We constantly hear that protein should be the basis of our diet, because it is the main component of all cells and participates in crucial life processes. However, protein does not have to be associated only with poultry meat. A large amount can also be found in some vegetables. It’s good to know how they differ and how to use them.
Functions of proteins in the body
Name protein comes from the word “protos”, meaning “first”. They are the key component of our diet, so they are rightly called the source of life. Proteins are a building material for cells and tissues – they enable cell growth, development and renewal. They are also the main component of blood, lymph and breast milk. They are found in antibodies that are responsible for the body’s immunity. It is also important that proteins provide us with energy.
Vegetable products rich in protein
Soy products are considered to be one of the richest sources of protein in the plant diet. Tofu takes over the taste of the dish in which it is prepared, so it can become an addition to many meals. It is also great as a Substitute for meat on a sandwich or in a soup. Well-seasoned, it can successfully replace chicken in many popular dishes. Tofu is also a healthy Substitute for dairy products – it contains calcium and iron.
Red or green lentils contain a lot of protein, fiber and key nutrients, including iron and potassium. You can add it to many meals, such as meatless stews, curries, salads and rice dishes in order to provide an extra portion of protein. You can also make delicious vegan pate from lentils.
Chickpeas can be eaten hot or cold – it is used in many Meatless dishes. It is best known in the form of hummus, which – added to a sandwich – can become a healthy and protein-rich alternative to butter.
Animal protein is usually a wholesome protein, which means it contains all the ingredients we need. It is found primarily in poultry meat, fish and seafood, as well as in eggs, milk and all dairy products – yogurt, cheese, buttermilk.
Which proteins are healthier?
Although animal proteins are wholesome, the excess of animal products in the diet is not beneficial to health. Animal products contain cholesterol and a lot of fat, which is why they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. It is worth knowing that too much protein in the diet can lead to osteoporosis and burden the kidneys.
Plant products are not wholesome protein but contain other substances that have a positive effect on health. First of all, they are a source of fiber that lowers cholesterol, improves digestive processes and facilitates weight loss. Plant products are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are necessary for the Healthy organism.
The ideal solution is to maintain a healthy balance between animal and plant proteins. Our diet should definitely contain more vegetables and fruits, but we should also reach for meat – about twice a week.