Many non-vegans believe that the vegan diet is protein deficient. However, this is a common misconception. There are many ways to consume enough protein to be healthy without reintroducing animal products and meat into your diet.
Why Plant-Based Protein Is Important
Plant-based protein is an understated but essential food group. Proteins are comprised of amino acids, which are anatomical the building blocks that help to maintain every major biological system inside the human body. Our bodies construct many amino acids by themselves, but nine of them can only be extracted from food.
Many vegans like Gale Tobin have successfully included plant-based protein into their diets, and you, can, too. The following three foods are excellent sources of protein to fall back on if you are unsure where to start.
Legumes and Beans
Legumes and beans are not only high in protein; they are fiber-dense, rich in antioxidants, and they lower “bad” cholesterol levels within the body when ingested consistently. There is a vast variety of dishes that can be made with legumes and beans, making them relatively easy to incorporate into your household cuisine.
It is also worth noting that, though legumes and beans are commercial crops, their environmental footprint is astonishingly low and their agricultural production is often beneficial to the land on which they are harvested.
Nuts are packed with protein and are easy to eat on the go. They can also be sprinkled onto entrees or pureed to add a little extra protein to your mealtime. Nut butters are an especially popular means of consuming nuts that requires little preparation on your end.
You may also reap additional health benefits depending on the kind of nut you consume. Almonds, for instance, are abundant in antioxidants that combat harmful free radicals. And cashews are loaded with copper, an essential element for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Soy has all of the amino acids that your body needs and cannot produce on its own. For this reason, it is called a complete protein. In long-term studies, the frequent consumption of soy has been linked to an increase of “good” cholesterol in the body and a reduction of “bad” cholesterol, suggesting that soy protein is a heart-healthy option.
Wrapping Up on Sources of Plant-Based Protein
These three foods are a good place to start if you are looking to include more plant-based protein in your diet. Consider researching protein -rich recipes that make good use of them to increase your protein intake.
Further Reading: Five reasons why Protein Powder for Women is a Healthy Choice