Now more than ever we are hearing of celebrities following a plant-based diet. Restaurants have begun to offer plant-based appetizers, entrees and desserts to their menus. If you’re wondering what a plant-based diet entails, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to explain the difference between a plant-based diet and a vegan diet, show you a delicious way to eat enough plant-based protein every day, and share our 5 favorite benefits of plant-based protein.
What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet means you source most or all of your food from plants. You make active choices to consume almost all of your meals from plant sources.
Being plant-based does not mean you have to be a vegan or vegetarian, unless you choose to do so. Practicing a plant-based diet means you are choosing plant-based meals more often than you eat meat or dairy.
While plant based diets mainly center around vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, oils, legumes, and whole grains are all important food sources to consume. Of course, vegetables should comprise almost half of your dinner plate if you are plant-based, but getting a fair amount of good fats and whole grain in your diet is important as well.
How Can I Eat Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet?
Following a plant-based diet can make it seem difficult to consume enough of the essential amino acids needed for protein synthesis.
There are nine amino acids that your body cannot produce naturally and can only be introduced to your body through food. All nine of these essential amino acids are found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt and in animal meats like red meat, poultry, and fish.
However, just because it may sound more difficult to consume all of your essential amino acids every day while following a plant-based diet, it can be simple if you’re eating mindfully. You just need to consume a wider variety of amino acid-rich foods or supplements to ensure that your body collects all nine needed for protein creation.
Foods like almond butter, black beans, kale, lentis, nutritional yeast, oatmeal, and pumpkin seeds contain many of the nine essential amino acids and can be consumed together to create a complete amino acid profile.
Some superfoods, like chia seeds, spirulina, quinoa, buckwheat, and help seeds do contain all nine amino acids, and they’re a delicious and nutritious addition to any plant-based diet.
If you’re not really into eating your greens, but want to reap the benefits of plant based protein, there is a yummy solution: Plant-based protein powder.
Phyto Perfect by BioHealth Nutrition is a premium plant protein blend made from pea, hemp, rice and chickpeas with superfood greens and fruits.
All of the benefits of a plant-based diet can be consumed in one scoop, making it an easy, beneficial addition to your existing diet.
Oh, and yes, no need to meal prep anymore chicken! With 28g of protein in each blend, it’s an excellent source of protein for your body that can be consumed daily.
If you aren’t sold on the benefits of plant-based protein yet, keep reading to learn about 5 main benefits.
What Are the 5 Benefits of Plant-Based Protein?
Plant based diets are high in protein. They provide a healthy balance of vitamins and nutrients the body needs. Alone with protein and vitamins, there is a fair balance of good fats, carbohydrates, and fiber and phytonutrients in the diet. Daily consumption of plant-based protein is sure to energize, fuel and promote overall well being.
Five main benefits that stem from a plant based protein diet include immunity support, increased fiber intake, improved athletic performance and muscle recovery, energy boosts, and increased vitamin and mineral intake.
1. Immunity Support
Mom always said “eat your veggies”! Well, she had good reason to. Raw, organic vegetables provide a great deal of nutrients and fiber essential for fighting off illness and disease. The highly nutritious value of plant protein and fiber keeps the body's intentional system healthy and cleansed of harmful bacteria.
Plant-based diets have also been found to decrease the risk of cardiovascular issues, supporting weight management.
Some plant based foods that specifically target immunity support are mushrooms, sunflower seeds, blueberries, elderberries, almonds, spinach, garlic, broccoli and oregano oil.
Processed foods with a high sugar content suppress the immune system. To build immunity support, it's best to consume fresh fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients.
2. Increased Fiber Intake
Not only does fiber make you feel fuller longer, it is a major component of optimum health. It aids in digestion, weight loss and even cancer prevention. It is found naturally in plant based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
Fiber is essential for lowering the body's cholesterol level as well as cleansing the digestive tract of harmful bacteria, allowing for a replenishment of good bacteria.
Unfortunately, the average American is only consuming 10-15 grams of fiber in their daily diet, while it is recommended to consume around 40 grams. The best way to add fiber to your diet is to eat natural, plant based foods.
3. Improved Athletic Performance and Muscle Recovery
Protein is essential for building muscle and maintaining muscle, all which leads to improved athletic performance.
Plant based protein has been found to improve athletic performance and aid in muscle recovery due to the high vitamin and mineral content.
Essential amino acids present in plant-based proteins such as valine, methionine, and leucine stimulate muscle growth, facilitate muscle regeneration, and produce growth hormones necessary for muscle repair.
Next time you’re headed to the gym, shake up a quick plant-based protein smoothie. You won’t regret it!
4. Energy & Vitality Boosts
More energy? Yes please!
Are you hoping to swap out that second cup of coffee with something more nutritious? Or maybe you need a boost of energy in the late afternoon?
Plant-based protein powder is a versatile option to add to your daily routine. Due to the high vitamin content, it naturally increases energy and vitality.
All sources of protein will provide energy, of course, because they’re an essential macronutrient needed for the creation of energy from calories.
Lysine, isoleucine, and valine amino acids are all vital for the regulation and production of energy, while tryptophan and histidine regulate your sleep-wake cycles to ensure proper rest.
5. Vitamins and Minerals, Oh My!
A fruit and vegetable rich diet exposes the body to a dense amount of vitamins and minerals, or micronutrients. These micronutrients reduce the risk of chronic diseases and also aid in bodily functions, such as healing a wound, converting food into energy, and improving the immune system.
Micronutrients are only needed in a small amount (hence the ‘micro’), but failing to consume the minimum amount necessary can result in diseases such as scurvy or bone loss.
Pea protein, for example, has tons of iron, which is typically found in red meats but is not found in whey protein. Protein from nut butters is loaded with healthy fats that can keep you feeling full, balance your hormones, and be digested extremely easily because of their creamy texture. And all plant proteins are filled with fiber, which keeps you fuller longer than animal-based proteins.
Of course, plant protein is itself one of the three macronutrients needed to create energy and power your active lifestyle.
Plant-based protein is a great source of vitamins and minerals!
The plant-based diet is highly nutritious and versatile. The high-protein and high-fiber from raw organic plants is sure to add vitality to your life and improve your all around health and wellness.
Even if practicing a regular plant-based diet is not compatible with your lifestyle, plant-based protein powder offers the same amazing benefits. Just one scoop and you’ll receive protein and nutrients that boost energy, support your body's immunity, increased stamina, and the building and recovery of muscles.