The health benefits of a plant-based diet have long been touted by vegetable lovers and vegans alike. And now a new study out of Loma Linda University in California and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris is here to confirm that they are indeed right.

According to their findings, those who ate significant amounts of meat had an increased risk for heart disease. The opposite was true for those who got their protein from alternative, plant-based sources like nuts and seeds. These not so shocking findings were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

While this may seem like obvious news, the study utilized a large sample size to uncover its findings, making it one of the larger studies to confirm this theory. Researchers collected data from 81,000 people and found that those who got their protein primarily from meat had a 60 percent increased risk of heart disease. Whereas those who received protein from plant-based sources had a 40 percent reduced risk. As if you needed another reason to stock up on trail mix!

The study’s lead author Gary Fraser had this to say in an interview with the Independent, “While dietary fats are part of the story in affecting risk of cardiovascular disease, proteins may also have important and largely overlooked independent effects on risk. This new evidence suggests that the full picture probably also involves the biological effects of proteins in these foods.”

There are obviously a lot of factors to consider when thinking about heart health, with fat and protein being only two among them. However, these latest findings might have you reconsidering that next portion of steak and opting for a side of walnuts instead. (Perhaps even substitute them for meat in a bolognese sauce? Seriously, it’s delicious!) Now that’s something to chew on.

Header image courtesy of Pixabay.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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