The American Gut Project (one of the largest International gut microbiota studies), found that individuals who consumed 30 or more plant foods a week had more diverse gut microbiota compared to those who consumed 10 or less - and when it comes to optimising our gut health, we know the more the better!

There are 6 different types of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Why is a diverse microbiota so important for good gut health?

  • They help digest fibre from the foods we eat everyday to nourish our gut cells.
  • Gut microbiota assist energy and glucose homeostasis that may reduce the risk of common chronic conditions such as obesity and Type II diabetes.
  • A more abundant and diverse microbiota have been associated with stronger immune systems to ward off harmful bacteria or toxins.

Join our Plantastic Challenge and share with us how you went!

All you have to do is:

  1. Download and print the checklist here or edit directly onto the PDF.
  2. From Monday 14 February to Sunday 20 February 2022, tick off items on the checklist that you consumed throughout the week.
  3. For any plant foods you had that are not on the checklist, list them in the right column.
  4. At the end of the week, tally up the numbers and see how you went!

We love hearing from you! If you are comfortable sharing your results and experiences, share your story with us on Monash Wellbeing Workplace group and use the following hashtags: #monashsmarteating #Plantastic.

You are also welcome to share your favourite healthy recipes and/or pictures of your meals, creations or family cook-offs.

Not sure how to post on Workplace? Check out our quick guide.