Studies show that eating healthier is better for the environment
As talks about climate change heat up (and so does our planet) concerns about what we can do to help in our own homes is also growing. We want to keep the planet from reaching that disastrous 2C increase, but most of us don't know what we as individuals can actually do.
Luckily, it's more than just remembering to bring your reusable bags to the grocery store. A new study shows that what you eat can also have a big impact on the environment, and choosing healthier foods is the best out of all possible options.
While what we think is healthiest changes from country to country, for the most part, everyone agrees that eating less meat, and more vegetables, are good choices. This flexetarian diet doesn't exclude meat, or carbs, or any particular food, but instead focuses on eating the least possible amount of processed foods, and including fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet whenver possible.
Right now, food production accounts for as much as 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Most of those emissions come directly from agriculture itself.
Of course, we can't just stop eating in order to reduce greenhouse gasses, but being smarter about what we eat can make a big difference in lowering our carbon footprint. In high-income countries, the study showed that choosing healthier options could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 13% to as much as 25%.
This was only true for high-income countries. In poorer countries, choosing to follow government recommended health guidelines would see an increase in the amount of emissions produced. This is probably because most people in these poorer countries do not get enough calories to meet those guidelines.
What we choose to eat influences the food industry. What we eat has an impact on what is grown. If we choose to put our dollars towards fresh produce, a limited selection of meat, and fewer processes goods, the grocery stores will reflect that, and so will the environment.
These aren't the only things we can do food wise to help eliminate the problem. We can also reduce food waste, and advocate for programs that reduce food waste at all stages of growth. Up to 40% of all food grown in the first place goes uneaten, and much of it is before it hits our plates.
Reducing food waste in your own home can help protect the environment, and so can utilizing programs such as the ugly produce box can have a positive impact on the environment.
We all have reason to be concerned about the environment. Extreme weather conditions are already beginning, and we have a vested interest in protecting this planet for the next generation. If you can do that, and live a longer and healthier life, why not do it?
The next time you visit the grocery store, do yourself and the planet a favor, and choose unprocessed fruits, vegetables, grains, and a little bit of meat for your basket.
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