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Reducing frailty with plant based proteins

Being a research-based practitioner, I am always on the lookout for new research to back up recommendations that I make to clients and care homes.

I am also an advocate for increasing our intake of plant foods, as they can offer us ways to support our health and longevity through dietary choices and are the foundation to any healthy balanced diet.

A new study that I came across recently in an article from ‘Forks Over Knives‘ entitled ‘Swapping Out Animal Protein for Plant Protein Reduces Frailty in Older Women by 42%’ spoke about how new research suggests that older women may be able to dramatically reduce their risk of age-related frailty by eating more plant-based protein and less animal-based protein, even in modest amounts.

The large-scale study analysed data from more than 85,000 women aged 60 and older, over the course of two decades, to determine whether the type of protein they consumed impacted their likelihood of developing frailty.

Frailty greatly increases the risk of infections, falls, surgical complications and illnesses that require hospitalisation.

The study found that swapping just 5% of protein intake from animal-based sources to plant-based sources could drastically reduce frailty:

  • Replacing overall animal protein reduced the risk of frailty by 38%
  • Replacing dairy protein reduced the risk of frailty by 32%
  • Replacing non-dairy animal protein (including meat, fish, and eggs) reduced the risk of frailty by 42%

The article goes on to quote Vanita Rahman, MD, Clinic Director at Barnard Medical Center in Washington, D.C, “Plant-based foods are associated with lower risks of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. They are also associated with less inflammation and improved joint health. By collectively decreasing the burden of chronic disease, plant-based foods support lower rates of frailty.”

When we look at the Mediterranean Diet and Asian diets we can find lots of recipes that contain plant proteins. Plant proteins include beans and pulses, tofu, nuts and seeds.

Read the full article from Forks Over Knives:

Read the research paper: