We as a country have an extremely high protein intake. Providing that the average person follows a calorific intake of 2,000 calories a day, it’s recommended that 50g of that is protein. Due to our daily mass consumption of animal products, the majority of us are actually consuming excess amounts of protein.
For example, 200g of chicken, equivalent to 2 chicken breasts amounts to 54g of the daily recommended intake. This is hardly surprising seeing as we are made to believe that following a high protein diet is key to achieving maximum weight loss. While it is undeniable that protein; as one of the major structural elements of body tissues, is an essential dietary component, is it possible that by in taking excess amounts of protein we are in fact doing more damage than good to our bodies?
Studies are now revealing that because plant based diets are known for being lower in ‘bad’ fat and added sugar than meat eating diets, vegetarian and vegan diets may be the way to go. To help this, there is a number of growing and established vegetarian restaurants like The Gate Restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal, offering plenty of ways to get all the protein you need on purely a plant based diet.
Nuts are a great source of protein. They can be eaten as a healthy snack, put into salads or added to a meal. The other great thing about nuts is that there is such a wide variety of them and each one has its own separate health benefits. Almonds and pistachios are two of the most common types that are known to be a great source of protein containing 20g of protein per 100g. Nuts are a great source of unsaturated fats which if eaten instead of saturated fats, can reduce risks of heart disease.
There are so many health benefits to eating seeds, as they contain large quantities of nutrients beside protein. Take chia seeds for example, they have 3 times the antioxidant strength of blueberries, 3 times more iron than spinach, 6 times more calcium than milk, 7 times more vitamin C than oranges and 17g of protein per 100g serving. Due to their size, chia seeds are easy to incorporate into any meal or snack. It is now common for people to include them in their smoothies or salads as by doing this you can still reap all the nutritional benefits without having to eat them by themselves.
Beans, peas and lentils are all foods that are considered legumes. They are known for being good sources of fibre, protein, iron and calcium. In terms of protein levels, lentils are arguably the best food you can eat. One 100g serving contains 26g of protein and unlike animal based protein foods, have a very low total fat content of 1.1g. Lentils also help to manage blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.
- Dairy substitutes
Although many people find this hard to do, removing or cutting down on dairy from your diet has some of the most beneficial health rewards. There have been recent studies suggesting that there is a hormone found in milk that increases the chances of breast and prostate cancer. By swapping milk for various substitutes could decrease your chances of diagnosing the illness, as well as promoting healthy digestion and regulating hormone production. An example of a substitution is almond milk. There is no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk and it is high in healthy fats which help to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. Another benefit of almond milk other than it tasting just as good or even better than regular milk is that it’s high in vitamin E content. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties essential to your skin’s health, such as protecting against sun damage.
So many animal product substitutes are made of soy. One of the greatest of these is tempeh. Tempeh is made by binding soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh has two times the amount of protein tofu does. Tempeh is also very easily digested as the enzymes in it pre-digest the carbohydrates, protein, and fat within it.