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Could Your Dinner Save the Earth? New Study Links Diet to Lower Death Rates and Reduced Carbon Footprint

Daniel Kim Views  

A recent study found the relevance of a planetary health diet to a decreased risk of premature death.

The study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that the risk of premature death dwindled by 30% with the planetary health diet.

The planetary health diet emphasizes sustainable foods from an environmental perspective and plant-based foods. Following this diet, one can prepare a meal by filling half a plate with fruits and vegetables and choosing whole grains, unsaturated plant oils, plant proteins, and animal proteins to make up the other half.

The planetary health diet’s foods are rich in essential nutrients for maintaining health and preventing chronic diseases. They contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Limiting red and processed meat consumption is expected to curtail the environmental burden and risks of colon cancer and heart disease, promoting human and planetary health.

Recently, a research team investigated the data of over 200,000 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

At the beginning of the study, the participants had no history of major chronic diseases and completed food surveys every four years for up to 34 years. The research team gave higher scores to those closer to the planetary health diet based on their intake of vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and nuts.

The study found that the top 10% of diet scores had a 30% lower risk of premature death than the bottom 10%. The planetary health diet also appeared to lower the risk of all significant causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, and lung disease.

The research team reported that the closer the diet was to the planetary health diet, the lesser the probability of premature death. Additionally, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 29%, and the use of farmland and fertilizers decreased by 51% and 21%, respectively. The experts explained that dietary habits can help slow climate change and what’s healthiest for the planet, which is also healthiest for humans.

Experts hope that the societal benefits of the planetary health diet in terms of health and environment could be recognized and universally adopted as dietary guidelines. Furthermore, they stressed that a health-friendly and eco-friendly diet is cheaper than medication and beneficial for both humans and the planet.

The planetary health diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, pescatarianism, vegetarianism, and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and meets the fruit and vegetable intake recommended by the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and American Diabetes Association.

The research team added that the benefits of the planetary health diet extend beyond the individual adhering to the diet to neighbors, towns, countries, and the entire planet, which can be a powerful motivation to maintain a healthy diet.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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