You have probably heard the sentence “You are what you eat”. Everybody knows how important good nutrition is and how many health benefits it has. But your eating habits don’t only affect your well-being and your desired waistline. When you consider our environment, you will realize that you can transform your diet to be better for your health and the planet as well.
Many experts predict irreversible environmental damage and catastrophic global warming in the next decade. The global population is rising in numbers, resulting in major problems with pollution, greenhouse gases, topsoil, and deforestation. But did you know that many foods people eat daily have a disastrous impact on the environment? For example, sugar cane fertilizers are destroying the Great Barrier Reef; palm oil is devastating Sumatran rainforests (and you can find it in almost every food, especially bread, pastries, ice-creams, chocolate bars, etc.); eating meat and meat production results in 60% of greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s incredibly important to find a way to eat in a healthy and environmentally friendly way. Every little change you make can make a big difference in the long run. Here are a few simple steps that will improve your life and help our planet.
Choose Vegan Supplements
Many people who don’t follow the vegan diet would never even consider vegan supplements. What they don’t know is that they have the same benefits as non-vegan products but they don’t hurt the environment. For example, getting enough omega – 3 fatty acids is essential but most supplements come from fish oil. And did you know that the fish oil industry does irreversible damage to our surroundings, has a negative impact on the food chain, and causes an imbalance in a marine ecosystem?
Still, omega – 3s are extremely important for your nutrition and luckily there are ways to incorporate them into your diet while being eco-friendly. Invest in a vegan supplement, as it is made of algae instead of fish oil. It’s even easier to digest. You can find a variety of vegan vitamins and supplements on the market, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and many other multivitamins and minerals. Make sure they come in sustainable packaging, meaning it’s recyclable, degradable, and plastic-free.
Eat As Many Vegetables As Possible
Veggies are the best foods you can eat from a nutritional perspective, not to mention they are very eco-friendly. Still, if you care about the environment, try purchasing locally grown products. Transportation creates gas used for trucking and you can avoid that by buying your veggies from a local farmer. Another piece of nature-friendly advice is to eat raw vegetables when you can to save energy on gas from your stove. Of course, if you have a garden, try growing your own vegetables. You will have easy access to fresh food, eat healthier, and it can also be a fun hobby.
Veggies are very good for your health. They are high in minerals, vitamins, and fiber but low in calories. However, some vegetables just stand out with amazing health benefits and don’t damage the planet in any way. Here is a list.
Only one cup of carrots can provide 430% of daily recommended vitamin A. This is simply astonishing. They are also rich in beta-carotene which is an antioxidant that helps your skin stay younger and look more vibrant. Sure, everybody ages and there are reasons why your body and skin change, but just think of a carrot as some kind of natural, inexpensive, and eco-friendly anti-aging product. Studies have shown that beta-carotene could also prevent cancer, especially prostate and lung cancer. And don’t forget that carrots are packed with potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
Broccoli isn’t only tasty but it’s also rich in sulforaphane which, according to studies, can protect your body from cancer. It’s also great for your heart health and loaded with nutrients, mainly vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Spinach has an impressive nutrient profile. One cup of raw spinach contains only 7 calories but provides your entire vitamin K daily requirement. It’s also rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. Many studies have found that it can lower your blood pressure, benefit your heart health, and reduce inflammation.
This amazing veggie was considered a medicine in ancient Egypt and China. It’s proven it can help insulin sensitivity, regulate blood sugar, and decrease cholesterol and triglycerides. Some research suggests that garlic has an anti-cancer effect as well.
Kale is becoming more and more popular and it’s not surprising at all. It is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, not to mention very nature-friendly. Kale is great for your heart health, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
What About Animal Products?
Veganism is the best option for the environment but if you still want to enjoy your meat, fish, and dairy, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to help the planet without going fully vegan.
First of all, you should try eating less meat since the meat industry has a huge impact on our planet. Consuming less can seriously help reduce the carbon footprint. When you eat it, ensure it doesn’t contain antibiotics. Unfortunately, many farm animals are given chemicals and antibiotics when they don’t even need them. This meat isn’t healthy for you, so you should definitely avoid it.
If you like eating fish, it’s important to check if it’s endangered or not. There are plenty of options and you don’t want to harm endangered species unintentionally. Also, always buy fish at local shops.
When it comes to dairy products, the most important thing is that they are hormone-free. Artificial hormones have a very negative effect on your health and on the environment. Always try choosing organic products and try cutting back on cheese. This may sound weird, but the production of just one pound of cheese can produce more than 10 pounds of CO2.
Many people are beginning to embrace sustainability as their knowledge grows and the benefits of eating healthy have been known for decades. Making small changes in your lifestyle can make a big impact on your overall health and on the environment. It’s not that difficult at all. You just need to make informed decisions and be a part of the solution.