Variety. And knowing where to use it.
Science proves that variety is the spice of life, as one of the biggest takeaways from the world’s largest microbiome study was that eating more than 30 different plants per week yields optimal gut diversity for better health.
No matter the diet they prescribed to (vegetarian, vegan, etc.), participants who ate more than 30 different plant types per week (41 people) had gut microbiomes that were more diverse than those who ate 10 or fewer types of plants per week (44 people). The gut samples of these two groups also differed in the types of molecules present.
To put that in perspective, that's about 4-5 different plant types a day.
The obvious staples are fruits and vegetables, but it also includes herbs, flowers, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and roots. Fresh is the clear preference, but dried works too. In fact the only critical rule besides the food being of plant origin, is that it is in its whole and unrefined state when consumed.
This is nothing new though. Humans across the world have been combining plants to magnify their healing effects for thousands of years.
It seems that in our modern era, we've been so fixated on individual nutrients and the latest super extract, that we simply forgotten this old knowledge.
But there is now a growing interest in the scientific community in learning the nature of this magic; how herbal blends can have effects greater than even the sum of their individual effects, and sometimes even having beneficial effects absent altogether in individual herbs.
"Single herbs are strong and work well in helping your body detoxify and rebuild itself, however herbal formulas with the combined synergistic action of several herbs, are many times stronger in effect." - Dr. Robert Morse (Board certified and accredited naturopathic physician and biochemist)