Considerable research has gone into why people in Blue Zones live about a decade or more longer than people outside of those zones. A Blue Zone is an area where people – on average – live considerably longer than others. These areas include Okinawa, Italy, Greece, Costa Rica, and parts of California.
One particular study conducted in Japan looked at 70,000 men and women. All participants were between 45 and 74 and had no medical history of heart disease, cancer, or stroke. They were watched for about 18 years and they filled out surveys every five years.
The Japanese people typically eat much less red meat than Americans and a lot more fish. They normally eat a lot more plant protein. It reduced their risk of death from any cause.
Along with other studies, this study revealed that people that eat more plant protein are apt to live as much as ten years longer than those that do not. Another discovery was that those people that ate more plant protein were less likely to die from cancer or heart disease.
Another study involving 34,000 Adventists in California, who are vegetarian, also showed that eating more plant protein enabled them to live longer. The study also found a difference in how it affected the longevity of men and women. While it added ten years to men, women lived 6 years longer.
Plants provide a lot of nourishment when eaten, including minerals and vitamins. They also have a lot of antioxidants, fiber, and more. Increasing your calories from plant protein by even as little as three percent could reduce your risk of early death by five percent. At the same time, if you reduce your intake of animal protein by just three percent and replace it with three percent of plant protein, you could decrease your risk of death by 10 percent.
Plant protein offers several benefits that enable people to live longer. The additional fiber encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. The antioxidants from plants help to prevent many diseases including breast and colorectal cancer because it reduces inflammation. It also has fewer toxins than meat and will help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The various studies revealed that increasing plant protein added years to the life of the participants. Animal protein did not make a difference in longevity but seemed to shorten the lifespan. Increasing red meat by one-half a serving increased the risk of death from all causes by 10 percent.
There are a wide variety of sources of plant protein. The sources include veggies, nuts, fruit, whole grains, and legumes. Plants provide many more antioxidants than meat, which is why the top 10 sources of antioxidants are plants or plant-based.
Adding more plant protein to your diet can also provide you with additional benefits. One of them is that it will keep you looking younger. Some foods that will speed up the aging process include foods such as french fries, white sugar, processed meats, and alcohol.
Although plants do not provide as much protein as meat, the other benefits clearly make adding plant protein to your diet worthwhile. It is especially true if you want to live longer.