Health tips: Eating your way to better health for you and Mother Earth

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There’s no way to describe the plot of Laurel and Hardy’s 1935 movie “Tit for Tat” -- suffice it to say, it involves misplaced revenge, a lemon meringue pie and shoplifting. Nonetheless, the takeaway is worth paying attention to: Bad choices lead to even worse results.

That’s the same point that’s made in a study published in Nature Food: The unhealthy food choices you make have a measurable negative impact on your health and on the health of the planet. Tit for tat!

Researchers did a detailed evaluation of 5,800 foods, ranking them according to their positive or negative impact on human health and the environment. They discovered you can lose up to 71 minutes of healthy living for every serving of corned beef with tomato sauce you chow down (the beef is so negative that the benefits of the tomatoes are canceled out). However, you gain up to 82 minutes for every serving of sardines with tomato sauce.

Mother Earth also wins if you make smart food choices: Substituting 10% of your daily calories from beef and processed meats for a mix of field-grown fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes and select seafood (not shrimp!) could reduce the carbon footprint of your diet by 33%, while you gain 48 minutes of healthy living a day.

So, are you stepping into a future with a healthier planet -- and a healthier you? You can do both, says the study, by choosing every day to eat nuts, legumes, nonstarchy vegetables, fruit, whole grains and sustainable seafood.

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