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Is Meatless Protein Better for Your Health?

By Sara Butler

People are trying to eat less meat for a variety of reasons, from watching out for their health to helping the environment. But if you choose a meat replacement for your meals, is that the best choice? If you are considering going to a more plant-based diet but still want to have a "burger" every once in a while, then here's what you need to know about meat replacements and their impact on your health and wellness.

Meat-Free Products

These days you can find a variety of meatless products on the market. Many of these meatless products are made from plant-based protein, such as legumes, or soy. But the products that are marketed as meat alternatives may be a little more complicated, since they are meant to look, feel, and taste like meat. Are these products good for you?

One of the biggest issues with some meat mimics is their sodium content. You cannot avoid the fact that these products, while viewed as a healthy alternative to meat, are still highly processed and often have things such as salt added to them during manufacturing. It's important to always look at the nutritional information on food's packaging so you can see how much salt it contains, because some things will have much higher amounts of salt than others.

Healthy Meat Alternatives

If you want to move more towards a plant-based lifestyle, then it might be a good idea to make meat replacements a treat you have every once in a while and whole sources of protein your main meatless go-to. The less processed the foods you eat are, the better they'll be for your overall health.

To choose healthy meat-free products, you should make sure to:

  • Aim for whole foods - Whole foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruit, and vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet instead of relying on highly processed meatless alternatives
  • Choose plain - When you do buy meatless protein, such as tofu, try to choose the type that is unflavored, adding your own spices and herbs during the cooking process to help cut down on sodium
  • Go bean crazy - Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils are great sources of protein in your diet and easy to make. You can buy them dried or canned, just make sure to rinse the canned version to help reduce salt intake.

Eating less meat isn't a bad thing, simply be careful what you replace it with.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bossier City, La.

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