Despite what you may have heard, how much protein you eat and where the protein comes from can have an overwhelming effect on your lifespan. Countless studies have shown that those who eat more plant-based proteins have a lower-than-average risk of death. Swapping out red meat or poultry for plant protein can shrink the amount of cholesterol in your arteries, lower your risk of heart disease, help digestion, and generally give you an overall cleaner bill of health. In addition to all the physical benefits, consuming mostly plant protein can have positive effects on your well-being and longevity. You don’t even have to be a full-on vegetarian; you just have to incorporate some plant protein into your diet to feel these positive effects. Here we outline nine longevity benefits to eating plant protein and where you can get these sources of protein.
7. Lower Risk of Cancer
One of the most beneficial effects of eating plant protein is lowering your risk of cancer. A low fat and whole-food plant based diet can help you to avoid cancer risks. Animal meats have a higher chance of being processed than plant protein, meaning there are more unknown chemicals and substances involved in their production. Red meat, in particular, has been linked to colon cancer since meat is harder on digestion than plant protein. In addition to avoiding smoking and alcohol, plant proteins can improve your chances of being diagnosed with liver, breast, and colon cancer.
6. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Harvard did a research study where they tracked the health habits of 110,000 people for 14 years which highlights the dietary effects of a plant-based diet on heart health. This study discovered that those who have at least eight or more servings of fruits and veggies a day are 30% less likely to have a heart attack or a stroke, compared to those who had less than two servings. The study also found that even moderate changes in plant protein can significantly lower your risk of heart disease. If you want to lower your risk of heart disease later in life make sure you get plenty of legumes, beans, and whole grains in your daily diet as possible.
5. Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol is often linked with eating regular portions of red meat or pork. Your diet can be the cause of your high cholesterol levels, but your diet can also help reverse your cholesterol levels too. Vegetables and plant proteins are an essential way to use your diet as a way to lower cholesterol. Stanford did a research study that showed that eating a plant-based diet reduced participants LDL cholesterol levels significantly more than just a low-fat diet alone. Make sure to balance your diet with high-protein vegetables and nuts such as almonds, kidney beans, and eggplants to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
4. Overall Weight Loss
If you are eating a ton of plant proteins or plant foods in general, you are consuming more volume of food with higher nutritional value than meat. Not to mention, you are probably having as little as 10 calories per cup instead of over 1000 for the same volume of meat. Eating red meat and poultry has also been linked to obesity among adults. Although there is no guarantee that being a full-blown vegetarian will help you lose weight overnight, eating more whole grains and veggies will help you feel full off of fewer calories. Try eating hummus, kidney beans, and artichoke hearts if you want to feel fuller off of less.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
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Studies have shown that vegetarians often have lower blood pressure than their meat-eating counterparts. Animal meat has been linked to raised blood pressure as well as a higher risk for stroke. Findings have also shown that eating a mostly plant-protein-based diet is about 50% as effective as taking blood pressure drugs. Populations that consume a diet of mostly plant proteins have lower blood pressure, with almost little-to-no increase as they age. Fiber from plant proteins will slow down the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream and help to balance your cortisol levels.
2. Prevents Diabetes
There are almost 400 million people living with diabetes, and this number is only expected to increase with time. What isn’t commonly known is that Type 2 diabetes is preventable and can be often remedied with a plant-based diet. Research has shown that those who consume mostly plant proteins have a 50% decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes over those who consume animal proteins. People who follow a mostly vegetarian diet will most likely have a healthier weight and body mass index (BMI), which is an important factor for those with type 2 diabetes.
1. Better Digestion
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Plant proteins are often rich in fiber, which is the best way to improve digestion. Research has shown that easier digestion of food will improve your overall health, mental status, hormonal levels, and immunity. Studies have also shown that those who consume a mostly plant-based diet have less of a chance of suffering from gastrointestinal cancer, gallstones, and constipation. To ensure your digestion is moving smoothly make sure you are eating less processed meats and more gut-friendly proteins such as are Chia seeds, hemp seeds, and broccoli.