It's a myth that people who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet don't get adequate protein. This false belief is a holdover from the days before eating a plant-based diet became mainstream, when vegetarianism was regarded with a certain amount of suspicion.
At one time, in the general public's mind, a meatless diet was associated with malnutrition. But now we know from a large body of research that a plant-based, or mostly plant-based, diets are the best way to eat for optimal health and weight loss. And we also know that it's entirely possible to get all the protein your body needs from plant-based proteins alone.
Whether you're trying to lose weight, maintain your current weight, or improve your heart, skin, or bone health, swapping out some or all animal-based proteins for plant-based proteins can make a world of difference.
Protein is the building block of life. It's found in every cell and used in nearly every process of your body. Made up of amino acids, protein is a macronutrient that, along with carbohydrates and fat, is essential to sustain life.
While your body can produce some amino acids on its own, there are nine essential amino acids that our bodies can't produce. Proteins that have all of these nine essential amino acids are called "complete" proteins, or "ideal" proteins. Meat and dairy products are all complete proteins, but they're not always the healthiest choices.
Plant foods that contain some, but not all, of the essential amino acids, are known as "incomplete" proteins. Incomplete proteins can be combined to produce a complete protein.
For example, beans paired with rice, whole-grain bread paired with peanut butter, and whole-grain pasta paired with cheese are examples of combinations that provide all nine essential amino acids. These combinations are known as complementary proteins.
Research shows that complementary proteins don't have to be eaten at the exact same time in order to provide the body with complete proteins. As long as a plant-based diet includes a wide variety of foods, you're sure to get all the amino acids you need.
Adding more plant-based proteins to your diet can help rev up your metabolism, promote weight loss, and improve your overall health. Here are a few of the best plant-based proteins to help you stay fit and trim.
Clocking in at 15 grams of protein per serving, black beans are just one amino acid short of being a complete protein. One of its amino acids, leucine, is rarely found in plant-based foods, but it's extremely beneficial for managing your metabolism and promoting weight loss.
Known as an "ancient grain," quinoa is actually a seed that contains eight grams of protein per serving. Quinoa is not only extremely versatile and delicious, but it's also a complete protein, making it an ideal addition to a plant-based diet.
Almonds and other nuts, including walnuts, pistachios, and cashews, are packed with protein and other life-giving nutrients, but you'll want to pair them with a lower-calorie food. Almonds contain 16.5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup, along with vitamin E for healthy skin and eyes.
Potatoes contain eight grams of protein per serving, and they're high in vitamin C and potassium. Top a baked potato with a couple of tablespoons of hummus instead of sour cream, and you can add three grams of protein to the dish.
Tofu is easy to prepare, and it takes on the flavor of the dish it's prepared in, making it a tasty and versatile option for plant-based protein. Tofu provides 10 grams of protein per half-cup, and it contains calcium and iron.
A growing body of research shows that plants are where it's at for better health and a healthier weight. Thrive Naturals' All-Natural Forskolin is a plant-based supplement that can boost your weight loss by naturally reducing your appetite and promoting the breakdown of fat in the cells. Increasing your intake of plant-based protein and supplementing with evidence-based forskolin is a one-two punch that can help you slim down and improve your overall health.
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