Prevent colon cancer and save 11 million lives!
Really? Yes, and simultaneously save the planet.
How is that possible?
It just so happens that the dietary pattern that will prevent colon cancer is also the dietary pattern that can save the Earth and 11 million lives each year according to some of our leading scientists (1, 2)
Feeding the world’s population is threatening the planet’s ecosystems.
Food production is the largest cause of global environmental change:
- 1. Responsible for 30% of greenhouse-gas emissions
- 2. Prime source of methane and nitrous oxide which have 56 times and 280 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide
- 3. Responsible for 70% of water consumption
- 4. Driver of loss of biodiversity by converting natural ecosystems to croplands and pastures
- 5. Overuse and misuse of fertilizers (nitrogen/phosphorus) leading to eutrophication-dead zones on our waterways
I could go on, but you get the picture. Feeding over 7 billion people is stressing our only home. Our planet is getting sick. Just consider, If the Earth warms by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the climate change will lead to some irreversible negative impacts. Picture your temperature rising by 2.7 degrees. You would not feel well. Now imagine how you would feel with a constant fever.
Each of us has the power to help reverse this downward spiral by adopting a plant centric dietary pattern. The more plants we eat relative to meat and dairy, the better it is for the planet and the healthier it is for us.
Eating meat is a very inefficient way to obtain nutrients. In fact, 80% of the grains (corn, wheat, soy) we grow in the US are simply to feed animals for us to eat. And it requires more land which leads to cutting down forests, more water, fertilizer, and loss of many species, all while the human population grows toward 10 billion by 2050. The current food production is not sustainable.
By changing our diets to more whole food plants, we begin to decrease environmental impacts and improve our health.
Steps to take:
- 1. Eat less meat and dairy, especially red meat
- 2. Eat less highly processed foods (added sugars, oils, salt)
- 3. Replace with whole grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds
- 4. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables
Coincidentally, is also exactly the diet that is recommended to prevent colon cancer.
Not only does it decrease the risk of colon cancer, but a whole food plant-based pattern of eating also decreases the risk of dying prematurely from most of our leading causes of death: heart attacks, cancer, strokes, diabetes, kidney failure and Alzheimer’s. This dietary pattern even addresses the risk factors that lead to deaths and hospitalization from Covid-19.
The food choices we make affect the health of each of us, and interdependently the health of our planet. March is colon cancer awareness month, but we can make it so much more.
- (1) https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(18)31788-4.pdf?utm_campaign=tleat19&utm_source=HubPage
- (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6899507/
- (3) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/suppl_1320S/4576429
- (4) https://nutritionstudies.org/could-changing-our-diets-defeat-covid-19/