According to data from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the more plant protein consumed, the lower your risk for mortality.1 This remains true even for those with unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as heavy drinking, obesity, physical inactivity, or smoking.
The study takeaway?
Look for ways to reduce the number of calories you consume daily from red meat and eggs. Substituting just 3% of daily calories derived from these animal proteins with plant protein was found to be associated with a 10% lower risk of death.
How does this translate to our forks?
Very easily! No major dietary overhauls are required to gain these life-extending benefits. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories daily, you would only need to swap out 60 calories. That’s just 15 grams of protein each day.
We’ve put together some delicious examples of plant protein meals.
Plant Protein Swaps:
- Oatmeal with flax seed and almond butter
- Granola with nuts and seeds
- Tofu scramble with 1/3 avocado
- Hummus with pita
- Black beans and brown rice
- Nut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Lentil soup
- Vegetarian chili over brown rice or bulgur
- Vegetable stir-fry with tofu over brown rice or bulgur
- Tempeh—try grilled or grated and use in tacos or pasta sauce
Make it spicy—every day!
A seven-year Chinese health study examined spicy food intake of over 20,000 lives and revealed a reduced risk of total mortality, as well as death due to cancer, ischemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases (independent of other risk factors).
Compared with eating spicy food less than once a week, eating it once or twice a week resulted in a 10% reduced overall risk for death. But eating spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14%.
Pass the hot sauce!
What foods will you swap out today? Leave a comment below!
- Song M, Fung TT, Hu FB, et al. Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 01, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182.
- Lv Jun, Qi Lu, Yu Canqing, Yang Ling, Guo Yu, Chen Yiping et al. Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study BMJ 2015; 351 :h3942