Our health linked to our food linked to our biodiversity

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Dorothy Shaver, Global Sustainability Lead for Knorr, Unilever, marks the International Day for Biological Diversity with a guest blog on why eating diverse foods matters for our biodiversity, our food and our health.

The food we eat every day comes from agricultural biodiversity, which contributes directly to food security, nutrition and well-being. The types of foods grown and the ways they are produced impact agricultural biodiversity, which in turn, impacts our health.

Human health and the health of the environment are interlinked.

Food production has rapidly increased as a response to the recent spike in population growth. This demand has led to an increase in homogenous varieties as a result of farmers abandoning local types. This, amongst many other factors, has led to severe lessening of agricultural diversity, resulting in the extinction of valuable species and loss of biodiversity, which contributes to poor nutrition. Globally we are reliant on twelve crops and five animals to provide more than 75 percent of our food supply. We’re planting and eating the same foods repeatedly – leaving our bodies and our land deprived of precious nutrients. With an alarming rise in overweight and obesity, in tandem with a steady incline in micronutrient deficiencies and diseases with food-related causes, it’s no secret that we’re not eating the right foods in the right amounts.

The journey to improve human and planetary health can be one and the same.

The good news is that the best foods for our health – green vegetables, mushrooms, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, grains and cereals – are also better for the environment.

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