To meet one’s required level of protein intake, it’s better to turn to food such as nuts, soy, whole grains, lentils, and tofu

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Gesina Kunkel /Unsplash

A new Japanese study found that people who eat plant-based protein are more likely to live longer than those who get their protein from meat. The researchers monitored the diets of about 71,000 Japanese adults for two decades and found that compared to individuals who ate a lot of meat, those who consumed more plant-based protein were 13 percent less likely to die while 16 percent are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases. 

The study also reported that people who replaced three percent of red meat with plant protein were 34 percent less likely to die of any cause, 39 percent less likely to die of cancer, and 42 percent less likely to die of heart disease. It was also found that participants who ate plant protein instead of processed meat were 50 percent less likely to die of cancer. 

According to study co-author Dr. Norie Swada, one limit of the research is that the diet of the participants were only examined at the beginning of the study, which means that it’s possible that examiners changed their eating habits throughout the 20-year period. This may have affected the study’s results.

Nevertheless, it was established that generally, people who ate more plant-based protein are more likely to live longer compared to those who ate a lot of meat.

The Better Protein Source

To meet one’s required level of protein intake, it’s better to turn to food such as nuts, soy, whole grains, lentils, and tofu rather than meat as it makes people more susceptible to cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

As Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston says: ”It is worth noting that these plant foods contain not just protein, but also other beneficial nutrients such as healthy fats, anti-oxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. On the other hand, diets high in red and processed meats have been associated with a wide range of health consequences such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.” 

Not to mention, plant-based protein is also a lot more environmentally friendly.

Dr. Hu recommends plant-based protein not only because it’s healthier, it’s also more environmentally sustainable. Plant-based protein requires less natural resources to grow compared to animal-based foods, and shifting away from the latter would reduce carbon emissions and waste byproducts that end up in the oceans.

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