Protein is an essential part of any balanced diet. It’s great for building, maintaining, and replacing tissues in your body, especially in your muscles, organs, and immune system. A protein-rich diet helps you feel full longer, so you won’t find yourself snacking on chips and dip three times a day. Protein powders are the next big thing. Surveys show that plant proteins, pea and hemp protein, were found to be the most popular choices among respondents for proteins, and their usage is projected to increase drastically over the next couple years.
Scientists say that proteins look like “a necklace of amino-acid-shaped beads.” Amino acids can be used and reused to make the proteins in your body and help with digestion and heart health. Scientists have found 22 amino acids, 13 of which your body can produce without even thinking about it. The remaining 9 are called “essential amino acids.” Your body cannot naturally generate them and you need get them from the foods you eat.
Meet some of the best plant proteins:
Pea protein is one of most hypoallergenic protein powders. It contains no gluten or dairy, making it easy on the tummy and merciful to bloating. Pea protein produces peptides that delay the emptying of your stomach and the secretion of ghrelin, the hormone that tells your brain you’re hungry. It also decreases the risk of coronary heart disease, increases muscle thickness, and regulates blood pressure and sugar. Pea protein also has a nearly complete profile of amino acids, comparable to soy, which contains eight of the essential amino acids.
Rice protein is another allergen-friendly protein. Here at BumbleBar, we use raw and sprouted rice protein. Rice protein is low fat and low calorie, and has about 24 grams of protein per serving. Like other proteins, rice protein helps with weight loss, lowered cholesterol, and muscle recovery after exercising.
Nuts are another great source of protein. Pumpkin and squash seeds yield the highest amount of protein at 29.8g per 100g, with peanuts coming in at a close second with 24.4g of protein per 100g. Almonds are also awesome. There are 20 grams of protein in just one cup of almonds, and they are also an excellent source of Vitamin E, fiber, and unsaturated fats. Almonds have also been especially helpful in lowering cholesterol.
Other high-protein nuts and seeds include flaxseed. Flax contains about 18 grams of protein in one cup, and sesame seeds, which contain about 17g. Even the craziest nut, the coconut, has about 7g of protein per 100g. Nuts and seeds, in general, are a great, low-calorie source of protein and a heart healthy snack.
Hemp protein is gaining fame as a protein powerhouse. This amazing plant includes 20 amino acids, including the nine essential ones your body can’t produce on its own. Being one of the few sources of gamma linoleic acid (GLA), it’s been shown to help people with ADHD and breast pain. Hemp seed oil and powder will not make you high, but it will make you healthy and happy.
Some sources may tell you animal-based proteins are better for your diet because they contain a more “complete” profile of amino acids. However, animal proteins have a higher concentration of sulphur. This sulphur is then metabolized to acid-generating metabolites, resulting in a lower physiological pH. Meat consumption also raises huge environmental and health concerns. Plant-based protein is simply better for you and the environment. Next time you’re jonesing for a heart healthy, environment-happy, tummy-toning snack, look for these great sources of plant protein!