Protein is an important nutrient required by our body. It is made of amino acids and is very essential for the growth and maintenance of the tissues. Also, protein aids in numerous biochemical reactions taking place in your body. Major body functions like digestion, muscle contraction, energy production, etc. depend on these biochemical reactions.
Proteins also act as chemical messengers that help in the communication of the cells and tissues in your body. It is also beneficial in boosting your immune health. We usually get protein from animal foods. However, vegans do not eat meat or any other animal foods. They have to include plant-based foods that are rich in protein in their plant-based meal plan to prevent protein deficiency.
Here, we will take a look at some of the health benefits of protein.
Increases Muscle Strength
Protein is very essential for increasing muscle mass and strength. Therefore, it is important to consume an adequate amount of protein-rich foods regularly to maintain your muscle growth, especially if you do strength training. There are several studies that show that protein helps in increasing muscle mass and strength. Higher protein intake also helps in preventing muscle loss.
One of the main reasons for ensuring adequate protein intake is for preventing obesity. A higher intake of protein will help in reducing appetite and hunger levels. Studies have shown that protein helps in increasing the feeling of fullness, which eventually prevents overeating. Moreover, protein can help in reducing the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
Increases Bone Strength
Many studies have proven that increased intake of protein-rich foods will help in improving your bone health. According to some of the recent studies, people who consume more protein-rich foods tend to maintain better bone mass as they age. They also have a very low risk of bone diseases like osteoporosis. This is one of the main reasons why women are recommended to take more protein-rich foods because the osteoporosis risk is higher in women.
Decreases Blood Pressure
One of the major benefits of increasing the intake of protein-rich food is that it helps in lowering your blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. Studies have proven that a high intake of protein can help in lowering systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. According to a recent study, high protein intake can also help in reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
Helps In Weight Loss
It is proven that a high intake of protein can boost your metabolism, which will lead to a reduction in calorie intake. Studies have shown that people who consume more protein-rich foods can lose weight easily. Maintaining body weight is more difficult than losing weight. A higher intake of protein can also help in maintaining your body weight. Therefore, you should include more protein-rich food in your plant-based diet.
Let’s take a look at some of the plant-based foods that are rich in protein.
Lentils are one of the best plant-based sources of protein. Lentils are also rich in several other healthy nutrients that are beneficial for your body. Lentils contain a type of fiber that feeds the good gut bacteria and promotes your digestive health. Eating lentils can help in reducing the risk of diabetes, excess body weight, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
Many vegans eat seitan regularly. Seitan is soy-based mock meat, which has a texture that is similar to the texture of actual meat. Seitan is also rich in minerals like selenium, iron, phosphorous, and calcium. Seitan is getting huge popularity among vegans these days as a vegan substitute for meat. However, people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease should not consume seitan.
Many varieties of beans, including black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc. are high in protein. Apart from proteins, beans are also rich in several other essential nutrients, such as fiber, iron, vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, etc. According to some recent studies, consuming more beans can help you lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
This blue-green alga is also a great plant-based source of protein. About 8 grams of protein is present in just 2 tablespoons of spirulina. Spirulina also fulfills your daily iron, thiamin, and copper requirements. Other essential nutrients like manganese, riboflavin, potassium, and magnesium are also present in spirulina in small amounts. Studies have shown that an increased intake of spirulina can help boost your immune system.
Fruits And Vegetables
Almost all fruits and vegetables contain protein, at least in small amounts. However, the amount of protein is usually high in vegetables like spinach, broccoli, potatoes, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. When compared to vegetables, the protein content in fruits is lower. Some of the protein-rich fruits that you can include in your diet are bananas, blackberries, guava, mulberries, etc.