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Does eating more plant based foods help you feel better?

maybe all that spinach kept Popeye emotionally resilient and strong...

Dietitian Mei explores the benefits of including more plants in your diet

Take home messages


  1. Adding more vegetables into your diet is an easy and delicious way to get those vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to stay healthy. 
  2. Including more plant-based food helps you meet your daily fibre intake plus they are low in calories so a great addition if you have a weight-based health goal!  
  3. How about setting yourself a nutrition nudge of eating 30 plants a week – get as creative as you can! 

Why does it matter to eat more plants?


Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, yet many people struggle to eat enough of them.


For years, we’ve heard the phrase “eat your greens”—and for good reason!


Eating plants is essential for a healthy diet and lifestyle, but just how much should you be eating?


Public health campaigns have always recommended to eat your ‘’five a day’’ but more recently, there has been emphasis to eat at least 30 different plants a week for good health.

What does the science say ?


  • Improved digestion: Vegetables are high in fibre which helps to keep your digestive system healthy and functioning properly – it keeps your bowel movements regular and it reduces the risk of constipation.
  • Weight management: Eating a diet high in vegetables can help you maintain a healthy weight. Vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre, making them filling and satisfying without adding extra calories to your diet.
  • Reduced risk of disease: Eating a variety of vegetables can help reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes [1]. Vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help keep your body healthy and functioning properly.
  • Reduced risk of mental health conditions: Eating a diet rich in vegetables may help to reduce the risk of some other mental health conditions [2]. This is because vegetables are high in essential nutrients that can help keep your brain and body functioning properly. Eating more vegetables can help you live a healthier and more balanced life.
  • Improved heart health: Plant-based foods are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are both associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other health complications.
  • Be mindful of eating less than the recommended amounts of vitamin B12 and iodine: check out the recommendations and risks in our vegetarian diets blog post here

Practical tips


  1. Aim to eat a variety of different vegetables and fruit each day. 
  2. Eat the rainbow – brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are high in polyphenols that are good for your gut bacteria. 
  3. Try to add a side salad, a veggie soup or replace some carbs with beans and pulses for added fibre 
  4. Spices, herbs, nuts, seeds count toward your plant intake
  5. Perhaps set yourself a challenge to eat 30 different plants week and track your progress – get creative in the kitchen 😊 

Final thoughts 


You don’t need to go 100% vegan or 100% plant-based to reap the health benefits of adding more fibre to your diet!


Why not set yourself a goal of trying one new fruit or vegetable each week to make things more fun! 


Eating 30 different plants a week may sound daunting but if you aim for veg with each meal and plants as part of a snack each you could easily hit between 28 to 35 different plants each week (this is assuming a minimum of 2 meals and 2 snacks a day and 3 meals and 2 snacks a day). 

Mei Wan BSc (Hons), RD, MBDA

HCPC Registered Dietitian & Nutritionist

IG: @dietitian.mei


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