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  • Emma B

Plant-based Protein: What is the best for Recovery?

As more and more people are becoming interested in vegetarian and veganism, the typical protein source from eating meat will no longer be in people's diet. So what should it be replaced with to get the best amount of protein from non-meat sources. Especially if you are looking to recover after an injury or operation.

While there are new meat substitutes and powders, they have been known to cause tummy issues for people with sensitive stomachs.

What is the science behind plant-based protein?

If you compare plant-based to animal protein, there are some factors to consider, such as taste to cost. But if you are considering plant-based due to health reasons, the science behind the food can indicate the benefits.

Complete proteins

A complete protein are those that provide all the nine essential amino acids the body can not produce on it's own and must get from food.

Many vegan proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids, which is why people believe having a mixed varied diet is the best to have. An example is mixing rice and beans.

There is one vitamin that vegans are unable to obtain, even with the substitutes available.

Vitamin B12

This nutrient is where plant-based proteins can not compete with animal sourced protein. This vitamin aids in proper brain function and red blood cell formation. If you are deciding to become vegan, to obtain an adequate balanced meal, you will need to add this to your diet with a supplement.

So what plant-based food is best for protein?

Here are some examples of the best protein sources, that aren't animal based.

- Black beans

- Tofu

- Chickpeas

- Edamame

- Peanut butter

- Oats

- Lentils

- Cooked quinoa

These foods have a high protein intake, as well as healthy fats, fibre and carbohydrates. Remember, protein isn't the only thing that helps maintain a healthy diet and increase muscle mass if that is your goal!

How can protein help recovery?

Protein is important as it is the 'building blocks' of the muscles. It gives the right nutrients to muscles to allow for them to repair themselves quicker then if protein intake was low. The repetitive actions you perform, even when walking cause the muscle to break down so that stronger muscle can be rebuilt. Which why having a high protein intake when recovering allows that process to speed up.

Is there anyone who shouldn't eat plant-based?

For the majority of people eating a plant-based diet is healthier and cheaper option for most. However, it is always advisable to speak to a doctor or a nutritionist, before changing diet dramatically. Especially if you have certain allergies to soy or lactase as some meat alternatives and plant based protein may contain those.

Environmental benefits of plant-based protein?

There is a study from 2019 that showed that people moving to a plant-based diet, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. People that moved to a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, were able to help reduce the gases by 35%. The diet may not be suitable for a person's needs, however we can not deny the effects it will have on the meat-producing industry and the gases that are produced because of them.

Overall, plant-based protein can be eaten by anybody, especially if you are looking to increase protein intake for muscle recovery and healing in a healthy way or as alternative to drinking protein powders, which may cause tummy issues for people.

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