Rotation Diets: 3 Reasons Why Varying Your Diet Is Important
Updated: May 2, 2022
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut eating the same foods every day. Whether you eat the same meals over and over due to convenience, lack of time, or simply preference, you might want to consider a rotation diet.
This way of eating entails switching up the foods that you eat on an approximate four-day rotation to ensure you’re not eating the same foods every day. Why? That’s exactly what we’ll be discussing today! Let’s dig in.
(1) Prevents nutritional deficiencies
Eating healthy foods every day not only ensures that your body has the proper amount of energy, but also supplies all the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Think about it: humans are biologically meant to rotate foods. For more than 15 million years, our ancestors’ diets varied with the seasons, weather and climate.
While our ancestors used to eat what was local and available, we now have the luxury of driving to Costco and buying any food we want year-round. While this is convenient, it’s not natural or ideal for our health.
In nature, no one food can completely satisfy your dietary needs. Diversifying your diet is the only way to ensure your body is getting all of the necessary vitamins, minerals and macronutrients it needs from foods.
The easiest way to make sure you’re getting adequate nutrients is to “eat the rainbow,” meaning your plate should literally have a variety of colors on it, especially when it comes to vegetables. By mixing up the foods you use every few days, you’ll have balanced meals with all the nutrients you need.
(2) Promotes gut health
Your gut is home to hundreds of species of bacteria collectively referred to as the “gut microbiome.” It’s now well known that the gut microbiome plays a significant role in human health, from supporting a strong immune system to improving mental health. A diverse microbiota is considered to be a healthy one. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the greater number of health benefits they may be able to offer you. Bacteria and microbes work alongside the cells in your small intestine to digest food and extract nutrients. The thing is, your gut microbiome needs nourishment in the form of food just like the rest of your body. Consuming a wide variety of prebiotic foods (those with fibre) and probiotic foods (those containing beneficial bacteria) is the most effective way to promote a diverse, healthy gut microbiome.
Good sources of prebiotics include legumes, whole grains and vegetables, while good sources of probiotics include fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso. Be sure to rotate the fibre-rich and fermented foods you eat every few days to best support your gut microbiome.
(3) Prevents food intolerances
Eating the same foods every day can increase your chances of food allergies and intolerances. Common compounds that people become intolerant to include salicylates, oxalates, histamine, cobalt and nickel. Typically, it’s only when people overeat foods that contain these irritants that problems are more likely to develop.
Thankfully, many people find that rotation diets can help reverse intolerances that have developed. While rotation diets alone don’t reverse food intolerances, they help ferret out food intolerance, calm inflammation while you’re healing your gut, and prevent new intolerances from forming.
Don’t get stuck in a food rut
As humans, we’re creatures of habit who crave routine. As convenient, comforting and tasty as eating the same meals every day might be, doing this increases the risk of developing the problems discussed above. To prevent these issues, try choosing two to three rotating breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Also try to regularly vary small components of a meal, such as swapping out a regular potato for a sweet potato or asparagus instead of green beans.
Following a typical four-day rotation diet, you eat certain foods in a 24-hour day and then don’t eat those foods again until four days later. However, you can also just keep it simple by eating a wide variety of foods and shopping seasonally.
Change can be scary, but rather than approaching this with fear, just think about the good you’re doing for your body and try to have some fun experimenting with new recipes.