10 health benefits of plant proteins

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 31 Aug, 2023 03:00 | 3 mins read
Peas is an example of a plant protein. PHOTO/Print
Peas is an example of a plant protein. PHOTO/Print

Protein, either from plants or animals is good. While there has been a lot of debate on obtaining so-called “complete” protein from plant sources, what people don’t know is that these foods have a healthy edge over animal protein.

1. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease

 People who eat little or no animal products tend to have lower cholesterol because they consume less saturated fat. Many plant proteins with the exception of coconut and palm oil in their natural state, are low in saturated fat.

In addition, many plant foods are sources of healthier polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, making them heart-healthy choices that can help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, plant sterols are good for heart health.

2. Good in weight management

When it comes to appetite and weight control, not all proteins are equal. Plant-based protein can help you get towards your weight loss goals better than other protein options. This is because plant proteins tend to be lower in calories and fats than animal proteins, but higher in fibre and essential nutrients making them helpful for weight management and supporting healthy weight loss. Also, plant protein is easier to break down, process and be absorbed by the body when compared to animal protein.

3. Diverse nutrient profile

Different plant protein sources offer not only the protein you’re looking for, but also the much-needed dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals with every serving. These essentials also bolster your immune system and fortify your health contributing to overall health and well-being.

4. Rich in fibre

Many people find it challenging to consume enough fibre, but it’s essential to good health. A big benefit of plant-based protein is the fibre it provides. Switching out animal proteins (that do not contain any fibre) with plant-based proteins is one simple way to increase fibre intake. Fibre helps regulate the body’s sugar use, keeps hunger and blood sugar in check, and helps food move through the digestive system with regularity. Fibre also supports healthy digestion, regulates bowel movements, and promotes a diverse gut microbiome.  Fibre further helps to cleanse the body and can aid in quickly getting rid of viruses and infections.

5. Reduces risk of chronic diseases

People who eat a plant-based diet might have an overall lower risk of all inflammation-related diseases, including heart disease because plants are high in powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. According to the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, including polyphenols in a diet helps to reduce the risks for hypertension, diabetes and obesity. A diet rich in plant proteins has been linked to a reduced risk of other chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and hypertension.

6. Improves blood sugar control

Plant proteins can help stabilise blood sugar levels due to their lower glycemic index, making them beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to prevent blood sugar spikes. So, if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes, then you should definitely consider adding some plant-based, protein-rich food items to your regular diet.

7. Allergen-friendly

The prevalence of food allergies has been on the rise in recent years. As a result, there is a growing demand for protein sources that are free from common allergens such as lactose, gluten, soy and nuts. Plant proteins offer alternatives for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to animal proteins, dairy, or gluten. However, when it comes to allergen-friendly protein sources, it’s important to find one that not only meets your nutritional needs, but is also tailored to your allergies.

8. Improves bone and muscle health

Many people think that switching to plant-based proteins will slow down your muscle gains. However, it’s actually the opposite. When you consume plant-based proteins, your bones and muscle health also stand to benefit. Plant-based diets are rich in nutrients such as protein, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins K and C, which can improve bone health. However, a plant-based diet low in these nutrients can have the opposite effect. Plant proteins can also play a role in muscle protein synthesis, especially when combining different plant proteins to provide the body with a balanced amino acid profile.

9. Rich in essential amino acids

We rely on the protein in food to get the nine essential amino acids our bodies need. While meat is a “complete” protein because it contains all the essentials, eating a variety of plant proteins provides the same result in a healthier package. However, it’s always better to eat a wide variety than to just stick with one type.

10. Improves metabolism

Another benefit of plant-based protein is how it works with your metabolism. Plant protein takes longer to digest than regular carbohydrates, fats, and other animal products due to the high fibre content in plant-based protein. The more your body works at metabolising plant protein, the better your body becomes at metabolising your food and burning fat.

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