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Consider the almond.

Almonds and other nuts are often touted as healthy snacks, because they can help you maintain a healthy weight and are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

But almonds are grown in drought-stricken California, and the amount of water required to produce them has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. So if you’re an environmentally minded eater who also wants to embrace a healthy diet, are almonds a responsibly green snack?

Relatively speaking, yes, says ecologist David Tilman of the University of Minnesota.

In a vast new analysis published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesTilman and his co-authors looked at the health and environmental impacts of 15 different food groups, including nuts, fruits, vegetables, red meat, dairy, eggs, fish, olive oil, legumes and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The foods were ranked relative to one another based on how they influence the risk of disease and the toll they take on the planet in terms of water and land use, greenhouse gas emissions and how they impact pollution of […]

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