Shun meat, eat vegetables, think better - GulfToday

Shun meat, eat vegetables, think better

Food 20

Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

By eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables, the world could avoid several million deaths per year by 2050, cut planet-warming emissions substantially, and save billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage, researchers said.

This was five years ago. The food regimen still holds good.

People who eat a Mediterranean-style diet — particularly one rich in green leafy vegetables and low in meat — are more likely to stay mentally sharp in later life, a new study shows.

The study indicated that closely adhering to a Mediterranean diet was associated with higher scores in a range of memory and thinking tests among adults in their late 70s.

“Eating more green leafy vegetables and cutting down on red meat might be two key food elements that contribute to the benefits of the Mediterranean-style diet,” said researcher Janie Corley from the University of Edinburgh.

For the study, published in the journal Experimental Gerontology, the researchers tested the thinking skills of more than 500 people aged 79 and without dementia.

The participants completed tests of problem solving, thinking speed, memory and word knowledge, and a questionnaire about their eating habits during the previous year.

More than 350 of the group also underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan to gain insights into their brain structure. The findings were remarkable. People who most closely adhered to a Mediterranean diet had the highest cognitive function scores, even when accounting for childhood IQ, smoking, physical activity and health factors. The differences were small but statistically significant.

The individual components of the diet that appeared to be most strongly associated with better thinking skills were green leafy vegetables and a lower red meat intake.

It is a worrisome issue that the lockdown has unlocked all kinds of eating habits, and that includes junk food. People in India in particular have been binging a lot on fast food. In the UK too, there has been a lot of binge eating, as more people have been eating more unhealthy, processed snacks and drinking more alcohol.

However, some Indians are moving towards healthier food options as a new survey on Friday showed that people are ordering healthier, nutritious food in 2021.

According to a food delivery app, healthy food orders saw a jump of 20 per cent in January as compared to December, clearly indicating a resolve to start the year on a healthy note.

While most binged on biryani and pizzas on New Year’s Eve, the food delivery app witnessed a rise in healthy meals and even healthy desserts being ordered on the first day of the year.

Dishes such as millet khichdi, multi-grain masala dosa, Mexican burrito bowl, caesar salad, corn sandwich, along with Belgian bites and sugar-free ice cream made for the maximum orders, the food delivery app said in a statement.

In these coronavirus times, the focus is on even tweaking dishes based on meat, giving them a plant-based edge. A small but growing batch of Chinese companies are betting on a bright future for plant-based meat products as consumers take their health more seriously in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopting a vegetarian diet was reported to cut food-related emissions by 63 per cent.

Dietary shifts could produce savings of $700 billion to $1,000 billion per year on healthcare, unpaid care and lost working days, while the economic benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as $570 billion, according to a study.

Many climate activists and scientists have called for a shift to a plant-based diet to keep climate change in check and reduce deforestation, since producing red meat requires a lot of land for grazing and growing feed.

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