Cardiovascular disease is the top killer in the United States and all over the world. It claims the lives of 610,000 Americans every year and accounts for 31 percent of all overall worldwide deaths. It is serious business.
There are several ways we can all reduce our risk, but one of the biggest contributing factors to the disease is our diet. New research lends some good news and backs up existing findings: making simple swaps in the foods we eat every day can leave our arteries in much better health.
Dr. John Sievenpiper of St. Michael’s Hospital led a meta-analysis and review of 112 studies on the topic of subbing plant-based proteins for their animal-based counterparts and seeing what results the switch had on heart health. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, described how swapping just one to two servings of animal protein for a plant protein every day reduced cholesterol markers that indicate risk of cardiovascular disease by 5 percent.
“That may not sound like much, but because people in North America eat very little plant protein, there is a real opportunity here to make some small changes to our diets and realize the health benefits,” Dr. Sievenpiper told Science Daily. It was also discovered that these plant protein foods (think soy, dried peas, beans and lentils) have the best effect when consumed with foods that contain water-soluble fiber, like oats and barley. Whole, fibrous foods can also have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
The idea that plant-based foods are better for human health isn’t a new one. And there are many people who, especially in the last few years, are jumping on board with this heart-healthy way of eating. Just this week Forbes published an article that detailed the rise of plant-based foods and popularity in the mainstream.
If you are wondering ways to include more plant proteins into your daily meals, look no further than this comprehensive list of delicious and healthy foods. There are also plenty of recipes out there for quick and filling meals that don’t depend on those ubiquitous chalky powders. Eating for heart health doesn’t have to be bland or boring – being creative with the flavors and textures plant-based foods have to offer is not only rewarding and trendy… it just might save your life.
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