A healthy plant-based diet, known as the “Planetary Health Diet Index” (PHDI), could sustainably feed the growing global population, reduce food waste, and limit environmental impact, according to the groundbreaking EAT-Lancet report. This diet involves consuming healthful foods with a low carbon footprint, emphasizing minimally processed plant-based foods and moderate intake of meat and dairy products. It is recommended to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsaturated oils in this dietary plan.

In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American researchers found that the “Planetary Health Diet” (PHDI) could reduce the risk of premature death while also benefiting the environment. To conduct their study, the researchers analyzed data from over 200,000 participants in three different cohort studies. Two of these studies focused on the health of nurses, while the remaining study followed healthcare professionals. Volunteers completed questionnaires about their dietary habits approximately every four years over a 34-year period, allowing researchers to determine their PHDI scores.

The study revealed that individuals with higher PHDI scores had a lower risk of premature death compared to those with lower scores. This suggests that following a plant-based diet in line with the PHDI guidelines may contribute to a longer and healthier life. Additionally, the environmental benefits of this diet cannot be overlooked, as reducing meat and dairy consumption can help lower greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the overall environmental impact of food production.

By adopting a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils, individuals can not only improve their health but also contribute to environmental sustainability. Making small changes in daily food choices can have a significant impact on personal well-being and the health of the planet. Embracing the principles of the Planetary Health Diet Index may be a step towards a healthier, more sustainable future for both individuals and the global community.