People are changing the way they eat in an effort to follow a more sustainable diet. But what are the benefits and limitations of doing this in terms of health and nutrition?
A recently published review mentions that a global switch to Flexitarian and Territorial Diversified Diets may be a practical and affordable way to reduce the impact of our diet on the health of the planet …
These diets are rich in plants, with moderate amounts of poultry, dairy and fish and low levels of red meat, highly processed foods and added sugars. Territorial Diversified Diets are flexitarian-style diet that includes high intakes of seasonal and locally produced foods. In addition, these types of diet may also improve our health by helping to reduce the risk of nutrition-related diseases.
Also, compared to vegan and vegetarian diets, consuming these mostly plant-based diets with small amounts of animal products can help to easily meet recommended nutrient intake without the need for nutrient supplements, fortified foods, or professional advice for diet planning.
Following a mostly plant-based diet has many benefits…
These dietary patterns have been associated with lower risk of developing non-communicable diseases.
Flexitarian diets can better meet the nutritional needs of adult women, who have higher needs for certain nutrients.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women, Flexitarian and Territorial Diversified Diets are also considered ideal because they provide more fibers, high quality protein, vitamins and minerals than solely plant-based diets. These diets also help to better support the nutrient needs of breastfeeding women that are required by infants to ensure a healthy development throughout life.
And to prevent the risk of nutritional deficiencies, special attention needs to be given to children and adolescents to ensure that vegan and vegetarian diets meet their needs for growth and development.
Flexitarian and Territorial Diversified Diets have also been associated with better fitness, improved cognition and longevity among the elderly. While they are also likely to benefit from increased dairy and fortified plant-sourced drinks consumption, the inclusion of moderate amounts of eggs and small amounts of meat will help maintain vitamin B12 levels.
Flexitarian and TDD also include a diverse range of foods that help to increase our microbiome diversity, and such diversity can be further increased through the consumption of probiotic and fermented foods.
Adoption and maintenance of healthy sustainable diets will require attention, professional advice, guidance and research, but with better practices, we can ensure a better future for ourselves, our family and our planet.