Healthy Plant Proteins You Need in Your Life
By Sara Butler
When most people think of protein it normally conjures images of juicy steaks or hamburgers, but the truth is that protein comes in a lot of shapes and forms. You need protein to help you build strong muscles and repair tissues in your body. While red meat is a great source of protein, the American Heart Association warns that it contains high levels of saturated fat that can contribute to heart disease. In other words, a steak is good every once in a while, but you have to find other quality sources of protein in your diet to stay healthy. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
The Wonders of Plant Protein
Plant-based sources of protein are a great way to stay healthy and get the protein you need to stay strong. You must eat protein every day to provide your body with what it needs to perform optimally. When you eat animal protein, it’s more difficult for your body to break down to get what it needs, slowing digestion. But plant-based proteins are much easier for your digestive system to break down and use what it needs. Plus, your gut really loves all the fiber they provide. Plant-based proteins are better for you and cheaper too!
How to Eat Plant Protein
You may think you need a protein powder to get what you need, but you can easily get them from simple salads and other plant-based sources. Once you get into the habit of eating for nutrients, you will begin to crave plant-based proteins and you’ll feel good.
A few plant-based proteins to easily add to your diet include:
- Lentils – These pulses are rich in folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. They’re easy to make and can be used as a substitute for meat in tacos, as a topper for your salad or in soups and stews.
- Tofu – A very popular plant-based protein, tofu can be prepared many different ways. It’s rich in iron, zinc, manganese, and calcium too. It’ll take on the flavor of what you cook it with, so experiment!
- Nutritional yeast – You can easily sprinkle this yeast on top of pasta or popcorn or stir it into casseroles and soups. It’s full of protein, folic acid, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, and thiamin.
- Quinoa – Another plant protein that is easy to find these days, quinoa is gluten-free and a great source of protein. You can use it just about anywhere!
Give these plant-based protein alternatives a try!
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