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The results of a new study may give you a reason to make a three-bean salad or snack on hummus.
According to a report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), diets rich in protein, particularly plant protein, are linked to a lower risk of early death. The study said diets consisting of plant proteins including beans, lentils, and nuts can lower the risk of early death — while swapping meat for a plant protein could increase your longevity.
A group of researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran and Harvard University reviewed 32 studies on this topic. The authors found that a high intake of total proteins decreased the risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular diseases. The researchers stated one reason for this could be that this type of diet has beneficial effects on cholesterol and lipid profiles, blood pressure and blood sugars, which are all risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
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Beans and other legumes are a good source of plant-based protein.
“These findings have important public health implications as intake of plant protein can be increased relatively easily by replacing animal protein and could have a large effect on longevity," the researchers said in a statement. An additional 3 percent energy from plant proteins a day was associated with a 5 percent lower risk of death from all causes, according to the study.
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If you are looking to increase your plant-based protein intake, the American Diabetes Association recommends eating foods such as quinoa, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and edamame beans. Adding certain vegetables like peas, broccoli, and spinach, can also be beneficial when attempting to increase plant-based protein intake.