Explore the almond.
Almonds and other nuts are often advertised as healthy snacks because they can help you maintain a healthy weight and are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
But almonds are grown in drought-stricken California and the amount of water required to produce them has been intensively controlled in recent years. So, if you are an environmentally-conscious big man who also wants to follow a healthy diet, is almonds a responsible green breakfast?
Comparatively speaking, yes, says ecologist David Tillman of the University of Minnesota.
In a huge new analysis published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tilman and his co-author s looked at the health and environmental impacts of 1
Foods are ranked against each other based on how they affect the risk of disease and the cost they incur on the planet in terms of water and land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and how they affect water pollution and pollution. the soil.
For the most part, researchers have found that foods that promote good health are also better for the planet – and vice versa. While nuts require a lot of water to produce, Tillman says, water is only one factor that influences their environmental ranking.
"If water is to be used for irrigating crops, it will look better to use it for healthy crop growth," he says. According to the study, the production of a serving of nuts has about five times the negative impact on the environment compared to the production of vegetables.
This may sound a lot until you compare it to red meat; both reworked and unprocessed, it's "uniformly bad," Tillman says. The production of processed red meat, found by researchers, has about 40 times the negative environmental impact of producing a serving of vegetables – and consuming an additional daily serving raises the relative risk of overall mortality by 40 percent.
"It does not mean 'you will die with a 40 percent chance of a year,' Tillman notes." It just means what your chance of dying this year for your age, [the relative risk is] with about 40 percent more "
However, just because food is bad for us doesn't always mean it's bad for the planet. Sugar drinks, for example, are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, but the study found that their environmental impact was not much greater than that of growing vegetables Fish consumption, on the other hand, is associated with a lower risk of several diseases, but this is not as large for the planet as a plant-based diet.
In this regard, Tillman notes that how fish is caught or farmed It matters a lot. Fish caught by trawlers in the high seas have a much greater environmental impact because these boats use "a lot of diesel for not a lot of fish," he said in an email. "Fish such as tuna and salmon caught on-line or near-surface fisheries and aquaculture fish such as salmon, steelhead, catfish and tilapia reared in lakes, tufts, fjords and ocean cells have moderate emissions of greenhouse gases per serving, which are about 6 times more than typical plant foods. "
To reach their conclusions about diet and health, researchers looked at 19 previous meta-analyzes that followed millions of people over time, mainly in Western countries. They used this data to calculate how eating an extra portion of a food every day influences the relative risk of colon cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as overall mortality.Environmental effects of food have been obtained from life cycle analyzes that looked at
"This is a useful study as it aims to compare, using similar and consistent methods, how different foods affect the health of the joints of humans and the planet. "says Dariusz Mozafarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University.
And despite recent controversy over the science of red meat and health, these findings are consistent with a common body of evidence suggesting that reducing red meat is a healthy choice, he says.
Jessica Fanzo, a professor of global food and agriculture policy at Jones Hopkins University who is not involved in this study, says the big message for consumers is this. "If you want to take care of the environment and your own health, eating less red and processed meat is key." And, she says, if you replace something like fish in the place of red meat, "think a little more about how they are sourced and how they are grown."