People who have more plant protein in their diets may live longer than people who get more protein from meat, according to a Japanese study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The group of researchers had a pool of 71,000 subjects, all middle-aged Japanese adults. They followed them for an average of almost two subjects. Participants who consumed the largest amount of plant-based protein sources were 13% less likely to die during the study and 16% less likely to die of cardiovascular causes compared to the participants who consumed the least amount.
“Previous studies have found higher consumption of animal protein is associated with increased chronic diseases and mortality, whereas higher consumption of plant protein is associated with lower risk, but most of these studies were conducted in Western populations, in which consumption of animal protein is much higher than plant protein,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, quoted by Reuters.
More plant protein, fewer heart complications
The results are interesting, but we must keep in mind that Japanese people consume much more plant protein than Western populations. At the same time, animal protein did not seem to influence longevity.
Of the 71,000 people, over 12,000 died. Of these 5,055 were related to cancer, 3.025 related to cardiovascular disease, 1,528 from heart disease, and 1,198 due to cerebrovascular disease.
Another interesting aspect is the fact that replacing just 3% of red meat with plant protein were 34% less likely to die of any cause. They were also 39% less likely to die from cancer, and 42% from heart disease. Replacing 4% of processed meat also yielded incredible results: they had almost 50% less chance to die of any cause.
The lesson here is: have more pulses in your diet, go for soy and nuts, too.