Why You Should Be Getting Most of Your Protein From Plants

Less steak, more edamame

The Benefits of Plant Protein

InsideHook’s Senior Editor Alex Lauer became a vegetarian a few years ago. Since he made the switch, he’s heard one question over and over from curious (dubious) friends: “But where do you get your protein?”

It’s difficult for most people, Americans especially, to imagine a balanced diet that doesn’t rely on meat or spurns it entirely. But a recent study out of Japan might breathe some much-needed fresh air into that line of thinking. Researchers followed nearly 71,000 Japanese men and women for an average of 18 years, none of whom had a history of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and discovered a fascinating link between plant protein intake and long-term health.

When comparing the study’s top quintile of plant protein eaters to its bottom quintile, the top quintile had a 27% lower rate of cardiovascular death, a 28% lower rate of stroke, and a 28% lower rate of death from heart disease. Moreover, the researchers found that specifically swapping red meat protein or processed meat protein for plant protein contributed to an all-around lower mortality rate.

The baseline concept that a plant-based diet is easier on the body over the course of 18 years than an animal-based diet might not sound too revolutionary. But the focus here on protein is crucial. Piling plant-based foods on your plate goes beyond checking the boxes on vitamins, minerals, and fiber; it’s also a sustainable method for consuming protein. As for some great go-to options, we recommend tofu, edamame, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, Ezekiel bread, and vegetables like broccoli, kale, avocados and asparagus.

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