If your goal is to build muscle, plant-based proteins may not be on your radar. But they should be! Plant-based foods provide plenty of protein to stimulate muscle growth plus provide additional benefits to health not found in animal-based proteins. Whether your goal is to build muscle and strength, avoid animal-based proteins, or simply improve your health (or all of the above!), here are three reasons to consider nutrient-dense, plant-based proteins.
1. Plant-based sources provide complete proteins.
A complete protein contains all essential amino acids, which the body uses to build muscle. Combining a variety of vegetables, beans, and grains will provide all the amino acids required to form complete proteins. And while animal protein is complete, some plant sources are too, including hemp seeds, quinoa, chia seeds, and sea vegetables. Many plant-based protein supplements will contain protein from multiple sources, and some formulas even contain specific antioxidants to promote faster recovery and immune health.
2. Plant-based proteins tend to be easier to digest.
Whole plant-based foods contain fiber, which is essential for proper digestion -- and less time spent on digestion means more energy is available to be used elsewhere, like healing the wear and tear on your muscles caused by a hard workout. Plant-based proteins are a great option for people with dietary restrictions. Pea protein, for example, is not only vegetarian friendly but also gluten and dairy free.
3. Plant-based proteins support health in a variety of ways.
Plant-based foods are alkaline-forming in the body, while foods like meat, refined flour, and sugar are acid-forming. Alkaline-forming foods help the body combat inflammation, reduce stress, and support bone health. Diets high in saturated fats found mostly in meat and dairy may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, while the unsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds help support heart health. Research finds that plant-based proteins help lower high blood pressure and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.
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