Plant-based proteins are all the rage right now. But do they live up to the hype? At Mother Raw, we’ve done the research for you. The verdict is in: adding plants, especially plant proteins, into your diet is one of the best things you can do for your body.
If you’re not following a plant-based diet now, you don’t need to jump into it feet first. If you’ve ever wondered about how to add more plant proteins into your diet, which are best, why eating plant-based protein is beneficial, or if you’ll even get enough protein, you’re not alone! Regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or if you’re eating meat, it’s easy to get more than enough protein when you start adding in more plants.
Here are 5 reasons why you should start adding in plant proteins to your diet:
1. You’ll Be Healthier As You Age
Healthy plant-based diets are high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, unsaturated fat (the good fat!), and micronutrients. These diets also tend to be lower in saturated fat. For these reasons, eating more plants can (1):
- Help with weight loss and weight maintenance
- Enhance blood sugar control
- Improve your blood lipid levels
- Reduce blood pressure
- Decrease inflammation
- Give you a healthier gut
Together, all of these amazing benefits work together to lower your risk of heart disease and other risk factors associated with mortality later in life (2). Plant-based diets can also reduce your risk for certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases (1). All in all, eating more plants will improve your chances of ageing happily and healthily.
2. Plants Contain More Protein Than You Think
It’s not just animal proteins that give your body what it needs! While most plant foods contain a small amount of protein, certain ones have more of this essential macronutrient than others.
Here are some of the top sources of plant-based protein (3):
Be sure to pair your legumes (like beans and lentils) with grains or nuts to create a complete source of protein- this will make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to use the protein most effectively.
3. You’ll Be Helping Out The Environment
The foods you eat affect not only your health but also the health of the environment. Compared to producing animal proteins, producing plant proteins uses less:
- Land: producing animals for food destroys 17 million hectares of rainforest per year (4)
- Water: producing 1 kg of animal protein requires about 100x more water than producing 1 kg of plant protein (5)
- Energy: the inputs for animal products are up to 5 times more than for plant products (5)
- Greenhouse gases: producing 1kg of beef generates 64x more carbon dioxide than plant proteins (6)
In every way, eating more plants will help you reduce your environmental impact. Mother Earth will thank you!
4. You’ll get More Bang For Your Buck
Budgets can be difficult to stick to, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. One common myth about plant-based diets is that you have to eat a bunch of (expensive) speciality foods to stay healthy. In reality, diets with plenty of plant proteins, such as the foods listed above in reason #2, are inexpensive and will help you cut down your food bill.
If you’re looking to save money, buy items that are on sale, buy in bulk when you can, and remember that although frozen and canned foods are cheaper, they can be just as healthy as fresh. No matter what your budget is, you don’t have to break the bank when you eat more plants!
5. Your Muscles Will Thank You
You may have heard that you need more protein if you want to build muscle and get stronger- that’s true! While you might think that you need to eat more animal-based proteins to achieve your fitness goals, you have so many more options. Choosing protein from a variety of sources, including plants, helps your body to build lean tissue and make you stronger.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy to get enough protein with plant-based foods. A good rule of thumb is to include 2 or more forms of protein (legumes, whole grains, soy, or nuts) with each meal and snack! That’ll make it easy to make sure you’re getting enough protein to build muscle.
At Mother Raw, we’re all about making a plant-based lifestyle easier and more delicious. If you don’t want to do a full switch to plant proteins, that’s okay! You can start by adding more plant proteins into your regular diet. This will make those changes more sustainable, which will boost your health in both the short and long term!
Regardless of what lifestyle you practice or what diet you follow, everyone can benefit from eating more plants. Find those foods that make you feel best- eating foods that keep you full, energized, and satisfied are key to following a healthy diet and enjoying the foods you eat.
Author: Brittany Allison
- Lynch, H., Johnston, C. & Wharton, C. (2018). Plant-based diets: Considerations for environmental impact, protein quality, and exercise performance. Nutrients, 10(12).
- Satija, A., Bhupathiraju, S., Spiegelman, D., Chiuve, S., Manson, J., Willett, W., Rexrode, K., Rimm, E. & Hu, F. (2017). Healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets and the risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 70(4).
- Government of Canada. (2015). Canadian Nutrient File. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/nutrient-data/canadian-nutrient-file-about-us.html
- Baroni, L., Cenci, L., Tettamanti, M. & Berati, M. (2007). Evaluating the environmental impact of various dietary patterns combined with different food production systems. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(2).
- Marlow, H., Hayes, W., Soret, S., Carter, R., Schwab, E. & Sabate, J. (2009). Diet and the environment: Does what you eat matter? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(5).
- Drewnowski, A., Rehm, C., Verger, E., Voinnesson, M., & Imbert, P. (2014). Energy and nutrient density of foods in relation to their carbon footprint. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(1): 184-191.