Eat your vegetables! Diet high in animal-based proteins linked to cancer, study shows.

Do you remember growing up and being told to “eat your vegetables”?  Well, new research suggests that those “veggie pushers” were onto something.  The Washington Post reports that researchers from the United States and Italy found that those whose diet was high in animal protein were four times more likely to die of cancer.  The same does not seem to show for plant-based protein sources.

Valter Longo, a University of Southern California gerontology professor and director of the school’s Longevity Institute believes that the majority of Americans are eating too much protein and are not choosing the right kind of protein.  This doesn’t come as a surprise since diets such as Atkins or Palseo, which encourage a protein rich diet have become very popular.  On the other hand, many plant-based protein sources contain some, but not all, essential amino acids.  Longo suggests maintaining a diet which consists of more plant-based proteins and to lower the daily intake of “animal-derived proteins.”

The growth hormone IGF-I has been shown to encourage the growth of both healthy and cancer cells.  This hormone is increased through the intake of protein.  Unfortunately, IGF-I levels typically decline after the age of 65 and attributes to the loss of muscle tone.  Since IGF-I is also responsible for the growth of healthy cells, a decrease in protein can be dangerous for those over 65.

Here are a list of plant-based foods that are high in protein:

Legumes (Soybeans, lentils, lupins, white beans, split peas, pintos, kidneys, black beans, navy beans and chickpeas.)

Leafy green vegetables (Bok choy, Romaine lettuce, escarole, kale and spinach.)

Root vegetables (Potato, sweet potato, parsnips, carrots and beets.)

Other vegetables (Peas, broccoli, asparagus, butternut squash, cauliflower.)

Since this post is intended for informational purposes only, the best way to maintain a well-balanced diet is to speak to a physician or a nutritionist.


For more information, please visit our sources: 

Washington Post
The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Content found on is for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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