About half of all living things come from the rainforest. Rainforests may seem like a faraway place, but what many of us don’t realize is just how much we rely on them on a daily basis — they filter the air we breathe, and provide about 80 percent of the food we eat. Our grocery stores are stocked with faraway fruits like avocados, figs, and pineapples.

Here are 7 foods you eat everyday that come from the rainforest:

 

1. CHOCOLATE

Cocoa bean

Cocoa production in Brazil is expected to fall in the next 10 years.

Chocolate, also known as the food of the Gods, comes from the cacao tree, which only survive in areas that get at least four inches of rain per month.

2. SPICES

Vanilla beans on vine

Vanilla beans on vine

Vanilla seeds actually grow as seed pods and is commonly used to flavor our cooking and coffee.  Cinnamon and pepper also come from the rainforests.

3. COCONUT OIL

Husking a coconut

North Americans are crazy for these nuts: coconut oil is a particularly popular natural beauty and health product, and has applications from skincare to cooking. But as its global demand for increases, production in Asia is stagnating because farmers aren’t paid enough to make it worthwhile.

 

4. BANANAS

Banana plantation Costa Rica

A Costa Rican banana worker carries a stalk of freshly harvested fruit on a plantation in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas that Americans eat are grown. Kent Gilbert/AP

Bananas actually grow as a giant herb, and grow best in tropical climates, even though modern technology has allowed us to grow bananas in places like California. But banana plantations are very susceptible to pests and rely heavily on pesticides which end up in the bodies of animals living nearby.

5. CITRUS FRUITS

rainforest-photo

Rainforests get over 1500mm of rainfall each year.

Oranges, lemons and grapefruits all thrive in tropical rainforests. This is because the heavy canopy of the trees allow water to trickle down onto the trees.

6. BRAZIL NUTS

Like cashews, Brazil nuts grows inside a fleshy pod, and are an excellent source of Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper.

7. SUGAR

sugar palm

The fruit of the Arenga Pinnata Sugar Palm

Sugar comes from many sources, but also comes from sugar palm trees that grow in abundance in the rainforest. Want sugar the least environmental impact? Indonesia’s best kept secret, the Arenga sugar palm helps restore the soil where deforestation has occurred. It lives on damaged, infertile, and eroded soils, improves the ecosystem of forest floors, removes CO2 from the atmosphere and produces a sugary sweet juice at an amazing rate.

 

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