What does an optimal diet for human health look like?
Hünninghaus: The so-called EAT-Lancet Commission got together to answer this question. It subsequently developed the Planetary Health Diet. This is a vegan to flexitarian diet. Flexitarian means an emphasis on plant-based foods. Approximately 50 percent of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, a greater proportion should be made up of whole grains, plant-based proteins including legumes, and vegetable oils containing polyunsaturated fats with smaller portions of meat and dairy products. We should cut back on meat, reserving it for special occasions like the weekend again, for example. It is a win-win diet that is good for both people and our planet.
What technologies can make diet and nutrition more sustainable in hospitals?
Hünninghaus: Waste prevention is an approach that can save money and natural resources. It's an important aspect for staff members since they often only have time for takeout food. We use a smartphone app that helps you get takeout and deliveries in returnable, reusable containers.
Some software programs can calculate the carbon footprint of food products. You can enter the food items to get a score that shows your carbon emissions and indicates how much water and land area was used to produce your meal. The scores can be published, enabling consumers to see whether they have chosen carbon neutral food.
There are also software programs that record and digitize these processes in the inventory management system. It enables users to see where resources might be wasted to then determine optimization potentials.
You have many approaches that can merge green and smart hospital concepts effectively as digitization and sustainability are the key aspects of a pioneering health care system.
You were part of an expert panel on health tech and climate change at MEDICA 2021. How did you like this format?
Hünninghaus: I really enjoyed it and was amazed to see climate change among the topics that were being addressed at MEDICA. I think it would be great if the trade fair expands on this aspect in the future since climate change will increasingly affect our health care system in the future, making it impossible to ignore. It is important to inform the public as much as possible, to raise awareness and educate everyone about the many win-win strategies and innovations that can emerge from this crisis.