Eating organic foods can help you live a longer, healthier life, according to a new study. And save our planet.
Scientists found that people who ate a greener diet were more likely to die during the follow-up period 30 years old) was 25% lower than those who ate less rationally.
This work builds on previous research that has identified products that are a win-win for both health and the environment. We are talking about whole grains, fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and unsaturated oils. Foods from the opposite camp that are considered harmful to the environment and human health are eggs, red and processed meat.
New research suggests that eating more environmentally friendly foods may help reduce the risk of death from cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. It is also associated with a lower environmental impact in terms of factors such as water use, land use, nutrient pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
In the new study, researchers aimed to create a simple tool that policymakers and public health professionals could use to develop strategies to improve public health and tackle the climate crisis. The result was the Planetary Health Dietary Index (PHDI).
Scientists reviewed existing research on the relationship between different food groups and health outcomes based on the EAT-Lancet reference diet, which takes into account the environmental impact of production methods food products. They then used the index to analyze results among more than 100,000 participants in two large cohort studies conducted in the United States. The dataset included more than 47,000 deaths over a follow-up period spanning more than three decades from 1986 to 2018.
Overall, they found that people in the highest quintile (one-fifth of participants) on the PHDI had a risk of death from any cause was 25% lower than that of people in the lowest quintile. Higher PHDI scores were associated with a 15% lower risk of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease, a 20% lower risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases, and a 50% lower risk of death from respiratory disease.