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Green Mediterranean diet might be “win-win” for both health and environment

by Vaishali Sharma

Climate experts feel that reducing people’s consumption of meat and dairy products is one of the most effective things they can do for the environment.

According to ResearchTrusted Source, global production of animal-based meals — including livestock feed — contributes for 57% of total greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, while plant-based foods account for only 29%.

Another research suggests that if everyone turned vegan, the quantity of land required by farmers to grow food would be reduced by 3.1 billion hectares, or 76 percent.

According to the authors, rewilding the freed-up area would remove about 8.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year for the next 100 years, in addition to reducing emissions from food production.

Of all, the thought that billions of people throughout the world would willingly forego their steaks, sausages, and cheeseburgers to combat climate change may sound far-fetched.

However, if they realised how much it would enhance their own health, they may reconsider.

Recent studies

According to Trusted Source, persons who consume little or no meat had a decreased risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer and prostate cancer in males.

Diets that combine a decrease in meat and dairy consumption with an increase in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats provide additional health advantages.

A number of scientific investigations currently indicate that eating a “green” Mediterranean diet, or green Med diet, may give extra advantages in addition to the conventional Mediterranean diet.

The diet, which includes more plant foods high in polyphenols and aspires to eliminate meat entirely, is also healthier for the environment.

“Eliminating meat consumption — beef, pork, lamb — is by far the most significant single approach to minimise the carbon footprint from food,” said Dr. Meir Stampfer, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and one of the study’ authors.

In comparison to other foods, beef contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Human health and biodiversity

The overall area required for meat production includes a significant amount of land for cultivating crops to feed cattle.

So, by lowering the quantity of land dedicated to meat production across the world, the green Med diet might play a significant role in biodiversity preservation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) presents a virtuous loop that connects diversified, plant-based diets, human health, biodiversity, and sustainability in its 2020 report “Biodiversity for Nutrition and Health Trusted Source.”

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