Protein is an essential nutrient, meaning our bodies do not produce it, and we have to get it from our diets. Proteins are made of amino acids, the building blocks of life. Our bodies use proteins to build and repair tissues and make enzymes, hormones, and other important chemical messengers. Proteins also provide structure for cells, muscle, and bone.
Protein is used for many other functions in your body, such as transporting nutrients through your bloodstream and helping your immune system fight infection. Amino acids help control blood sugar levels by regulating insulin production and breaking down carbohydrates into glucose before entering the bloodstream.
People should know that a vegan diet is prone to be deficient in several nutrients including protein. Especially for bodybuilders who prepare their own meal plans it’s important for them to eat a diet that includes protein because it helps you maintain lean muscle mass while losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Protein helps you maintain your metabolism, burning fat faster than if you were eating less protein or no protein at all.
What Is Plant-Based Protein?
Plant-based protein is made from plants like beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. It’s a great way to add more protein to your diet while helping the environment and animals! Some examples are beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, soy products like tofu and tempeh, and even vegetables such as broccoli and spinach!
But is plant-based protein good?
Definitely Yes! Plant-based protein is an important part of a healthy diet, and the advantages of plant-derived protein are countless. It provides health benefits like lowering cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure.
It also contains all sorts of nutrients your body needs to grow strong. This includes vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
Sources Of Plant-Based Protein
Protein is a vital component of every cell in our body. It is responsible for building muscle, repairing tissue, and maintaining our immune system. Protein also helps us feel full and satisfied after a meal, so we must get enough of it each day.
While there are many protein sources, plant-based sources are often the best option for vegans and vegetarians. And who hasn’t heard about the benefits of vegan protein? It can be incorporated into so many delicious foods. The following plant-based proteins will provide you with a decent combination of essential amino acids.
However, it should be noted that most plant-based sources of protein have an incomplete amino acid profile on their own. I have linked my analysis of each of the following vegan protein sources’ amino acid profile alongside for your reference
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. One serving (1 tablespoon) contains 3 grams of protein.
- Quinoa: A cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein! ( check is quinoa a complete protein?)
- All beans: Beans are loaded with protein and fiber, making them a great option for vegetarians who avoid meat.
- Chickpeas: One cup of cooked chickpeas contains 20 grams of protein! (check Is chickpea a complete protein?)
- Hemp: Hemp contains high amount of phenlylalanine, cysteine and other essential amino acids but it lacks lysine ( check complete amino acid profile of hemp protein)
- Spirulina: 1 tablespoon of spirulina contains 4 g of protein! ( check is spirulina a complete protein?)
- Green Peas: Pea does contain some important essential amino acids but it lacks in methionine and cysteine ( check amino acid profile of green peas
- Seitan: It contains all the essential amino acids except for lysine just like chickpeas. ( check amino acid profile of seitan)
- Brown rice: It contains essential acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and leucine but it lacks in lysine( check amino acid profile of brown rice)
- Soy products: Tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, and miso all contain some amount of soy protein, which is thought to help lower cholesterol levels and protect against certain cancers.
- Almonds: Almonds are packed with good fats and have 2 grams of protein in every ounce!
Benefits Of Plant-Based Protein
If you’re finding ways to get more protein in your diet, look no further. Plant-based protein sources are the best way to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients and vitamins you need to keep your body healthy.
1. Promotes Gut Health
Legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are examples of plant-based protein sources that are high in fiber, which supports gut health by maintaining a healthy digestive tract. The good bacteria in your gut also digest fiber, creating short-chain fatty acids that are associated with better gut health and a lower risk of inflammatory bowel illnesses like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
A varied microbiome may be encouraged by a plant-based diet that contains a range of entire foods, which is critical for immunological and general gut health. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that plant-based diets lower gut inflammation, which may benefit in the long run to prevent conditions connected to the gut.
2. Reduces Inflammation
The body’s inflammation can be reduced by plant-based protein sources, which have been linked to a number of health advantages. Inflammatory substances like saturated fat and arachidonic acid, which are present in animal-based protein sources, are often less prevalent in a plant-based diet that is high in whole foods and plant-based protein sources.
Furthermore, plant-based protein sources are abundant in phytochemicals and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory characteristics. A plant-based diet has been associated in studies to lower inflammatory indicators in the body, which may help lower the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Generally speaking, a diet rich in plant-based protein sources can support greater health by lowering inflammatory markers in the body.
3. Reduces Risk Of Chronic Diseases
A plant-based diet rich in whole foods and plant-based protein sources has been linked to a lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers. In comparison to animal-based protein sources, plant-based protein sources often include less cholesterol and saturated fat, two risk factors for heart disease.
Additionally, plant-based diets often contain greater levels of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, all of which can lower the risk of developing chronic illnesses. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that a plant-based diet lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and aids in blood sugar management.
Additionally, studies have linked plant-based diets to a lower risk of developing cancers like colon, breast, and prostate cancer. In general, increasing the amount of plant-based protein in your diet can assist to lower the risk of developing chronic illnesses and enhance general health.
4. Better For Kidney Health
Proteins derived from plants may be healthier for kidney health than those derived from animals. It can be challenging for the kidneys to handle and remove the high quantities of phosphorus and sulfur-containing amino acids found in animal-based protein sources including meat, poultry, and dairy products.
This can cause kidney injury and a reduction in renal function over time. However, plant-based protein sources are often lower in amino acids containing phosphorus and sulfur, making them simpler for the kidneys to digest. A plant-based diet has been demonstrated to aid enhance kidney function and lower the chance of developing chronic renal disease.
It is crucial to remember, nevertheless, that those with kidney illness or injury should speak with their doctor before making any substantial dietary changes.
5. Environmentally Friendly
The ecosystem is seen to be more protected by supplies of protein from plants than from animals. Animal-based protein sources’ production is frequently linked to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, water, land, and deforestation usage. Plant-based protein sources, on the other hand, often leave less of an environmental imprint.
For instance, compared to the production of tofu, the production of beef uses around 20 times more water and produces 20 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Producing plant-based sources of protein can also support sustainable agricultural methods and lessen dependency on intensive animal agriculture.
You may lessen your environmental effect and support a more sustainable food system by including more plant-based protein sources in your diet.
The plant-based protein craze has hit the market like a ton of bricks, and we’re not mad about it. In a world where people are obsessed with protein, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that meat is the only source to get protein. But there are plenty of other sources of protein out there.
Plant-based protein is just as important, and there are many ways to incorporate it. If you feel like you are not getting enough protein through your diet you can support your diet with budget friendly protein supplements that are available in market. Plant-based protein is also a good option for lactose-intolerant people with other digestive issues with dairy products.