Plant foods are necessary to improve your gut microbiome because they contain fiber and phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients or phytochemicals contain something quite powerful. These include polyphenols, resveratrol, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, terpenoids, and carotenoids.
Phytonutrients have been found to super-charge your immunity, reduce inflammation, help in preventing cancer, and slow down the aging process.
Although it is well known that you obtain the bulk of your phytonutrients from vegetables and fruits, it may surprise you that eating grass-fed beef also supplies an adequate amount of phytonutrients.
One way of imprinting it in your mind about the best phytonutrients is to think of eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
Here are some foods to get you started:
Red apples, beets, red cabbage, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, red grapes, guava or guava juice, red peppers, pomegranates, red potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes or tomato sauce, watermelon.
Orange or Deep Yellow Foods:
Apricots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapple, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, yellow squash.
Artichokes, asparagus, avocados, green apples, green beans, broccoli, bok choy, chard, collard greens, cucumbers, grapes, green onion, honeydew melon, kale, kiwi, lettuce, lime, peas, peppers, spinach, zucchini.
Blue or Purple Foods:
Bilberries, blackberries, black currants, blueberries, eggplant, elderberries, kelp, prunes, purple grapes, raisins.
One caveat to consider is if you are battling diabetes, insulin resistance, belly fat, weight loss issues, and gut dysbiosis, it is best to focus on low glycemic fruits (berries) and vegetables.
The optimal amount of vegetables is 12 to 18 servings per day with a 1/2 cup being one serving. Limit your low glycemic fruit (berries) to a half cup per day or one piece of fruit per day.
Although it is best to purchase organic vegetables and fruits, I recommend you check out the Environmental Working Group site. This site provides the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. It is called the Dirty Dozen. It also lists the top 15 fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticides. It is called the Clean Fifteen.