Protein is one of the most important nutrients. It’s essential for keeping the body strong and functioning as it should.
This is because protein is the main building block of the body – used to make cells, muscles, and skin. Plus, hormones, neurotransmitters, and other vital body components
The protein our body uses comes from the protein we eat. The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
But since a majority of protein comes from animal-based sources, getting enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan can be difficult. Which can make the body weak.
However, there are several great, protein-packed plants out there that can keep your body strong and healthy.
Stating the obvious – animal-based proteins comes from animals. And plant-based protein comes from plants.
The BIG difference between these two types of protein is the amino acids they contain. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and essential to the body – being released when protein is broken down from foods we eat.
The amino acid profiles between animal-based and plant-based proteins vary greatly. A ‘complete protein’ is made up of all 20 essential amino acids; animal proteins are ‘complete proteins.’ Plant proteins – in most cases – are not (and are called ‘incomplete proteins’).
This means, creating complete proteins for a plant-based diet is more difficult and takes more planning, but it is possible – by using ‘complementary proteins.’ This is the process of pairing two incomplete proteins together to make a complete protein.
Classic examples of complementary proteins are beans and rice, peanuts with stir-fry noodles, or a simple peanut butter sandwich.
Despite not all plant protein sources being ‘complete proteins,’ there are many health benefits traced to diets high in plant-based proteins.
Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet experience better control over body weight, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of developing chronic disease.
Soy is the best plant-based protein out there. Soy-based foods are complete proteins, and include:
Spirulina comes from algae and is also a complete protein. Each serving contains 8g protein, plus multivitamins and antioxidants.
Legumes and lentils contain between 15-18g protein per 240ml. They also have tons of fiber and beneficial minerals.
Despite being grains, several ancient grains are filled with protein and complex carbs. Some examples are:
Seeds, nuts, and butters contain 5-7g protein per serving. They also contain many other nutrients, including healthy fats.
Adding more plant-based protein to your diet could provide you with many health benefits.
You can always add more plant protein to your diet. Here are some ideas that might fit your lifestyle:
How will YOU be boosting your diet with plant-based with protein?
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