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A recent Tufts University study supports parents’ advice on eating vegetables, emphasizing that women with higher plant-based protein intake experience fewer chronic diseases and better overall health during aging.

Diet rich in plant proteins can reduce risk of various diseases

The research, based on data from 48,000 women, revealed a significant reduction in heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive decline for those with higher consumption of plant-based proteins. The study compared the effects of sources like fruits, bread, beans, vegetables, legumes, and pasta against lower intakes from these sources.

Lead study author Andres Ardisson Korat at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, said that they found that consuming protein in midlife is associated with promoting good health in older adulthood. According to the study findings the source of protein is crucial, and obtaining the majority from plant sources with a small amount of animal protein in midlife is linked to better health and increased survival in older ages.

The study utilized data from the Nurses’ Health Study, spanning from 1984 to 2016, focusing on female health care professionals aged 38 to 59 at the study’s initiation, and maintaining good health. Protein intake was assessed through periodic surveys conducted every four years, which documented food consumption frequency. The Harvard University Food Composition Database was employed to determine total protein amounts.

Plant-based proteins increase likelihood of good health by 46%

Consuming higher levels of plant-based protein is linked to a 46% greater likelihood of maintaining good health in later years, according to a study. Conversely, a higher intake of animal protein is associated with a 6% lower likelihood of sustaining good health, with increased prevalence of chronic diseases.

Plant protein exhibits a robust, consistent link to sustained mental health in later life, while animal protein displays a modest connection to reduced physical limitations. Increased plant protein intake is linked to lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and improved insulin sensitivity for heart health, contrasting with animal protein’s adverse impact. Dairy protein alone lacks a significant association with improved health in older adulthood.