WHAT ARE PLANT PROTEINS?
Plant protein is the protein which is present in plants only. It is not available in sea animals or land animals. It is highly nutritious and is found in variety of sources such as tofu, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, certain grains, tempeh and seitan. They provide not only protein but are a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Pulses are the leguminous plants which include lentils, chickpeas, different types of beans and split peas. Tofu, tempeh and TVP (texturize vegetable protein) are the processed foods and are used as a substitute of meat. Some vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, kale, mushrooms and potatoes are also a good source of proteins.
Now-a-days people are moving towards vegetarian diet and reducing their use of animal products. A variety of more fortified and nutritious plant based foods are available in market.
VARIOUS PLANT-BASED PROTEINS
Some of the good plant-based proteins are:
Lentils are a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and different types of phytonutrients. They are rich in antioxidants, iron and potassium. They can be added to lunch or dinner. They can be added in salads, rice, curries and stews to add an extra portion of protein in them. According to research, lentils have anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties.
Chickpeas are loaded with proteins, fiber, folate, iron, phosphorus and essential fatty acids. They can be eaten in variety of recipes such as curries (dal), stews and in rice. They can be eaten boiled and added different spices along with.
When chickpea paste is made, it is called hummus. Hummus can be used in sandwiches as a substitute of butter.
Tofu is made up of soyabean. Soy contains all the essential amino acids and is thus a complete protein. It is also the basis of other different types of foods such as soy milk, tempeh, edamame, miso and soy nuts. Tofu is often used as a meat substitute. It is rich in potassium, calcium and iron. It can be used in soups or sandwiches.
Nuts are a good source of proteins. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews and hazelnuts are rich in proteins. 10-15 nuts a day can be a god source of protein and fiber. They also contain unsaturated fatty acids which help in lowering of cholesterol and thus good for heart health. They can be added in diet like in smoothies, salads or on veggies.
Quinoa is a whole grain with a high-protein content and also contain other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, manganese, etc. It is also high in fiber content. It is thus a complete protein. It can be used as a substitute of pasta, rice, etc. It can be easily added in diet like it can be taken with milk, as a salad and as a meal with veggies.
Peanuts are a rich source of proteins and essential fatty acids. It can be taken in the form of peanut butter which is a healthy protein snack. It is very delicious and is considered to be a high quality plant based protein.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLANT PROTEINS?
There are various benefits of plant proteins:
- They help in lowering the risk of heart diseases
- They help in managing blood sugar levels
- They are easier to digest and thus aids digestion
- They lower cholesterol level in blood
- They help in reducing body weight
- They maintain pH of body
- They help in muscle growth and repair
- They are packed with various vitamins and minerals and thus help in increasing immunity of body