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Renew yourself by consuming the best and avoiding the worst foods for the environment on World Environment Day 2021. This year's theme is 'Ecosystem Restoration'. The event will see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
With the increase in greenhouse gases and pollution, you should become more conscious about your food choices. However, these days many consumers are becoming increasingly educated on various agricultural practices and their impact on the environment including biodiversity loss, deforestation, and the depletion of natural resources.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the top 10 worst foods for the environment is an animal protein which includes beef and lamb.
If you care about climate change and the environment, you might want to make wise choices regarding your diet. So,
Here are the best and worst foods for the environment
1. Best: Lentils
Lentils are a versatile ingredient and are ranked as one of the best climate-friendly proteins. Production emissions and post farming emissions of lentils are only 0.09 kg of carbon dioxide which is 40 times less compared to other animal proteins like lamb. Lentils are also an excellent source of folate, phosphorous, copper, dietary fibre, and molybdenum.
2. Worst: Lamb
Did you know lamb has fifty percent more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram than beef? The methane gas emissions and the amount of feed required for lambs are almost similar to that of beef, according to the Environmental Working Group. This makes it the worst animal protein for the environment.
3. Best: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are the best environment-friendly foods with combined emissions amounting to only 1.1 kg of carbon dioxide. Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, biotin, vitamin K, and molybdenum. They are also an excellent source of manganese, potassium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, folate, and niacin.
4. Worst: Beef
Each kilogram of beef eaten generates 27 kg of carbon dioxide. Also, it takes roughly 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. High quantities of feed which are required to raise cattle are also factors that contribute to the negative environmental impacts of beef.
5. Best: Green Peas
Green peas act as natural nitrogen fixers, converting it into a usable form for organisms. Peas do not require synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and other possible additives. This, in turn, lowers the amount of harmful resources while keeping the vital nutrients intact. Peas are an excellent source of manganese, vitamin K, dietary fibre, copper, vitamin C, phosphorous, and folate.
6. Worst: Pork
Do you love eating pork? Then you will be surprised to know that eating about 4 oz serving of pork can be equivalent to the same carbon footprint of driving your car for three miles. Processed meat like ham, bacon, and sausage can increase the risk of cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.
7. Best: Broccoli
To maintain a greener environment, buy fresh produce that uses the least amount of fertilizers and pesticides. As when pesticides and fertilizers are used in crops, it accounts for both one-third of greenhouse gases emission. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and Brussel sprouts contain natural pesticides that protect themselves from pests and other harmful organisms.
8. Worst: Cheese
Depending on a certain type of cheese, the environmental impact of raising and feeding the livestock is significant. Cheese produces 13.5 kg of carbon dioxide. Cheese whey is the major source of pollution that needs appropriate treatment because of several environmental burdens.
9. Best: Organic Tofu
Tofu is packed with protein and requires less water than many sources of animal protein. Soy-based protein is more environmental friendly than meat. Tofu contains all eight essential amino acids. Being an excellent source of manganese, selenium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1, it is good to include it in your diet.
10. Worst: Farmed Salmon
Farmed salmon requires a lot of feed and electricity generation that plays a significant role in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In fish farming, a lot of pesticides and antibiotics are used which is toxic to the health, when consumed. Farmed salmon also has a low nutritional value when compared to wild salmon.
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