Eating a more sustainable diet with more whole grains, fruit, vegetable and nuts may help reduce a person’s risk of death from chronic illnesses. Researchers have developed the Planetary Health Diet Index (PHDI) which scores foods, taking into account the risk of chronic diseases as well as environmental impacts such as water use, land use, nutrient pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. They hope the index will help policymakers and public health bodies develop strategies to improve public health while also addressing the climate crisis. After developing their tool, the researchers used it to determine the outcomes of more than 100,000 people in the US, from 1986 to 2018. The team found that higher PHDI scores were associated with a 15% lower risk of death from cancer or heart diseases, a 20% lower risk of death from neurodegenerative diseases, and a 50% lower risk of death from respiratory diseases.

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