What is Protein?
Protein is an essential nutrient found in our whole body, from cells to hair and plays an important role in our overall health.
They are essential for growth and development, repairing and building cells and tissues such as muscles, cartilage, bones… and they’re vital for making up hormones, enzymes and maintaining a healthy immune system. They can also be used to produce energy.
Proteins are found in a variety of foods and the among of protein we need daily from our diet depends on our age, gender, weight and health.
Proteins are made of amino acids. Some amino acids can be produced by our body and a few can only be gotten through food. The last ones are called essential amino acids and are necessary for the correct functioning of our body.
Protein can be found in different food sources, animals and plants.
Animal-based proteins are known as the high quality protein, as they contain all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies need to obtain from our diet.
Plant-based protein have a significant quantity of protein present while also providing additional nutritional benefits. However, they can lack certain essential amino acid content, that’s why, consuming a varied diet and combining complementary plant-based proteins you can obtain all 9 essential amino acids through a plant-based diet. Here are some examples of how you could combine them to ensure you get all the essential amino acids in your diet.
- Chickpea and bean salad,
- Nuts and seeds mixed with whole grain or rice salads,
- Yogurt with granola made out of different nuts, seeds and oats.
Plant-based proteins are not solely for vegetarians or vegans. They are a great protein source to incorporate into a traditional omnivore diet. Eating a plant-based 1-2 days per week is often recommended. The more varied a diet is, the more nutritious value will have.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
From a nutritional perspective, with some sources such as red meat and processed meat, it is advised not to consume large quantities of both as they have been linked with adverse health effects. Reducing the amount of meat as a protein source can be beneficial for our bodies. Several scientific studies have shown that a plant-based diet low in salt, saturated fats and sugars protects against premature mortality and reduces the risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Here are some of our meals that contains plant-based proteins: Courgette, Carrot and Pumpkin Seed Slaw, Chickpea and 4 Bean Salad, Tofu Veggie Noodles, Sweet Potato Satay Curry, Smoky Black Bean Burrito Bowl, Vegan Thai Red Curry.