There are nearly 8 billion people on Earth, and whether we realize it or not, we all take a toll on the planet. When the health of our ecosystems and climate is at risk, it puts our own health at risk.
This Earth Day let’s remember that any positive action, no matter how small, can make a difference. Better yet, if everyone made just one healthy change to live more sustainably, imagine the impact it could have. With that in mind, here are some tips to improve your well-being, while helping the planet.
Eat less animal protein
Beef, pork, and poultry all taste good. However, studies have repeatedly shown that too much meat, especially red meat, is bad for you. What’s more, raising those animals is terrible for the environment. They require a lot of land for their feed, and to house and raise them. They create a lot of greenhouse gasses, just by existing. Processing that meat is also very energy intensive. If you start with one meatless meal a week, you do some good for your heart, your wallet, and the earth.
There are a couple of reasons for doing so. By eating local you have a better understanding of where your food comes from. Think about joining a community garden in your neighborhood. It’s a great way to get healthy vegetables required for a balanced diet. Most produce travels about 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your market, which creates a huge carbon footprint. Commercial farms also use a lot of chemicals when growing crops. Neither will be an issue if you’re eating healthy produce from just up the block. If that’s not an option, there may be a farmers market in your area.
Grow your own
Consider growing your own food if you have space for a garden. It’s a great way to get you and the family to stay active outside together. The fruits or vegetable you produce provide essential, healthy nutrients. Indoor house plants, too, can offer surprising health benefits while pulling carbon dioxide from the air. Aloe vera plants, for example, contain antioxidant and antibacterial properties, which can help treat cuts and scratches.
Walk where you need to go
When you drive, you’re adding about a pound and a half of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere for every mile traveled. Taking short trips by foot, or bike, will have an immediate effect on the atmosphere and your health. Walking 2 to 3 miles per hour for an hour can burn as much as 300 calories, while riding at an easy pace of 6 miles per hour can help you burn around 240 calories. If you take public transit instead of your own car, those walks to and from your stops will also help your blood pressure.
Stay hydrated, the right way
Your body is about 60% water, so it’s no wonder that staying hydrated is important for your overall health. When you do go for a sip, keep the environment in mind. Disposable plastic bottles are terrible for nature and wildlife, plus they’re a huge waste of money. Investing in reusable canteen-like stainless-steel bottles will prevent more plastic from ending up in our rivers, oceans, or landfills. An insulated thermos is also better for hot beverages than disposable coffee cups.
Healthy people need a healthy planet
If you want to make changes to your environment to make it healthier, AltaMed can help. You may want to make changes to your diet, your living situation, or maybe you just have questions. We’re here for you as your community health network. Contact us today at (877) 462-2582.