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Where We Get Our Protein Matters

One of the main things I hear when people talk about cutting meat out of their diets is that they’re afraid they won’t get enough protein. But so many foods in a vegetarian yoga diet pack a protein punch—beans, nuts, whole grains, tofu, in addition to a variety of plant-based “chicken” strips, tofurky, veggie burgers, and other mock meats that are now widely available.

According to a new study, vegetarian sources of protein are better for you than meat. This long-term study (over 132,000 participants over 32 years) published in the August 2016 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine1, had some interesting findings with regard to protein sources: “…we observed that substitution of plant protein for animal protein from a variety of food sources, particularly processed red meat, was associated with a lower risk for mortality, suggesting that the protein source is important for long-term health.”

Specifically:

  • A 10% increase in animal protein intake was linked to a 2% increase in overall mortality and an 8% increase in the risk of cardiovascular-related death.
  • A 3% increase in plant protein intake was linked to a 10% decrease in overall mortality and a 12% decrease in cardiovascular mortality.2

So according to the study, plant protein actually increases one’s chance of living longer, while at the same time helping to prevent heart disease.

Of course, choosing plant protein is not the only factor in living a long and healthy life. Our lifestyle and genetics are also important—but our diet, what we put into our bodies several times a day, every day, plays a huge role. Since the body needs protein to build and repair body tissue, it makes sense to get it from a healthy source, rather than from a source that may cause disease down the line.

If you’ve been thinking about switching to a vegetarian yoga diet, I hope this new study will give you the incentive you need to make it happen. After all, a vegetarian yoga diet is an important part of the yoga lifestyle, as it’s good for our bodies, the well-being of animals, and for the environment...

 

1JAMA Internal Medicine, Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake with All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality.
2Meat-eaters May Have a Higher Risk of Death, but Plants Are the Answer, by Jacqueline Howard, CNN. www.cnn.com/2016/08/01/health/meat-eaters-risk-of-death-plant-protein/index.html

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