Why People Should Eat More Plants and Less Meat
Research that followed over 37,000 middle-aged Americans showed that those who ate the most plant protein were 27% less likely to die of any cause and nearly 30% less likely to diet of coronary heart disease than those who consumed the least amount of plant protein.
Swapping red and processed meats with lean chicken, turkey, fish, and plant proteins is a quick start to improve your diet, according to experts.
Soybeans (edamame), chickpeas, lentils and other legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, and whole grains such as quinoa are good sources of plant proteins. Broccoli and peas also contain a bit more protein than other vegetables.
According to Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, more benefits are seen when plant-based protein sources replace red and processed meats.
More Plants, Less Cow
No one said you have to be vegan to live longer, but reducing red and processed meats and full-fat dairy foods is a good start for increased longevity. Below are some tips to get more plants on your plate:
- Start with Meatless Monday... then try tofu Tuesday, etc.
- Treat meat as a “treat” and don’t eat it every week.
- Add beans or lentils to soups and salads or whip them into dips.
- Try black bean or veggie burgers instead of beef.
- Skip the chips and cookies. Try with nuts or seeds instead.
- Add a pile of peppers to pasta or rice dishes.
- Include sliced onions or chopped spinach in grain bowls.
- Enjoy seasonal or frozen fruit for dessert.
By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
To learn more about why shifting from a meat-based to a plant-based eating pattern is so good for your health, check out the post Could Changing Eating Patterns Promote Longevity?
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.