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Our bodies store fats and carbohydrates but NOT proteins. Which is why it’s such a vital necessity in our daily diets; they are essential in building and repairing: bones, muscles, skin, and our organs. Due to the publication of many studies, the western diet has been linked to more deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and other disorders. Resulting in the current trend of increasing the amount of proteins we get from vegetables.
There’s been a lot of research that indicates that people who eat more plant-based foods (including proteins) reduce the risk of disease and/or death from cardiovascular problems. The question is if these studies have been around for years- and in eastern cultures, this way of eating has existed for centuries- than why are we just hearing about these benefits now?
An Australian study dating back to 2006, found that the reason why the vegetarian diet had not spread to western culture was due to the lack of information surrounding its benefits. I would also add that, many societal taboos delayed the rise of this kind of diet.
It’s Only For Vegans And Vegetarians: Wrong
We can all eat this way. It helps to further balance our diet, as it reduces the risks that can arise from eating too much animal proteins like increased levels of uric acid in the blood. Although animal-based foods have been a fundamental source of protein that is still in high demand, as 60% of the protein added to food worldwide comes from animal sources; It has been proven that we can further improve our health by starting to include plant-based proteins into our everyday diets.
We invite you to start looking at these proteins as an alternative option. You don’t have to become a strict Vegetarian if you don’t want to. It’s all about balance! The important thing is to feel comfortable with the changes you make and for your body to feel better. Plant-based proteins are an excellent way to diversify and improve the quality of your diet.
Plant-Based Proteins Make Us Feel Fuller For Longer: True
It’s been scientifically proven that proteins, like macronutrients, make us feel fuller faster as they help our body to release the “satiety hormone”. However, plant-based proteins should not be considered a cure-all for weight loss. Remember that a healthy lifestyle is based on a series of healthy habits, and not by one isolated action.
What is clear is that these are a wonderful alternative to feel full longer, and get energy without the need to eat carbohydrates and sugars which only spike blood glucose levels and give us a quick spike of energy followed by a quick crash. It’s much healthier to eat a snack with a good source of protein between meals, especially before or after physical activity to replenish and strengthen our muscles.
They’re Cheaper Making Them Lower Quality Than Animal-Based Proteins: Wrong
In many cultures-as well as at certain periods of history- NOT eating animal-based proteins (such as meat) was seen poorly as it meant you had economic restrictions that prevented you from doing so. Nowadays, there is greater awareness about the benefits of eating plant-based proteins making their nutritional properties more important than their market price or the false “status” created by some.
There are so many benefits! Among them, they are high in amino acids, fiber, and micronutrients such as vitamins A, B1 and B2, and C, and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Some research has even highlighted their antioxidant properties, making them even more beneficial for our health.
A Good Alternative For People With Dairy and Casein Intolerances: True
Plant-based proteins, that don’t contain dairy or Casein (proteins from milk and some other derivatives), are an excellent option to add to our daily diet if we suffer from one or both of these intolerances. Hence the boom in green smoothies over the last few years. Of course, we always recommend making sure that you eat them in their most natural and/or homemade version as possible, such as with almond milk for example.
Even today many consumers still associate protein just with meat. It’s time to put an end to that way of thinking! Here I will tell you about a variety of vegetables that you can start to include more often into your diet to increase your consumption of plant-based proteins:
- Quinoa: the famous pseudocereal that has even been sold as a “superfood” due to its nutritional properties. Which provides the eight amino acids considered ‘essential’ for children and adults. It is considered to be the greatest source of plant-based protein.
- Nuts: such as peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cashews. Creams made from these are also a good option.
- Seeds: pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax. All ideal for use as salad toppings, bowls, or in purees.
- Seaweed: Although they have been seen as a bit eccentric or too exotic, little by little they have been introduced in various forms onto the shelves of our grocery stores, and foods such as sushi have popularized the marketing of this marine treasure.
- A mixture of Vegetable and Vegan proteins: products that have been introduced to today’s market and have emerged as an alternative to traditional whey proteins. They’re great options for Vegans and Vegetarians who don’t want to avoid deficiencies in their diets; or simply for those of us who want to incorporate more protein into our diet (as is the case with athletes). Some examples are proteins from, peas, rice, and hemp.
As we’ve seen there are many advantages to plant-based proteins that give us a more balanced and natural diet. We must overcome the prejudices of a western diet (high in over-processed foods and refined sugars) and give these foods a chance.