Can you Hit your 30 Plant Foods a Week on a Low Salicylate Diet?

by | Apr 22, 2022

From a young age, it’s been drilled into our heads that a healthy diet should aim to include 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. While a good place to start, there appears to be a superior way to think about the types of foods we consume, a concept that takes into consideration the trillions of microbes living in our gut.

A study (1) looking at the stool of 10,000 citizens from around the world showed that individuals who ate 30+ different types of plant-based foods per week had a more diverse mix of gut microbes than those who ate less than 10. And those familiar with this blog know that a diverse microbiome is linked to improved health outcomes (2).

For those who are on a low salicylate diet, you may find yourself wondering is it at all possible to achieve this golden “30” target? The good news is it’s totally achievable, you just have to know your food items and be willing to get a little creative in the kitchen.

The first thing to note is that plant foods don’t just involve fruit and veg. They also include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices – basically anything that comes from a plant. Here I’ve put together a list of low salicylate plant foods, and if you count them all up, you’ll see you hit that 30!:

Once you have a handful of meals that you’re comfortable making, all you need to do is look at the above list and make some swaps throughout the week. For example, if you’re having pasta twice in the week, instead of having wheat pasta both times, you could swap it out for some chickpea pasta instead. Having a quinoa bowl for lunch Monday and Friday? Use different types of vegetables and legumes for each day and perhaps swap out the quinoa for some barley on the Friday.

Alternatively, you could think about incorporating some new meals into your repertoire. For some plant-packed foodie inspiration, check out these low salicylate recipes.

Basically what we’re trying to do is increase gut microbial diversity by exposing microbes to different mixes of dietary fibre and nutrients; important, as each microbe has its own particular plant preference. The more diverse our gut microbes get, the more diverse their skill sets become, enabling them to perform tasks such as strengthening and protecting the gut barrier, exerting anti-inflammoatory efffects (3) communicating with the brain and training the immune system (4). 

Adhering to a low salicylate diet may seem as though you’re depriving your microbes of a diet rich in plant foods. However, if you look close enough, you’ll see that with a couple of mindful changes, you can indeed achieve your 30 a week, leaving both you and your microbes feeling fed and nourished.

Brigid xx



1.) University of California – San Diego. “Big data from world’s largest citizen science microbiome project serves food for thought: How factors such as diet, antibiotics and mental health status can influence the microbial and molecular makeup of your gut.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2018.<>.

2.) Manor, O., Dai, C.L., Kornilov, S.A. et al. Health and disease markers correlate with gut microbiome composition across thousands of people. Nat Commun 11, 5206 (2020).

3.) Bolte LA, Vich Vila A, Imhann F, Collij V, Gacesa R, Peters V, Wijmenga C, Kurilshikov A, Campmans-Kuijpers MJE, Fu J, Dijkstra G, Zhernakova A, Weersma RK. Long-term dietary patterns are associated with pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory features of the gut microbiome. Gut. 2021

4.) Valdes, Ana M et al. “Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.)  vol. 361 k2179. 13 Jun. 2018, doi:10.1136/bmj.k2179


DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *