Sustainable food is the buzzword these days. It is important to understand the relationship between what we eat and its effect on our health and our environment. Some foods seem to be more harmful to our bodies, while others are recommended for consumption. A recent study, published in Nature Food, delves into environmentally sustainable foods that promote health. Nearly 5,800 foods were evaluated as part of the study, ranked by the number of minutes of healthy life lost or gained from eating those foods. For example, a hot dog shortens a healthy shelf life by 36 minutes, while a serving of nuts can extend it by 26 minutes.
The research, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, aims to establish a connection between the foods we eat and their effect on us and the world around us. The idea is to create a series of nutritional recommendations that address nutritional and environmental impacts. The research is based on the Healthy Nutrition Index, or HENI, which includes 15 dietary risk factors and combines them with the nutritional profile of foods and the environmental indicators used to create them.
The results of the study indicated that the foods with the most negative health effects were processed meat, beef, shrimp, pork, lamb and greenhouse vegetables. Some foods with a positive impact and nutritionally beneficial include field-grown fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seafood with low environmental impact.