The Top Sustainable Foods to Eat for Health
With May 2022 the 9th warmest May on record, the effects of climate change are rearing their head. In these instances, it’s easy to feel like nothing you do will make a difference.
However, changing your diet is a great way to reduce environmental strain while improving your health. And no, you don’t have to go vegan or vegetarian to do it! There are plenty of sustainable foods you can make staples in your household.
If you’re interested in crafting a more sustainable diet, you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll learn which foods can help keep you healthy while ensuring the health of the planet.
When eating healthy and sustainably, building your diet around legumes is a great place to start. Beans, peanuts, and chickpeas are the most common options and are easy to include in almost every meal.
When growing plants that produce legumes, very little water is required to create them. They grow at increased rates meaning the yield is very high. This means that the agricultural practices fall in line with sustainable production.
Similarly, during the growth process, the bacteria used to produce legumes essentially create an underground greenhouse to help increase the rate of growth without harmful chemicals.
Not only are these sustainable foods, but they’re also extremely healthy. Because legumes are high in protein, they make a great substitute for meat and other echo-unfriendly options.
Also, unlike meat options like beef and pork, beans tend to be low-fat, meaning they help reduce health risks associated with a high-fat diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Another great way to improve your diet and the world is to shop for organic fruit and vegetables.
In order to grow most fruits and vegetables without insects and pests destroying crops, farmers will use chemical pesticides on their plants.
While this helps protect the plants, the pesticides often get washed into waterways during rainstorms. This toxic run-off can harm waterways and the ecosystem. Similarly, ingesting these chemicals isn’t healthy for your body.
Instead, organic farmers and producers will use different methods to help control pests. One of the most effective methods is known to use pheromones to disrupt the insects’ natural mating cycles, making them less likely to attack crops.
Similarly, you can even take it one step further and grow your own fruits and vegetables if you have the space. If you’re limited, you can stick to small herbs that sit on windowsills, as this still reduces the need for inorganic options in grocery stores.
Though you may think that cutting out meat entirely is the only way to reduce your personal impact on climate change, you’ll be surprised to find that there are alternatives.
Traditionally, rearing cattle creates enormous amounts of greenhouse gases due to the methane released by cows through passing gas. Because the cattle industry is so large, the amount of cows creates a significant impact on the environment.
However, bison is an ideal healthy eating alternative to beef due to the fact that bison don’t make a significant impact on the environment. When paired with Direct Air Capture technology provided by https://climeworks.com/carbon-removal-solutions, this can help make a substantial change to the state of the climate.
For example, bison rearing helps the environment as the bison don’t strip the land of their natural resources by overgrazing as cattle do. Also, their hooves help to aerate the soil, encouraging grass to grow naturally.
Bison is also a great addition to any diet, as this is a lean, low-fat red meat. However, it is essential to note that it may take a while to get more used to the taste, as bison tends to be more gamey than cattle. However, properly cooking the meat ensures you’ll get the best flavor!
Similarly, venison is another popular beef alternative for those looking to include meat in their eco-friendly diet.
In many places, deer are overpopulated. This disrupts the natural ecosystem, as they consume vegetation at a higher rate. Since the animals are overpopulated, they are culled in some countries, meaning the meat is ready to be consumed.
Luckily, venison is one of the healthiest meats, as it’s extremely high in protein and low in calories, meaning you can consume a few cups to get high levels of protein in your diet without consuming half of your daily caloric intake.
One of the lowest-maintenance plants on the planet, seaweed is a great addition to your diet. Able to grow without soil, freshwater, or fertilizer, this is an ideal way to include a sustainable staple in your pantry.
Not only does seaweed require very little to grow, but it also helps reduce carbon by transforming it into oxygen.
Not only is seaweed low-maintenance, but it’s an integral part of many underwater ecosystems. However, because it’s so abundant, human consumption doesn’t impact these biodiverse areas.
Because seaweed acts as a filter, removing toxins from the water, it has become a staple for many fishing towns, helping to increase the industry of environmentally-friendly fishing.
Packed to the brim with nutrients and vitamins, seaweed is a great way to expand your palate and try new foods. Whether you use seaweed as a wrap for sushi, spread your favorite dips on it like a cracker, or make a delicious salad with green, you can enjoy this tasty food with guilt-free consciousness.
If you’re intent on cutting meat out of your diet but want to shift to pescetarianism, you may be hesitant because of the impact of fishing.
As many commercial fishing ships capture more fish than the ocean can reproduce to ensure the ecosystem can survive, cutting fish out of diest is growing increasingly popular.
Similarly, many fishing vessels contribute to high levels of pollution, as fishing nets often get lost in the water. This is harmful to the wildlife and reef systems, causing irreparable damage.
Unlike other fishing methods, mussels are harvested by raking the seafloor to bring them to the service. However, aquaculture is also a great way to grow young muscles, as they’re attached to lines and left to grow underwater.
However, mussels are an ideal alternative to your favorite seafood. Like many of the other foods on this list, mussels contain high levels of protein with the addition of other nutrients like zinc and healthy fats.
Not only are mussels better for the environment, but they’re a great addition to any diet.
Though you may think rice isn’t sustainable due to the abundant images of water-filled rice paddies, this is the opposite. In many instances, rice paddies are flooded with water to keep bugs away, but does not impact the yield or quality of the rice otherwise.
One of the main benefits of rice is that you don’t need a lot to fill you up. This helps make a little go a long way, meaning you can buy in bulk to reduce the amount of plastic packaging in use.
Rice is a great way to bulk up any meal. However, you may want to invest in brown rice over white rice, as brown rice contains more nutrients.
How to Shop Sustainably
When it comes to sustainable shopping, there are a few things you can do to make purchasing these foods even more impactful.
When possible, try to shop at farmer’s markets or directly from farms. Not only does this help support the local economy, but it reduces the need for transportation to and from farms and supermarkets.
Shopping at grocery stores is often easier due to the abundance of options. However, the food and ingredients available at supermarkets are usually shrouded in plastic. Plus, many produce options are transported across the country in large trucks that guzzle fossil files while releasing pollutants into the air.
If there are no local farmer’s markets near you, shopping seasonally is also a great way to reduce the environmental impact of transportation. As these items are grown in the area, they take less transportation to get them to the store.
Not only is shopping seasonally better for the environment, but it’s better for your meals! These ingredients will be fresher and more flavorful, as they’re grown in the best conditions. Try to keep a list of what produce is best in which season with you to make shopping trips easier.
Introduce Sustainable Foods to Your Diet
If you’re ready to make a significant change in your diet and the world, sustainable foods are the way to go. Choosing to eat healthy foods often goes hand in hand with sustainable living.
When it comes to more of the best food tips and tricks, you’ll want to check the rest of our website. There, you’ll find more of the best hacks to ensure you can live a healthy and delicious lifestyle.
Read More: What Are the Benefits of Working in Healthcare?