Why do we need protein?
Did you know that protein is a key ingredient in any healthy diet? The reason is simple. Since your vital organs and muscles are made up of proteins, your body needs proteins to maintain itself and to grow. Proteins can also be used to boost your metabolism and to increase fat burning. On the other hand if you get too few proteins, you may find yourself constantly fatigued, or you may struggle to lose weight. Since your body does not store proteins, it is vital to eat proteins daily.
I understand why protein is so important, but why plant based protein?
Incorporating plant protein into one’s diet can provide many health benefits. One of the main reasons is the high fibre content. The combination of fibre and protein can boost your brain health and slow down your insulin levels which balances your blood sugar levels. This helps you manage food cravings. Plant proteins contain soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is great for digestion while soluble fibre gives us that full feeling after we eat. Plants have high doses of both, which is great news you are trying to lose weight.
On top of all those benefits The American Heart Association say that both soluble fibre and insoluble fibres can reduce heart disease. In general proteins take longer to digest than carbs or fats. Plant based protein is no exception based on its high fibre content. This means that it keeps us full for longer, so there is no need to padlock the fridge between meals any more.
Another benefit to plant based protein is that it positively raises your metabolism over time. Your metabolism is the rate at which your body can convert food into energy. When you eat food, the calories you consume combine with oxygen to release energy. The higher your metabolism the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose or maintain weight.
Some great plant-based sources of protein and fibre together are hemp protein, tahini, chia seeds and almonds.
I hear that plant based proteins have many benefits, but are they complete proteins?
Many plant based proteins are not complete proteins. They lack some of the amino acids that are in eggs or meat. That is not necessarily a problem, because you don’t need all the amino acids in every meal. As long as you are getting a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day by eating a variety of plant based foods you can still have a balanced diet.
Still not convinced?
No problem. You can find plenty of plant based foods that are complete proteins. There are so many options. Here are a few: quinoa, buckwheat, rice and beans, ezekiel bread and many more.
Eat fat to stay thin!
Eating fats is essential to our diets. We are generally concerned that eating fat will make us fat. This is what we have been told for decades. This can’t possibly be true as with all the low fat diets, obesity rates have tripled!
The reality is that some fats are unhealthy, however healthy fats can even help you lose weight! The reason is that insulin levels play a huge part in weight gain. When we eat carbohydrates our bodies flood our blood streams with insulin. Insulin causes fat to accumulate in the fat cells.
However, when you eat fats your body does not flood your blood with insulin. That means your body stays in fat burning mode for longer! The great news is many plant based proteins are high in healthy fats, such as tree nuts, peanuts and hemp protein.
I think it is fairly clear that plant-based proteins can play an important role in any healthy diet. This is not just good news for vegans, as anyone who is looking to increase their protein intake or looking to increase weight loss can look to plant based proteins. With some planning with the help of plant-based proteins you can have a healthy balanced diet to support a healthy body while avoiding hunger pangs between meals.