Protein power to protect your heart

It just might be the easiest way yet to not only lose some weight, but also add years to your life -- and you don't have to do anything difficult.

You might say it's easy-peasy, because peas are part of the equation!

Peas, lentils, beans, and more are all excellent sources of protein. And if you're willing to eat a little more of them, you could slash your risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses.

It's a small diet tweak anyone can make, and you don't even have to give up most of the foods you love.

All you have to do is cut back a little on meat -- especially processed meat -- as you boost your intake of vegetable protein.

I've seen the headlines claim this study proves being vegetarian is better than being a meat eater, but that's just not true.

The problem isn't the meat itself.

It's eating TOO MUCH meat -- and the study finds that, on average, most Americans get about 14 percent of their calories from meat protein and just 4 percent from vegetable protein.

Just balance them out a little more -- because every 3 percent boost in plant protein will cut your risk of an early death by 10 percent.

Think that's good? It is -- but it gets even better, because not all meats are bad for you. The truly bad ones are processed meats.

Swap those for plant protein instead, while continuing to enjoy healthy cuts of meat, and your risk of an early death drops by more than a third!

On the flipside, lower plant proteins and higher meat intake -- especially processed meats -- will do just the opposite.

They could literally kill you, because every 10 percent jump in animal protein increases the risk of death from any cause by 2 percent and death from heart disease by 8 percent.

When it comes down to it, the study shows just what you've read right here in House Calls -- and what I've shared with my own patients here at the Stengler Center.

Getting healthy doesn't have to mean a dramatic makeover of everything you do -- and in most cases, that's a recipe for failure anyway since most folks can't sustain big changes over the long-term.

But small changes? Anyone can do that.

Even if you've tried every diet and failed, you can win big with these changes.

Just have a bigger salad and a smaller serving of meat. Make burger night salmon night. And don't forget peas, beans, and nuts. They're filling, healthy, and excellent plant-based sources of protein.

Easy-peasy.

I'll have a more detailed look on how to eat to protect your heart, reverse coronary artery disease, and add years to your life in the September edition of my printed newsletter, Health Revelations.

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