We all know eating a plant-based diet filled with tons of leafy greens, crunchy raw garden veggies and in-season fruit is good for our health - from the antioxidant hit of a bowl of blueberries to the reputed cancer-fighting properties of kale and her green leafy friends - it's the knockout diet to follow for a bikini-ready body and a long, healthy life.

But it turns out that eating plant-based foods is not only good for us, it also has a surprisingly important effect on the environment. Leading Aussie GP Dr Zac gives us his take on how we can 'go green with our fork':

What does going green with your fork mean? 
Going green with your fork doesn't necessarily mean restricting yourself to only eating greens, it means making conscious eating choices regarding their impact on the environment.

Image @sumosalad

Being aware of the food you're eating and having a better understanding of what exactly goes into producing it will make going green with your fork a lot easier. Monitoring your portion intake and only cooking an amount you know will be/should be eaten helps your health and the environment.

What are the health benefits of this diet? 
Meat and animal products have a larger footprint on the environment compared to plant-based foods. And it's these meat and animal products that a lot of people are eating in excess.

Image @alphafoodie

By reducing your meat intake and swapping it for plant-based alternatives, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and morbidity. Weight management and body composition are also a lot easier to manage on a reduced meat consumption diet, with vegetarians and even 'flexitarians' (people that consciously reduce their meat consumption but don't cut it out all together) being a lot lighter and leaner than those with a heavy meat intake.

How does it help the environment? 
Reduced meat consumption helps the environment as the production of meat takes a significantly greater toll on the environment than that of plant-based foods or even fish. For example, it takes 20 times more water to produce a single kilo of beef (between 50,000 and 100,000 litres) than it does for a kilo of rice fruit or veg (about 2,500 litres).

Portion control will help your waistline and the environment by reducing unnecessary waste that simply ends up in landfill.

You can contact Dr Zac Turner at www.drzac.co 
Instagram: @drzac.co 
Dr Zac has teamed up with Sumo Salad on their 'flexitarian' diet campaign, which you find more information about here: sumosalad.com

The surprising reason we need to eat more greens