The source of the protein we eat (plant vs. animal) matters to our health because food is a package deal. Plant protein, unlike animal protein, naturally contains healthy nutrients thought to extend our lifespan, significantly reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, boost our immune system, and prevent/treat rheumatoid arthritis. Plant-based diets may also prevent both age-related weight gain and premature puberty (see also here). Gluten is a healthy source of plant protein for 99% of Americans. Beans, including lentils, are another excellent plant protein source. Even processed meat-free “meats” are better for our health than animal protein (see, for example a comparison between chicken and cholesterol-free plant protein chicken). And the new USDA Guidelines (MyPlate) recognize plant protein, including soy, as healthy alternatives to animal protein.
Topic summary contributed by Elizabeth Stolle.
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Watch videos about plant protein
March 4, 2013
Treating Parkinson’s Disease With Diet
Plant-based diets in general and certain plant foods in particular may be used to successfully treat Parkinson's disease in part by boosting L-DOPA levels.
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Protein and Heart Disease
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October 9, 2012
An evolutionary argument for a plant-based diet is presented, in contrast to "paleo" fad diets.
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October 3, 2012
Animalistic Plant Proteins
While animal proteins increase levels of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1, and most plant proteins bring levels down, "high quality" plant proteins such as soy may not significantly affect..
October 2, 2012
Higher Quality May Mean Higher Risk
The reason animal proteins trigger the release of the cancer-promoting growth hormone IGF-1 more than plant proteins may be because the relative ratios of amino acids in animal proteins more closely..