Diet to Lower Early Death Risk by 33%

By following a “planetary health diet,” you can reduce your risk of early death by one-third, according to new research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This diet is plant-based and focuses on foods good for both health and the environment.

What is the Planetary Health Diet?

Dr. Nate Wood from Yale School of Medicine explains that the planetary health diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while reducing the intake of foods that have a large environmental impact, such as beef, lamb, and poultry. This diet stands out because it focuses on sustainability along with health. Unlike vegetarian diets, it allows for some meat and dairy but in moderation.

Why is This Diet Effective?

Dr. Wood and dietitian Martha Theran from the Pritikin Longevity Center give several reasons:

  1. Lower Saturated Fats: By minimizing meat high in saturated fats, it reduces risks of heart disease and stroke. Plant proteins and seafood, which are higher in unsaturated fats, benefit heart and brain health and reduce inflammation.
  2. Nutrient-Rich Foods: Plant-based foods are high in nutrients like antioxidants and fiber, which are linked to longer life. Fiber also promotes a healthy gut, reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system.

How to Adopt the Planetary Health Diet

If you’re used to eating a lot of meat, switching to a plant-based diet can be tough. Theran suggests starting with one plant-based meal a day. If you use meat substitutes, Dr. Wood advises choosing those made from beans, legumes, soy, nuts, and seeds, and avoiding those with inflammatory oils or additives. Also, be mindful of sodium and saturated fat content in these substitutes.

Both experts stress the importance of reducing foods high in added sugar. Instead, choose naturally sweet foods like fruits, which contain fiber to help manage blood sugar levels.

Overall, the planetary health diet is beneficial for both personal health and the planet, making it worth trying.

Source: Parade

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