‘Healthier Aging’ For Women Who Eat More Plant Protein, Study Finds

Eating beans, legumes, and other plant protein sources could lead to healthier aging


2 Minutes Read

Healthy elderly woman powered by plant-based protein Plant-based protein helps power a healthier old age in women - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Women who eat higher amounts of plant-based protein may enjoy a healthier old age, a new study suggests.

Researchers tracked almost 50,000 women between 1984 and 2016 to assess whether they experienced “healthy aging”. They defined this as “being free from 11 major chronic diseases, having good mental health, and not having impairments in either cognitive or physical function.” They found that women who ate larger quantities of plant-based protein in midlife had “higher odds of healthy aging.”

The study, led by Andres Ardisson Korat and published this week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adds to a growing body of research that links plant-based foods to better health outcomes.

Plant-based protein linked to healthy aging

Vegan tacos filled with plant-based protein
Adobe Stock Eating healthy plant-based protein comes with healthier aging, a study suggests

In the study, women who ate more plant-based protein such as beans and legumes in midlife had a significant reduction in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and cognitive decline.

In total, only 7.6 percent of participants met the researchers’ definition of healthy aging. Those who followed diets rich in plant-based proteins were associated with a 46 percent higher likelihood of healthy aging. Meanwhile, higher consumption of animal protein was linked with a 6 percent fall.

Live well for longer

The research also highlighted that plant-based proteins contribute to lower LDL (sometimes known as “bad”) cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity. These are all factors crucial in mitigating heart disease risk.

In contrast, animal proteins showed the opposite trend, potentially escalating the risk of chronic diseases.

The research used decades of data to find that plant-based proteins promote a healthier, disease-free lifestyle as people age. This provides backing for recent studies, including one “groundbreaking” experiment on twins in which those on vegan diets lost weight and reduced cholesterol and insulin in just eight weeks.

There are lots of ways to get plenty of protein on a plant-based diet. See these 25 High Protein Vegan Recipes for ideas.

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