The 40 Plant Food Challenge: Feeding Your Microbiota


Hi everyone, Bobbie here from Perth Health and Fertility! Lets have a quick chat about your microbiota a.k.a your microflora a.k.a your GIT ecosystem.

Did you know that the human gut contains one hundred million living microorganisms? That’s ten times the number of cells in the human body! Crazy right! There are over 1000 different species of bacteria and each of us has around 160 of those different species in own gut ecosystem.

So then here’s a thought…

If you take a probiotic with Lactobaccillus or Bifidobacteria (some of the popular species you might know) and they only make up roughly 1% and 5% respectively of your entire GIT microbiota, would this then be the best way to improve the health of your gut?

A smarter way is to create DIVERSITY!

A balance of all the different species. This is because each species has a different job to do. It’s the lack of diversity that is associated with allergy, asthma, obesity, insulin resistant, high cholesterol, raised triglycerides, inflammation, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

So how do you improve diversity?

Eat a wide variety multi coloured whole plant foods and fibres weekly. This includes prebiotic foods, polyphenols, soluble and insoluble fibres.


Because different plant foods provide fuel for different bacteria. If the ideal diversity is over 90%, then how many different foods do you think you’d need to eat to cater to all these different little bacteria tastebuds? Probably more variation than you are eating right now.

So the challenge this week is to take a look at how many different kinds of plant foods and fibres you are eating. Do you eat your same favourite foods every day? Put the same thing in your smoothie every morning? Put the same type of fruit in the kids’ lunchboxes every day? Put the same thing in your sandwich? Essentially, feeding the same species of bacteria every week and leaving the rest starving?

Research has found that eating over 40+ different whole, minimally processed plant foods each week improves microbiota diversity. So take the challenge! Get your 40!

The next time you are in the supermarket choose something different:

  • If you never eat kiwi fruit, buy a kiwi
  • Put a combination of berries into your smoothie, as well as the one usual banana
  • Sneak one more vegetable and one more bean into you minestrone soup
  • Mix up your rice, some green, some brown, some red
  • Add garlic, onions and chickpeas into your curry (there’s 3)
  • Sprinkle pepitas and sunflower seeds onto your salad (there’s another 2)
  • Mix up your tahinis, next week try black tahini
  • Mix up your quinoa with black, then white and then red

Think different colours – the bolder the better!

  • Swap orange carrots for purple
  • White onions for red
  • Green cabbages for red

And don’t forget include your prebiotic foods. These are non-digestible fibres that make their way through the stomach with being broken down and become a nutrient source or fuel for our beneficial bacteria. Foods like garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, legumes, broccoli, cabbage, beetroot, sunflower seeds pumpkin seeds and linseeds are just a few.

So, count them up!

Do you get your 40? Are you even close? Let us know your number, go on be brave!

Bobbie Microbiota Signature