This Simple Daily Habit May Help You Live Longer

According to data from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the more plant protein consumed, the lower your risk for mortality.1 This remains true even for those with unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as heavy drinking, obesity, physical inactivity, or smoking.

The study takeaway?

Look for ways to reduce the number of calories you consume daily from red meat and eggs. Substituting just 3% of daily calories derived from these animal proteins with plant protein was found to be associated with a 10% lower risk of death.

How does this translate to our forks?

Very easily! No major dietary overhauls are required to gain these life-extending benefits. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories daily, you would only need to swap out 60 calories. That’s just 15 grams of protein each day.

We’ve put together some delicious examples of plant protein meals.

Plant Protein Swaps:

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with flax seed and almond butter
  • Granola with nuts and seeds
  • Tofu scramble with 1/3 avocado

Lunch

  • Hummus with pita
  • Black beans and brown rice
  • Nut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread

Dinner

  • Lentil soup
  • Vegetarian chili over brown rice or bulgur
  • Vegetable stir-fry with tofu over brown rice or bulgur
  • Tempeh—try grilled or grated and use in tacos or pasta sauce

Make it spicy—every day!

According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), spicy food could help you to live longer.2

A seven-year Chinese health study examined spicy food intake of over 20,000 lives and revealed a reduced risk of total mortality, as well as death due to cancer, ischemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases (independent of other risk factors).

Compared with eating spicy food less than once a week, eating it once or twice a week resulted in a 10% reduced overall risk for death. But eating spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14%.

Pass the hot sauce!

What foods will you swap out today? Leave a comment below!


  1. Song M, Fung TT, Hu FB, et al. Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 01, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182.
  2. Lv Jun, Qi Lu, Yu Canqing, Yang Ling, Guo Yu, Chen Yiping et al. Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study BMJ 2015; 351 :h3942
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About Maribeth Evezich

Maribeth Evezich, MS, RD is a functional nutrition and therapeutic lifestyle consultant. Maribeth is also a graduate of Bastyr University and the Natural Gourmet Institute. Whether she is in her kitchen experimenting, at her computer researching, or behind the lens of her camera, she is on a mission to inspire others to love whole foods. as much as she does. She lives in Seattle and is the founder of Lifestyle Medicine Consulting, LLC and the culinary nutrition blog, Whole Foods Explorer. Maribeth Evezich is a paid consultant and guest writer for Metagenics.

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