Here's another reason to opt for a side salad: A new study suggests you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes simply by adding a few more healthy, plant-based foods (think whole grains, fruit, nuts, and veggies) to your diet and slightly reducing how much animal-based foods (meat, dairy) you eat.

The researchers looked at three diet studies conducted over more than 20 years, which included 200,000 men and women in the U.S. Participants filled out an in-depth survey about their diets every two to four years. The people who ate more plant-based food and less animal-based food reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 20 to 34 percent.

"What we're talking about is a moderate shift—replacing one or two servings of animal food a day with one or two plant-based foods," Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the study, told the The New York Times. "You can still include some meat, but not have it in the center of the plate."

It's refreshing to hear that you don't have to go all-out vegetarian or vegan to see these health benefits. Small changes really can make a difference.

(h/t The New York Times)

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