Healthy Diets are Also Good for the Planet


Plant-based diets (those that emphasize more plant-derived foods) have been found to be associated with better health if they emphasize whole and minimally processed plant foods. In other words, plant-based diets that are based on fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetables oils, and whole grains are better for you than plant-based diets high in refined grains, potato products, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sweets. New research shows those healthy plant-based diets are also the best choice for the environment. Diets that include a lot of animal products, especially red and processed meats, are worst for the environment.

Researchers analyzed the reported food intake of more than 65,000 people, the environmental impact of that food, and individuals’ cardiovascular disease risk. Environmental impact was calculated by looking at greenhouse gas emissions and use of irrigation water, nitrogen-containing fertilizer, and land for a given type of food. They concluded the “dietary patterns associated with better health had lower greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogenous fertilizer, cropland, and irrigation water needs.” Take care of the planet’s health along with your own!


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