Did you know that just as the health of the Earth affects our well-being; our health also has an impact on the Earth? One of the ways it happens is through our food or diet. In fact, this year’s theme for World Health Day also has a similar line: ‘Our planet, our health’.
Research conducted by the University of Leeds last year concluded that healthy diets have lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study looked at more than 40,000 foods and suggested that unhealthy foods are responsible for nearly a quarter of diet-related GHG emissions. While a third of diet-related emissions came from meat products, 15% came from beverages, 14% from dairy products, and 8% from cakes, cookies, and confectionery. The research was published in the scientific journal PLOS One.
Therefore, highly processed foods and drinks are doubly dangerous: they make us sick and lead to GHG emissions. But it doesn’t have to be that way, feel like experts. Food can be sustainable and nutritious at the same time, they say. The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report also noted the impacts of food
production on the environment and highlighted changes in behavior and lifestyle as one of the ways to counteract it.
Another study, a review of eight previously published studies, led by Dr S Anitha, Senior Scientist, Nutrition, at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), examined the nutritional benefits of millet and found that they can be crucial in combating malnutrition.
Millet has been described as a smart crop for its nutritional qualities and also because it does not need much water to grow. In addition, they are resistant and do not need a lot of fertilizers. Different types of millet contain varying percentages of nutrients, but are generally loaded with calcium, iron, beta-carotene, and dietary fiber as well.
A study by the Bangalore Center for Science, Technology and Policy Studies found that swapping rice and wheat for millet can save the country 50 million tons of GHG emissions and 300 billion cubic meters of water each year by 2050. .
Eat seasonal and local.
“Nature provides us with seasonal vegetables and fruits; in winter, we get crops like mustard and radish, which help us keep our bodies warm, while in summer, we get refreshing, water-rich vegetables, like cucumber. Today, due to processing, everything is available throughout the year. We are not eating seasonal or local. On top of that, we preserve them for longer periods and in return harm the environment,” says Prabhakar Rao, a seed keeper and promoter of
Chemical-free organic farming. He runs Hariyalee Seeds, a family farm, curating endangered and heirloom seed species from around the world.
a sustainable diet
“Sustainable diets have a lower environmental impact, which means that they protect biodiversity, optimize resources, are safe, accessible and, most importantly, sufficiently nutritious in terms of quantity and quality. In short, this way of eating meets the needs of society, while protecting and preserving the environment”, explains dietician Kripa Jalan.
One way to accomplish this could be by prioritizing plants, he suggests. “Sustainable diet doesn’t mean you give up meat altogether, it just means your diet should comprise more plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. Treat animal products as a side dish rather than a main course. Meat production is a substantial contributor to GHG emissions (mainly beef production) and the environmental burden is deepened as raising and transporting livestock also requires more food, water, land and energy than plants,” he says. she.
Don’t blame everything on dairy and meat.
While the role of dairy and animal-derived foods is often under scrutiny for their contribution to GHGs, experts like Dr. Sylvia Karpagam highlight the nuances in the big picture.
“It is also necessary to look beyond grains towards self-sufficiency in milk/dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, meat, vegetables, legumes, oils/fats and incorporate them into food subsidy programs and schemes. There is a need for market regulation to ensure that it is not exploitative. Most of the ranching in India can be made more sustainable with support,” he argues. She further says that grain fortification is promoted as a solution to nutrient deficiencies, but it comes with a corporate agenda and is not a sustainable, climate-friendly option. She requires premixes to be flown in from other countries and needs all locally grown foods to be delivered to companies for fortification before they are sold to communities at marked prices.
The next time you eat healthy, remember that it’s not just for you.
Poshan 2.0: #Reach Every Child
The Poshan 2.0: #ReachEachChild initiative by Outlook and Reckitt media group aims to bring about transformative change in sustainability and unite behind the cause of proper nutrition in the country, in line with the government’s Poshan agenda.
First conceptualized in 2019 as the first initiative of its kind in the field of nutrition by any media group, the Outlook Poshan Awards, which were presented by the Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu, highlighted the importance of ensuring good nutrition. nutrition. in the country and unleash the potential, growth and productivity of India’s human capital.
Our partner Reckitt is also committed to improving the quality of life for people around the world with its range of health, hygiene and nutrition products. The initiatives led by Reckitt have already had a significant impact in the Amravati and Nandurbar districts of Maharashtra.
On the occasion of World Health Day on April 7 this year, Outlook Poshan 2.0 in its new avatar brings together thought leaders from around the world to recognize the country’s achievements in the nutrition space and deliberate on the way to follow to address the remaining challenges related to nutrition. for india Taking a nutrition-sensitive approach, we bring our readers opinion columns from experts in the fields of water, sanitation, hygiene and women’s empowerment, starting with an inspiring speech by the Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu.
For more information click here https://poshan.outlookindia.com/