What you eat is all important for health. A recent study found that eating higher amounts of protein, whether animal or plant protein, were associated with lower rates of death (from any cause). Eating a diet high in plant protein appeared to be especially beneficial, and was associated with both a lower risk of death (all cause mortality) and deaths from cardiovascular disease. Higher protein intakes, whether animal, plant or combined, were not associated with rates of death from cancer.
The research, which was an analysis of 32 studies, found there was a dose-response association between intake of plant protein and risk of death (from any cause) - the more plant protein in the diet, the lower the risk of death.
What foods are high in plant protein? Legumes (beans,lentils, peas ), whole grains, and nuts. Bottom line: Eat more protein, especially plant protein, for your health. [And this means real foods, not supplements!]
From Science Daily: Diets high in protein, particularly plant protein, linked to lower risk of death
Diets high in protein, particularly plant protein, are associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, finds an analysis of the latest evidence published by The BMJ today.
The researchers say these findings "support current dietary recommendations to increase consumption of plant proteins in the general population."
Diets high in protein, particularly protein from plants such as legumes (peas, beans and lentils), whole grains and nuts, have been linked to lower risks of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, while regular consumption of red meat and high intake of animal proteins have been linked to several health problems.
But data on the association between different types of proteins and death are conflicting. So researchers based in Iran and the USA set out to measure the potential dose-response relation between intake of total, animal, and plant protein and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
They reviewed the results of 32 studies that reported risk estimates for all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in adults aged 19 or older. All studies were thoroughly assessed for bias (problems in study design that can influence results).
Mathematical models were then used to compare the effects of the highest versus lowest categories of protein intake, and analyses were done to evaluate the dose-response relations between protein intake and mortality.
During a follow-up period of up to 32 years, 113,039 deaths (16,429 from cardiovascular disease and 22,303 from cancer) occurred among 715,128 participants.
The results show that high intake of total protein was associated with a lower risk of all cause mortality compared with low intake.
Intake of plant protein was associated with an 8% lower risk of all cause mortality and a 12% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. Intake of animal protein was not significantly associated with risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.
A dose-response analysis of data from 31 studies also showed that an additional 3% of energy from plant proteins a day was associated with a 5% lower risk of death from all causes.
Possible reasons for the beneficial effects of plant proteins include their association with favourable changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which might help to lower the risk of conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, say the researchers.
"These findings have important public health implications as intake of plant protein can be increased relatively easily by replacing animal protein and could have a large effect on longevity," say the researchers.