Why would a wildlife conservation organization be involved in a campaign to push people to diversify their diets? Well, not surprisingly, what we humans choose to eat is very much linked to preserving wildlife—as well as improving many other issues. In this article, we are going to go over the top 10 most healthy and environmentally friendly foods. This was the primary topic at a recent conference in Paris, where the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) and Knorr Foods teamed up to launch their campaign and their report, titled "Future 50 Foods: 50 Foods for Healthier People and a Healthier Planet." The WWF's David Edwards says "We have to address the drivers of habitat loss and species collapse...and the biggest driver is global farming."
The report acknowledges that 75 percent of the food we eat comes from only twelve, yes twelve plant sources and five animal sources. Three of the plant sources include rice, corn, and wheat, which make up more than 60 percent of our entire food supply. This reliance on so few crops leads to monoculture farming, which is the repeated harvesting of a particular crop. This can potentially cause nutrient loss in the soil and lead to a need for chemical fertilization and pesticides.
The following food groups recommended for a healthier planet and diet meet a very specific criteria. They are highly nutritious, have as little impact on the environment as possible, are affordable, accessible, and of course, are delicious (or at least tolerable). Also, not surprisingly, due to the specific criteria, no animal-based products made the list. Go figure.
According to the report, algae is responsible for nearly half the oxygen production on our entire planet.
Best Example: Nopales (Prickly Pear)
The report cites cereals and grains are the most important source of food for human consumption. The report strongly urges us to diversify our grains to maintain biodiversity. Best Examples include amaranth, buckwheat, millet, fonio, quinoa, and wild rice.
Tomatoes and peppers are common examples.
Examples include squash, eggplant, okra, and, orange tomatoes.
Examples include broccoli, spinach, kale, red cabbage, and watercress.
Best Examples include enoki, portobello, shiitake, maitake, and cremini.
Examples include flax seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, peanuts, etc.
Best Examples include carrots, beets, winter radishes, and parsley root
While sprouts have caused a few health scares in the past, the report says the added nutritional value they offer outweighs the potential risks associated with their consumption.
Best Examples include alfalfa sprouts, sprouted kidney beans, and sprouted chickpeas.
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