Protein is one of the most important macronutrients due to its remarkably versatile composition. It can repair and build muscles, balance our hormonal levels, strengthen our bones, ramp up our strength, reduce blood pressure, help us lose weight, boost metabolism, and believe it or not, even burn belly fat.
There’s a catch, though; getting decent amounts of protein into your system is fairly hard as only a handful of foods are protein-rich. Lean meats and fish are on top of the list, but these aren’t exactly perfect for vegans and vegetarians. There are quite a few plant-based alternatives, and today we’ll talk about the many benefits of using plant-based proteins, so let’s dig in:
High-protein plants typically have high levels of fiber as well, especially lentils and chickpeas. Fiber is essentially helping to normalize our bowel movements and will normally increase the size of stool in addition to softening it.
Furthermore, fiber promotes a healthier weight, which when combined with more regular bowel movements may be a good way to lose some fat. Another sub-benefit of eating plants that offer decent quantities of protein and fiber is lowered cholesterol and a more balanced level of blood sugar.
Quinoa in particular is a true representative of a tasty plant that can be fashioned into a light pseudo cereal that features an abundance of protein and fiber. Its seeds are rich in vitamin B, dietary minerals, as well as dietary fiber.
While protein-rich meaty foods offer huge amounts of nutrients (and calories), plant-based protein-rich foods aren’t as filling. However, instead of an enormous nutritional value, plants offer phytonutrients instead. These natural chemicals are exclusive to plants, as these are basically their natural defense mechanisms, which help plants defend themselves from whatever herbivorous predator wants to take a nibble out of their seeds, roots, or leaves.
Phytonutrients, which literally translate to ‘plant nutrients’, are chemical substances that offer protection against bacteria, fungi, and various organisms we consider pests. Both fruits and veggies are filled with phytonutrients, but so do whole grains, beans, and some types of nutty foods.
The most notable benefits of having plant nutrients in your diet revolve around their detoxicating properties. Carotenoids in phytonutrients are potent antioxidants while beta-cryptoxanthin can actually improve eye health and improve our vision. Commonly found in tomatoes and watermelons is Lycopene, which was scientifically proven to be an efficient tool to fight prostate cancer.
Bodybuilders eat enormous quantities of meals based on chicken and turkey meat, dozens of eggs, and plates of fish to bulk up and repair the muscles they’ve overworked, but as a result of that, they also tend to gain quite a bit of weight.
Having a square meal with enough protein on the table means that the dish is going to be fairly fattening. However, vegetables and plants rich in protein offer similar benefits in addition to having much smaller calorie values.
Plants are brimming with amino acids, which are the building blocks of healthy muscles. They both strengthen and repair torn muscle tissue rapidly. Although meat-based protein-rich foods may help you develop more muscle mass in shorter periods of time, plant-based protein-rich dishes will help you repair your muscles faster.
Some people aren’t particularly fond of how certain vegetables taste, regardless of how healthy they can be. A tastier alternative would be to resort to fruity plants; there are dozens of fruits that are high in protein, which can be used to create delicious smoothies and milkshakes.
Guava is particularly packed with protein, followed by jackfruit, avocado, apricot, blackberries, and kiwi. Cherries and raisins offer small amounts of protein, but they’re not overly nutritious, so it would be easy to substitute quality with quantity on this particular occasion.
Usually, our body needs quite a bit of time to absorb protein from meat, fish, and dairy products. There are so many other ingredients that typically take priority, that it’s perfectly normal for a healthy human body to take two full days to digest protein.
Unlike meats, plant-based protein can be broken down and absorbed by our bodies twice as fast. In addition to quicker absorption, plant-based protein (especially in foods that contain high levels of fiber) boosts our metabolism and promotes healthier bowel movements, which means that all of the benefits that protein, in general, has to offer will be more noticeable quicker as well.
Sliced, minced, and cut vegetables are easier to work with when preparing any meal, but they lose a good portion of their nutritional value this way. Eating whole foods with plant-based protein can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time. Instead of grilling plants and vegetables, eat them as a whole, and you’ll not only feel less hungry, but you’ll be able to savor their taste better.
Vegetables and certain fruits with high quantities of plant-based protein can regulate our gut health in general. Plants not only reduce inflammation levels in our stomach but also promote a more diverse gut microbiome. The more eclectic your diet is, the more diverse your gut flora will become, and consequentially, more efficient at repelling diseases and preventing inflammatory problems.
An unhealthy microbiome is the cause of various ailments and nuisances, such as fatigue, anxiety, even certain autoimmune diseases. By eating greens rich in protein, you’ll actually improve your overall health.
As the green trend is gaining traction, more and more athletes are jumping on the bandwagon having realized that they can maintain their weight while still getting their fair share of the much-needed proteins with vegetables and fruity foods.
Unlike meat, eating plants is not as fatiguing, especially due to the fact that they’re much easier to digest. Consequently, people who switch from meat-based to plant-based protein will feel drastic bumps of energy, more rapid recovery times, as well as improved performance in general.
We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new on the benefits of using plant-based proteins. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!