6 Healthy Foods You Wouldn’t Believe Are Damaging the Environment

2 years ago

Eating healthy and helping the environment may seem to go hand in hand, but they are often less aligned than we think. Many of the foods that are good for us are produced or harvested in ways that are harmful to planet Earth.

The Bright Side team went through the most credible research papers to assist those considering a healthy diet and an eco-friendly lifestyle.

1. Rice

Half the world’s population depends largely on rice to meet their daily caloric intake. However, the cultivation of rice, according to Oxfam, takes one-third of the world’s freshwater. Moreover, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports that global rice production emits greenhouse gases that are equivalent to the amount of energy produced by 1,200 coal-powered power stations.

2. Meat

Meat, specifically “industrial meat,” is damaging to the environment. Meat and beef production contributes to deforestation and the emission of greenhouse gases, making industrial meat particularly damaging to the environment. This makes beef and lamb the most harmful meats in environmental terms.

3. Almond milk

As a soy-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly milk substitute, almond milk has gained popularity and has become many people’s go-to drink, especially vegans and lactose-intolerant coffee drinkers. However, this yummy beverage takes a toll on the environment due to its high water consumption and pesticide use.

4. Dairy

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, approximately 270 million dairy cows live in the world, and each of them contributes to climate change through their manure creating greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, poor treatment of manure and fertilizers can harm local waterways. Unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can also result in the loss of ecologically valuable places, like forests, grasslands, and marshes.

5. Quinoa

The health benefits of quinoa are undeniable. The pressure to grow vast quantities of quinoa has led to environmental degradation. Farmers say the soil in Bolivia has deteriorated since the quinoa boom began, with land that was never planted being brought under cultivation, resulting in erosion and nutrient loss.

6. Kale

Kale has become such a staple for everyone on the quest for health that it’s basically a symbol of organic eating and the so-called “clean diet.” According to a 2015 study, organic farms may emit higher levels of greenhouse gases than their conventional counterparts. Furthermore, the organic pesticides sprayed on these farms have the potential to cause major damage to our streams.

What healthy food item surprised you the most on this list? What are your tips for maintaining a healthy yet eco-friendly lifestyle? Share them with us in the comments below.


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