In this day and age, eating healthy is no longer just a trend – it’s a conscious lifestyle choice. With that said, the term “superfoods” most likely isn’t just a buzzword any longer but part of your everyday fueling routine. After all, some products are known for their nutritional value, as well as their health- and stamina-boosting properties and is why we try to incorporate them into our daily meals.
Sometimes, however, we as consumers may not be aware of the impact that the production of some of these superfoods has on the environment. While various agricultural practices can contribute to climate change, deforestation, water scarcity, and biodiversity loss, they can also wreak havoc on the quality of our foods, as well. That’s why it’s extremely important to know which superfoods are produced ethically and/or which brands have ethically-produced products available.
In this article, you’ll learn which superfoods are both healthy and eco-friendly, and which products have an uglier side. Without any further ado, let’s jump right in!
One of the all-time favorite superfood ingredients, chia seeds, may not have much flavor on their own, but they are a superstar when it comes to adding them in with other foods! They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants making them a super nutritious choice, as well! Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber, iron, and calcium. What’s more, their production is fairly sustainable, and as long as there were no pesticides used during the process, there’s no significant damage to the environment.
Because of their excellent nutritional value, chia seeds are a perfect ingredient for meals prepared as a part of a clean diet. Furthermore, they are a great choice for those who have gastrointestinal issues and disorders, such as those with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. You can read more about the EDS at thesperoclinic.com, as well as find some tasty recipes using chia seeds. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland and boring!
Are you trying to switch to a plant-based diet but worried about finding a great source of protein? Look no further! Lentils are known to be high in protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s a perfect ingredient for tasty meals, providing great nutritional value while also being full of flavor. What’s more, lentils are known to be sustainable and are also one of the most climate-friendly proteins, as their production and post-farming CO2 emissions are extremely low.
Beetroots started to gain popularity only recently, but they’ve around for centuries and definitely worthy of their praises. Beets can be served in many ways: fresh, pickled, roasted, grated; and you can use them to make soups, juices, or amazing vegetable tarts, to name a few. You can also prepare the leaves, which is a great contribution to the zero-waste movement.
As for the nutritional profile, beetroots are rich in plant compounds, minerals, and essential vitamins. At the same time, they’re low in calories. Studies show that beetroot consumption has numerous benefits, from keeping blood pressure in check and fighting inflammation, to improving athletic performance. Adding to that, beetroots are considered to be an eco-friendly vegetable. In fact, you can even grow them yourself!
Popular Yet Unethical
Some superfood products are extremely popular in certain diets and are well known for their numerous benefits. Yet even though there’s a huge demand, the production of some of these items is less than ethical, and consumers should be made aware. These include:
- This is a rather controversial topic, as it was once believed that huge demand for quinoa is detrimental to people from Bolivia and Peru. While the reality is more complex than that, still, there are undeniable environmental consequences, such as reduced soil quality and a high carbon footprint, as is why you should be aware of how your quinoa is grown and harvested before buying a bag.
- A common choice for both vegans and non-vegans alike, avocado farming is less than ethical due to its links in deforestation, drought, its huge carbon footprint, and even drug cartel crimes.
- A staple product in many people’s diets, eggs may not be as eco-friendly as you might think. If you want to take a full bath, you’ll need roughly 36 gallons of water. Meanwhile, it is said to take 53 gallons of water to produce an egg. That’s right – just one egg. When you look at the demand worldwide, it doesn’t look like an environmentally friendly product anymore. Who would have thought?!
- When it comes to global consumption, only peanuts are more popular than cashews. Cashews are a trendy ingredient in the vegan diet and are often used in the production of vegan cheeses or other dairy alternatives. However, there’s a dark side to their popularity. Farmers and workers working in the cashew industry have been known to be mistreated. What’s more, some reports indicate that their production can harm the environment, including in such ways as water pollution and pesticide use.
The Bottom Line
If you want to incorporate superfoods to make your diet more healthy and ethical, then you have a lot to think about. Feel free to do more research and find out what else is eco-friendly, and which products are just a huge marketing ploy and don’t necessarily translate into ethical values.
Keep in mind that you can also contribute to a more ethical lifestyle and diet before you even prepare your meal. You can start by doing grocery shopping at local markets and carrying your own reusable bags instead of using plastic ones all the time. Remember that you can eat healthily and contribute to a positive, eco-friendly movement and help the environment with your choices – and even the smallest steps should be considered a win!