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Planet-Friendly Diet Greatly Cuts Risk of Illness and Early Death

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Being kind to the planet may also help you live longer, say scientists at Harvard University, after finding 'green' foods reduce the risk of an early death by 25 percent.


Bowl of fresh vegetables

According to scientists at Harvard, people who follow a more sustainable diet - eating predominantly vegetables, greens, fruits and whole grains, while reducing meat, fish, eggs and cereals, were less likely to die over the course of three decades.


The findings were based on the health outcomes of more than 100,000 people in the US, from 1986 to 2018, of whom more 47,000 died during the follow-up period.


Those who scored highest on the Planetary Health Diet Index - which measures how well people stick to the recommended daily intake of foods that are good for the planet - were 15 percent less likely to have died from cancer or heart disease.


Furthermore, they also had a 20 percent lower chance of death from neurodegenerative disease, and their risk of death from respiratory disease was cut by a whopping 50 percent. Overall a 'green' diet cut the risk of an early death by a quarter.


The findings were presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting for the American Society for Nutrition in Boston.

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