Importance of Healthy Eating Habits on our Health and Surroundings

Good nutrition is very important for leading a healthy lifestyle. Unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic vastly. Hence, by adopting healthy eating habits and feeding the body healthy food, keeps us younger, healthier and helps in living a longer life.

Healthy Eating Habits

Eating right is very important to keep a healthy weight and an energy balance. It is crucial to balance between the calories consumed and the calories burnt. Healthy eating habits are not only is good for our health but also staying away from packaged food items and junk foods are good for the environment.

As the population increases day by day, there is an increased demand for animal source foods. There are countries like Latin America that consume extreme levels of red meat. Many people across the world consume more red and processed meat than they should which can lead to health and environmental impacts. Hence, veganism and a more “flexitarian” diet are becoming the trend.

A “flexitarian” diet includes fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and unsaturated oils. It is important for people to start consuming as less red meat as possible or even better consider becoming vegetarian.

Healthy eating habits

Unfortunately each day, factory farms produce billions of pounds of manure, which ends up getting dumped in lakes, rivers, and the water we drink. The amount of waste produced by factory-farmed animals each year are used to fertilize crops, and they subsequently end up running off into waterways, along with drugs and bacteria.

Scientists have seen that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing, and then cooking and putting it on our plates is responsible for 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

The way we produce and manipulate food and decide to put on our plate affects the climate crisis. Food systems contribute to about 37% of global greenhouse gases and significantly contribute to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and declining water tables.

Veganism and its importance are getting more and more prominent these days. It is emerging into an ideal life choice and a lifestyle that people should follow. It not only stands for animal liberation but also climate conservation. According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

It has been found that although vegetarian and vegan diets result in lower greenhouse gas emissions, a flexitarian diet has been proven to be the least stringent that is both healthy and would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A vegetarian diet requires about half the land and emits about the greenhouse gases than a non-vegetarian diet. So don’t worry about not getting enough protein if less meat is consumed. In reality, most people take in far more protein than they require.

A Mediterranean diet has also been found to be eco-friendly. It focuses on fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil as well as fish and seafood. Seafood tends to have a lower environmental impact than terrestrial, animal-based protein; however massive amounts of seafood should also not be consumed. In total, this type of diet has been proven to be a “good fit” for a healthy, environmentally friendly style of eating.

It is a known fact that following a plant-based diet can make us healthy, but it can also save the planet.

A study saw that continued consumption of red meats and processed foods can increase the environmental pressures of the food system by 90% in 2050.

This continued consumption will result in exceeding key planetary boundaries that define a safe operating place for humanity to survive,  beyond which it can become very unstable for the Earth’s vital ecosystems. This instability can lead to dangerous levels of climate change with greater occurrences of extreme weather events, polluting water bodies depleting oxygen, and causing irrevocable damage to forest ecosystems.

Along with healthy eating habits, it is also vital to not waste food. Food waste has become a major issue on a global scale. It was noted that in the United States, one pound of food per person has been wasted and thrown away every day.

When we throw food away, we are not just wasting valuable nourishment but all the resources, like land, water, and fertilizers, which went into producing that food

Research consistently has proved that moving to a more plant-based diet and reducing the intake of animal food have been one of the most powerful things one can do to reduce the impact on the planet over a lifetime, with respect to the energy required, land used, greenhouse gas emissions, water used and pollutants produced.

Thus it is highly advisable to stick to a diet that is plant-based and which does not exploit red meat too much. We should also be able to put per our appetite on our plate and not waste any food. It will not only keep one’s health fit but also keep the environment pollutant-free for the upcoming generation.