Plant-based protein – not just for vegan bodybuilders
Providing a way to get protein that isn’t from animal products, plant-based protein has often been mainly associated with vegan bodybuilders or gym enthusiasts who follow a similar diet and lifestyle. But taking plant-based protein has other advantages, which are beneficial to the daily health of any fitness fanatic.
From helping towards a strong and healthy heart to improving digestion, here are some of the key health benefits to adding plant-based protein to your diet.
A first major benefit of plant-based protein is it’s good for your heart health. This is because it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Plant protein from natural foods like peas through to manufactured products, like a vegan protein powder, are all low in cholesterol.
Protein from plants also contains plant sterols, which can help lower cholesterol too.
Plant protein is full of a wide range of nutrients, all critical components of brain and body health, which can’t be found in animal protein alone. This includes high levels of vitamins and minerals to help keep your body healthy and strong in different ways. There are also antioxidants and phytonutrients, a substance found in plants – both of which can help prevent disease.
High in fibre
Unlike animal protein, plant protein is high in fibre. This means it can help with everything from improving your digestion, to reducing gas and bloating, to working well with your metabolism.
Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and fat, which is good for metabolism. But the combination of protein and high fibre in plant protein is even more beneficial for your metabolism, as it means it takes longer to digest. And the more your body works on metabolising plant protein, the better it can become at burning fat.
Protein that’s plant based can also help combat acidity. This is because plant food is richer in minerals, which results in a higher PH, creating a less acidic effect on the body. This is beneficial in helping to balance acidic diets – foods such as meat and carbs are more acidic, for instance.
It can also help the kidneys, as they don’t have to work as hard to neutralise blood.
One of the most popular types of protein powder is whey protein. However, this is no good for people with an allergy to whey or dairy. Gluten is also often found in many protein powders, which can be a problem for people with a gluten allergy or who have celiac disease. This is where plant protein can help, containing neither whey nor gluten.
Some plant-based protein powders also don’t contain soy. So for those people who suffer from allergies to these things, plant-based protein is a good choice.
Finally, research links plant-based protein to many health benefits, which can contribute to providing a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown that people who follow plant-based diets, like vegetarians, tend to be healthier than those who don’t. This includes having lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
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