Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.
Harvard Medical School recently noted that eating plant-based protein may help you to live longer, according to a new study.
The study included 70,000 Japanese men and women ages 45 to 74 with no history of cancer, heart disease, or stroke. They filled out detailed diet questionnaires at the start of the study and again every five years.
After an average of 18 years, researchers found no clear association between animal protein intake and longevity. (Of note, most of the animal protein in the typical Japanese diet comes from fish, not red meat.) But participants who ate the most plant-based protein — mainly from grains, soy products, and vegetables — had a lower rate of death compared with those who ate the lowest amounts.
In addition, substituting plant protein for animal protein (mainly red or processed meat) was linked to a lower risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. The study was published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
A plant-based diet may be key to lowering risk for heart disease. Penn State researchers determined that diets with reduced sulfur amino acids — which occur in protein-rich foods, such as meats, dairy, nuts and soy — were associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. The team also found that the average American consumes almost two and a half times more sulfur amino acids than the estimated average requirement.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. A subcategory, called sulfur amino acids, including methionine and cysteine, play various roles in metabolism and health.
“For decades it has been understood that diets restricting sulfur amino acids were beneficial for longevity in animals,” said John Richie, a professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. “This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that excessive dietary intake of sulfur amino acids may be related to chronic disease outcomes in humans.” Continue reading
So you say you’re interested in a plant-based diet?
It’s true that many plants provide an abundance of nutrients, typically at a fraction of the energy expended to raise animal protein. However, before embarking on a wholesale change in diet, it’s worth considering the research and experience of a trio of neurotoxicologists at Oregon Health & Science University.
Their message: Not all plants are good for you.
That’s particularly true for those who are undernourished or depend on a single plant. But the scientists caution that growing interest in foraging for wild edibles raises the risk for people in wealthy countries, too, especially as some plants may become more toxic with a changing climate. Continue reading
It’s beginning to feel like the plants are taking over. Meatless burgers at fast food restaurants. What’s next? Plant-based beverages, of course. Tufts does a good job of explaining how it is not a totally one-for-one substitution.
Enjoy plant-based beverages; but be aware most are not equivalent to milk.
The market for plant-based alternatives to dairy products continues to grow, as lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, veganism, environmental concerns, and other factors lead Americans to look for alternatives to dairy. So where do these beverages fit into a healthy dietary pattern?
How They are Made: To understand the nutrient profiles of plant-based beverages, one first needs to know how they are made. The raw materials (nuts, grains, legumes, or seeds) are soaked in water and ground (or ground and then soaked). The resulting slurry is strained to remove solids, and then any flavorings, sweeteners, and desired nutrients can be added. Thickening agents (such as locust bean gum, carrageenan, or xanthan gum), and stabilizers to keep the mixtures from separating, are often required. The products undergo heat treatment that kills any microorganisms, and they are packaged for market.
This process results in a beverage with a nutrient profile significantly different from the original plant food. Continue reading
Plant-based dietary patterns are becoming highly recommended, but not all “plant-based” foods are healthy, according to experts at Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
Experts agree plants should make up a large part of a healthy dietary pattern. Humans eat plant roots (carrots and radishes), stems (asparagus and celery), leaves (leafy greens), seeds (including whole grains), flowers (broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke), and the seed-bearing “fruits” of plants (including fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts). All are packed with important health-promoting nutrients, and countless studies have found associations between consuming diets higher in unprocessed plant foods and lower risk for a wide range of disorders such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. But recommendations to eat a “plant-based” diet can be misleading. “I really dislike the term plant-based to describe a preferred or healthy diet,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, dean of Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and editor-in-chief of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “Not all animal-based foods are bad, and most of the worst things in the food supply are technically plant-based.” A vegetarian diet built on pizza, macaroni-and-cheese, and baked goods may be “plant-based,” but it’s far from a healthy dietary pattern. Continue reading
In my youth, I became a vegetarian for a period of about five years. In that time, I tipped the scales in the high 140 pound bracket (I was around 5’11” at the time). I did yoga most days and felt like a million dollars. Those days are past (I am now down to around 5’9-1/2″) and I ride my bike pretty much daily for exercise. I eat meat sparingly, because of the fats. So, I was not surprised to see the latest from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death and eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death, especially among adults with at least one unhealthy behavior such as smoking, drinking and being overweight or sedentary, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.
“The consideration of food sources is critical to better understanding the health effects of eating protein and fine-tuning dietary recommendations. Continue reading
Following is a reblog from reader and fellow blogger: Luke Jones. I hope you enjoy it. Please do check out his blog, too.
Benefits of a plant based diet, by Luke Jones of herohealthroom.com