A recently published study from the University of Michigan claims that making some dietary changes can bring significant benefits. Not only to your health but also to the environment.
Participants in the study evaluated more than 5000 food items, distributing them depending on their impact on human health and the environment (The process of production, growing, and processing).
The study provides some specific examples:
The study suggests a hot dog can consume approximately 36 minutes of your life. Drinking a can of soda can shorten your life by 12 minutes. Minus 71 minutes of losing your healthy life per serving of corned beef with tomato sauce and onions (too much of the negative effects of processed meat outweighs the benefits of a small number of vegetables in this product). And minus 82 minutes of your healthy life if you eat a serving of sardines with tomato sauce.
And what about the pluses?
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches extend your life by about 33 minutes. Also, eating a serving of nuts can give you an extra 26 minutes.
These calculations are based on a new nutritional index, the Health Nutritional Index. The researchers developed in collaboration with nutritionist Victor Fulgoni III of Nutrition Impact LLC.
HENI calculates the useful or harmful load in the healthy life minutes associated with the consumption of one serving of food. Foods with a positive rating add minutes to a healthy life, and foods with a negative rating are associated with negative health effects. Assessing the level of impact of food from the diet of people on the environment, the researchers used their life cycle. i.e. production, processing, cooking, consumption, waste.
Finally, the researchers divided the foods into three color zones: green, yellow, and red depending on the level of usefulness and harmfulness.
The green zone represents foods recommended to increase in your diet. Products from this area are nutritious and do not have a negative impact on the environment.
This includes nuts, fruits, field vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and some types of seafood.
Plants grown in heated greenhouses have a significantly greater environmental impact than those grown in the field. Therefore, such vegetables can be attributed to the yellow zone.
The red zone includes foods that are relatively low in dietary value and harm the environment and should be reduced and avoided in their diets whenever possible. This zone includes mainly meat of cattle and cattle, as well as processed meat.
In conclusion, the researchers add that to increase a healthy life expectancy (including a positive impact on the environment), you should reduce the consumption of foods with the most negative index: including highly processed meat, beef, shrimp, pork, lamb, and vegetables grown in greenhouses.
Accordingly, increase the intake of nutritious foods: garden fruits and field vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seafood with a low environmental impact.
Photo by: Mollie Merritt