7 Benefits of Plant-based Protein
To say plant-based protein is good for you would be an understatement. Plant-based proteins offer a highly nutritious source of protein. Better yet, every person on the planet can get great benefits from them – even those who enjoy eating BBQ, steak and other meats.
Plant proteins have incredible benefits for everyone, including:
- Weightlifters and athletes looking to build muscle and gain weight
- People who want to lose weight
- Self-proclaimed “carnivores”
- Those who want to live a healthy lifestyle
Now, we know plant-based proteins have had a little of a reputation problem. Critics call them incomplete. It’s said they can’t provide enough protein for a diet and that you need animal protein to build muscle. It’s nonsense.
- Some plants like hemp seed have as complete a protein profile as animal protein.
- Others like nuts, peas and beans are loaded with protein – the same ones your body needs to build muscle.
- Plus, plants supply a wide variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and more.
Quite simply, plant proteins are an excellent source of nutrition. Here are 7 additional benefits plant-based proteins offer.
Some people have allergies to animal-based proteins. Dairy is a big allergen for some people, especially whey proteins in a lot of protein powders used in muscle-building. A “seafood” allergy, which really only involves shellfish, is another type of protein allergy.
And that doesn’t even include the newest meat allergy, the red meat allergy. It’s caused by a bite from the Lone Star Tick. One bite from that little bug and eating red meat can become deadly![i]
Supports the Human Body’s Natural pH
The human body is naturally a little alkaline. In fact, all of the body’s chemical processes only work in a very small range which is strictly maintained. Animal meats (and sugary foods too!) increase acids in the body requiring extra energy be expended to neutralize them.
Plants, especially green ones, support the body’s natural alkalinity.
Plant-proteins Contain Fewer Calories
Plant-proteins are ideal for this type of diet. Their proteins and fats have fewer calories, which means you get the protein you need – and a feeling of being full – without the extra calories you don’t need.
You’ll Digest Plant-proteins Easier
The protein in plants comes with a host of other nutrients which support digestion. Fiber, for example, helps with the break down of food and keeps your digestive tract healthy. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals also support the processes of digestion and absorption which are critical to getting the maximum nutrition from what you eat.
Plant-proteins Promote a Healthy Heart
Research shows plant-proteins protect the heart. They help to limit and reduce factors that contribute to atherosclerosis and heart disease.[iv] And according to European studies, plant-proteins work as well as animal proteins to control blood sugar, an important factor in heart and vascular diseases.[v]
An Excellent Source of All Essential Amino Acids
There are 22 amino acids. Your body can produce 11 of them but needs to get the remaining 9 from dietary sources. These 9 amino acids are known as essential amino acids. They are[vi]:
Some plants (like the hemp seed noted above) provide all 9 amino acids. Of course, you don’t have to only eat these to get all the essential amino acids you need. Eating a variety of different plant sources like peas, brown rice, nuts and more is an easy way to supply all essential amino acids, plus supplement your body with several of the other 11 too.
Plant Protein May Be the Easiest Protein for Anyone to Add to the Diet
Animal proteins require some degree of preparation prior to eating. For years weightlifters and athletes turned to whey-based protein powders to get the protein they needed after workouts. Whey can work, but allergies, common challenges with protein digestion and the potential for exposure to contaminants like growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides increase the potential for stomach upset and other health concerns.
Plant-based protein powders offer a safe, organic and natural alternative. Plus, most will advertise whether they provide all essential amino acids, so it won’t be hard to find one that meets all your dietary needs. Most plant-based protein powders also supply other nutrients like antioxidants, minerals and enzymes to aid digestion.
[ii] Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2014;11:53. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-53.
[iii] Astrup A, Raben A, Geiker N. The role of higher protein diets in weight control and obesity-related comorbidities. International Journal of Obesity (2005). 2015;39(5):721-726. doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.216.
[v] M. Markova1 , et al. “Metabolic and molecular effects of a high-protein diet in subjects with type 2 diabetes.“ Diabetologia (2015) 58 (Suppl 1):S1–S607 DOI 10.1007/s00125-015-3687-4