Finally, Chutkan encourages us to add more veggies to our plates—at least 30 different kinds, to be exact. “Head towards that goal of 30 different plants a week, and you’ll be in good shape,” she notes. Here, she’s referencing a 2018 study by the American Gut Project that found eating 30 or more different plant foods per week was associated with a healthier microbiome.
That may seem like a lofty goal, but according to Chutkan, it’s not totally unattainable. “You get credit for that 30 with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, herbs, spices…It all counts,” she says.
Simply eating more plants is already a step in the right direction, but if Chutkan had to play favorites, she recommends getting enough MACs (or microbiota-accessible carbohydrates2). “Think beans and greens for the MAC’s,” she explains. “Things like oats, chickpeas, lentils, split peas—all of those are fantastic…Leafy greens are important, too, but really the kind of stringy, fibrous greens, so broccoli with a stem, asparagus [with] the stalk, celery, all that stringy fiber.”
If you’re looking for a specific grocery list, feel free to check out our gut health meal plan here.