An ever increasing number of people are interested in shifting their plate from animal proteins to plant proteins, including those cited above. You can gain numerous benefits from eating a more plant-based diet, like lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and obesity.
One advantage of choosing more plant-based proteins is their rich package of nutrients including healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action helping to lower disease risk.
Meat-heavy diets - especially red and processed meat - are associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Animal proteins (such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs) contain ample amounts of all nine essential amino acids. But a mixed diet helps to balance out their shortfalls. Plant proteins generally have the lowest RDA per serving of amino acids lysine which are pretty much guaranteed to meet the RDA for all other essential amino acids. Most adults can meet lysine needs on a plant-based diet by eating lysine-rich plants such as legumes, tempeh, tofu, soy-milk, soy meats, beans split or black-eyed peas, and nuts.
Here are some top tips for powering up on plant proteins:
- Swap chicken on your entree salad for kidney or cannellini beans, fill your pita with hummus instead of deli meat, or choose a bean burrito instead of beef tacos.
- Turn to edamame or handful of nuts for a satiating source of protein, fiber and slow-digesting carbs.
- Lentils which do not require soaking can be cooked up in about 20 minutes. Simmer them in stews or soups, or sprinkle them in salads.
- Include an ounce of nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, or peanuts each day as a protein source in salads, snacks, and side dishes.
Ref: Environmental Nutrition July, 2016