Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and promote better health overall. But our eating habits don’t just affect our own health, but the health of the planet, too.
If you’re wondering, “How can eating plant foods be good for me and the environment?” then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to explore the Planetary Health Diet, a plant-focused diet that links our personal health with that of our planet.
Let’s dive in.
What Is the Planetary Health Diet?
The Planetary Health Diet (PHD) was created by the EAT-Lancet Commission with the goal of promoting sustainable food systems that, in turn, could provide healthy foods to the global population.
If you’ve ever heard the term “flexitarian,” you may be familiar with some of the base principles of the PHD. This plant-focused diet focuses on mostly eating plant foods but often with modest amounts of meat and dairy products. Seafood and lean proteins are preferred over red meat.
It also promotes a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy (unsaturated) fats, and limiting other foods like refined grains and added sugars.
What Does a Typical Meal Look Like?
If you decide to follow the Planetary Health Diet, then you might have to adjust some of your eating habits.
At a typical meal, half of your plate would be made up of fruits and vegetables, one-third would be whole grains, and the remainder would be plant protein. A small number of fats would round out the meal and help with feelings of satiety.
What Are the Benefits of a Plant-Focused Diet?
We’ve already determined that opting for eating plant foods in larger amounts can help you take care of your heart, but that’s not all. When it comes to this planetary diet, there are benefits not only for your body but for the planet as well.
First off, plants tend to be higher in fiber. Consuming higher amounts of fiber can help support the health of the bacteria in your gut and improve your digestion.
The PHD can also support brain health. Many of its components help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which, in turn, can support sharper thinking and fewer memory problems. The International Life Sciences Institute has done further research on the impact of the PHD on brain health.
Shifting our focus to this planetary diet can help us reduce over-consumption, especially of meat products, which has a major impact on our environmental health.
The production of meat, especially red meat, contributes largely to the production of carbon that enters our atmosphere. Working toward producing more plant foods can reduce this carbon and help us regulate our climate.
Eat for Yourself and the Planet
The Planetary Health Diet promotes not only your own personal health but also the health of the planet at large and the global population. If we all work toward shifting our eating habits in this direction, we can put the entire world on the path toward wellness.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of our other Health posts!