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Want to Eat Healthy and In a Climate-Friendly Way? Go With Seafood, Study Says

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When you think of eating healthy and in a climate-friendly manner, you may consider consuming lots of fruits and vegetables, but a new study finds seafood is a better choice.

The study looked at how different types of seafood stacked up against fruits, vegetables and beef when it comes to nutritional density and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Clams, mussels and oysters did much better from a climate-friendly and nutrient rich perspective than specific fruits like apples and pears," said Zach Koehn with Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions and the lead author of the study.

Koehn said anchovies, sardines and herring ranked even higher.

The study found that those seafood options overall had more of 12 key nutrients, including vitamin A, iron and zinc, than fruits and many vegetables like kale.

The study also found the anchovies and sardines required less boat fuel and greenhouse gas emissions to harvest.

But not all seafood performed swimmingly.

Koehn said wild caught prawns scored worse than beef with fewer nutrients and higher greenhouse gas emissions.

"It has to do with the kind of trawling that they're doing – how far they have to motor out to catch those prawns," he said.

The study also found that salmon had more nutrients than fruits but higher emissions.

Environmental studies Professor Peter Tide-Mares said it's important to look at the big picture when selecting seafood.

"If it has to be loaded on a plane and flown to you, you have really scaled up in terms of climate impact," he said.

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