Why Eat for the Planet’s Benefit?

Posted on December 7, 2023

I have eaten a vegan diet since I was 30 years old. My motivation was my neurological health. I don’t hold an ethical or philosophical position for limiting myself to these choices. Rather, I started because there was no medical answer to my physiological problems. After seeking consultation with a nutritional counselor, within four months, I could tell my condition had improved. Now, 43 years later, I have achieved successful aging (as defined by  2020 Feb 15; 12(3): 2670–2679. Published online 2020 Feb 6. doi: 10.18632/aging.102769). I can “fast walk, lead an independent life, have emotional vitality, and am very healthy.” I have “perfect blood” (all levels within optimal range of those components that are tested), and no arthritis, or diseases. And the side benefit? I’m improving the environment at the same time.

The number of medical studies is constantly growing that link a diet based on plant foods* to our personal health. Just this month, the November/December 2023 issue of Nutrition Action, a publication of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, concludes “Therefore, following a plant-based diet in young adulthood and mid-life could reduce the overall burden of dementia in later life.”

The article states that maintaining memory is linked to the health of the brain’s blood vessels in the same way as blood vessel health is linked to the heart’s health. So, a diet good for your heart is good for your brain.

Heart health has been understood for many years. Essential blood vessels feed both organs. Again, Nutrition Action states “Blood pressure and insulin levels in the healthy range may reflect eating very small amounts of protein.” In addition, small amounts of protein consumption will reduce the negative climate impact of raising animals. Our personal eating choices impact both our health and the planet’s health.

*A plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of plant-based foods. Plant-based diets encompass a wide range of dietary patterns that contain low amounts of animal products and high amounts of plant products such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Andrea Mones, Professional Associate, American Institute for Conservation


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