Healthy Foods and Vitamins

Vegetable Protein

Vegetable Protein

Plant proteins are incomplete proteins that lack one or more of the essential amino acids. Most plant foods are a source of incomplete protein.

It is worth noting that the essential amino acids that are not sufficiently available in plant sources are: methionine (Methionine); As its quantities in legumes are considered low, and lysine (Lysine); Its quantities in grains and seeds are low, as well as tryptophan.

Vegetable protein

It is worth noting that low consumption of these amino acids is linked to low levels of protein production in the body, according to a study conducted at the Slovak Medical University in 2005. Which was conducted with the aim of knowing the benefits and warnings associated with plant proteins.

It is worth mentioning that there is another type of protein, which are complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities, examples of which include: Animal foods such as dairy products, eggs , meat, poultry, and seafood, in addition to soybeans.

Amino acids are divided into two main types: essential amino acids, which the body cannot produce and must obtain from food, and they are nine in number.

The second type is non-essential amino acids, which the body can manufacture. Of the essential amino acids found in food, or through the natural breakdown of protein within the body, and based on this, food proteins are divided into two types:

Benefits of vegetable Protein According to the Strength of Scientific Evidence

Diets rich in plant protein are associated with many health benefits, but the scientific evidence for them is not as strong, and the following points show a group of potential benefits of eating plant protein: [3]

Benefits have Strong Scientific Evidence

The possibility of reducing the risk of diabetes: A review of a large group of studies published in 2017 in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology indicated that vegetarian diets have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes and reduce its complications on blood vessels.

Consumption of certain fruits and vegetables, such as root vegetables, green leafy vegetables, berries, grapes, and apples, is linked to lower rates of diabetes.

It has also been proven that legumes improve the body’s insulin resistance and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, in addition to Consumption of nuts and fiber is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

It is worth noting that changing the type and source of refined carbohydrates instead of unrefined ones, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats, and plant protein instead of animal protein plays a major role in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Therefore, changing the type of proteins alone is not sufficient. Rather, the type of carbohydrates and fats, and the dietary pattern in general, play an important role in reducing the risk of diabetes.

Benefits have Less Strong Scientific Evidence

Possibility of reducing the risk of heart disease: It was found that blood pressure , cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart disease were greater in those who followed a diet rich in protein, half of which comes from plant sources, and low in saturated fats, compared to those who followed a diet rich in carbohydrates and low With saturated fats, or who followed a healthy diet high in monounsaturated fats, according to a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University in 2005 on 164 adults with a condition called prehypertension, or the first stage of high blood pressure.

On the other hand, it turns out that these effects are uncertain. It is difficult to isolate and study the effect of plant protein on heart health separately from other components found in plant or animal protein sources, or a healthy diet.

Evidence supports the role of a plant-based diet in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease along with some foods with high levels of heart health.

Animal sources such as fish, chicken, low-fat milk, foods free of refined carbohydrates, and processed meat, according to a review of a large group of studies published in 2015 in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

Possibility of reducing the risk of cancer: Following a vegetarian diet is useful in combating many types of cancer , without causing serious or unwanted side effects.

A well-planned vegetarian diet is simple and inexpensive, and can also be followed to reduce the risk of disease in general.

nd to reduce the progression of the disease in those infected with it, it is worth noting that early prevention of cancer is based on improving diet, lifestyle, and physical activity, according to a review of a large group of studies published in 2018 in a journal known as Unexplored Medical Data.

Possibility of contributing to maintaining a healthy weight: Eating meals rich in plant protein can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a good amount of nuts, which are a source of plant protein, has been shown to be associated with weight loss, according to a 2011 observational study at.

Harvard University conducted On 120,000 healthy, non-obese men and women over a period of twenty years, In addition, it was found that eating one serving of beans, chickpeas, lentils, or peas daily can increase feelings of fullness, in addition to the possibility of improving The ability to control and lose weight, according to another study conducted at the University of Toronto in 2014.

The Harms of Relying Entirely on Plant Protein

Despite the many benefits of vegetable protein, relying primarily on it, and relying only on plant sources by following a strict vegetarian diet, can cause a group of negative effects, and the following points explain some of the harms of vegetable protein:

Lack of important nutrients for the body: Animal protein sources are characterized by their high content of a group of nutrients that plant foods often lack. Conversely, many nutrients are available in plant sources, which animal sources lack, so eating balanced quantities of both sources is important.

The best way to obtain all the nutrients that the body needs, and the following points show the elements that plant protein lacks:

Vitamin D: It is available in oily fish, eggs, and milk products, which the body uses better than vitamin D, which is found in very few types of plant sources.

Zinc: It is found mainly in animal protein sources, such as beef and lamb, and is absorbed and used more easily than zinc found in plant sources.

Harmful effects of soy: Soybeans are considered a healthy food in general, and are used in many food industries, such as using the protein found in soybeans to make soy meat (Textured vegetable protein), which is available in the form of slices, pieces, or granules as an alternative to animal meat, and is often Many processing and flavor-enhancing substances are added to it, and the following points show some of the harmful effects associated with its consumption:

Soy allergy: Some people suffer from an allergic reaction to soybeans, and eating it in these people may cause a group of symptoms, such as numbness in the mouth, hives, skin itching, bloating, redness, wheezing, stomach pain, diarrhea, redness, In rare cases, it can cause a fatal allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

The harmful effect of monosodium glutamate: (Monosodium glutamate); Soy-based alternative meats contain monosodium glutamate, which can cause a range of symptoms for those who suffer from intolerance: stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, skin rashes, headaches, and other symptoms.

Sources of Vegetable Protein in Food

Interest in following vegetarian diets or reducing the consumption of animal products has increased recently. Some plant foods are excellent sources of protein and other nutrients, and often contain fewer calories than animal products.

However, getting enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals is important. Basic foods may be more difficult for people who never eat meat or animal products, and the following foods are rich sources of plant protein:

Soybeans: Soybean products such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soymilk are among the richest sources of vegetable protein.

They also contain good levels of calcium and iron. The protein content varies depending on the method of preparing soybeans, and the following is an explanation of the content of each type: [12] ]

A cup of edamame seeds contains: Or what is known as immature soybeans, contains 8.5 grams of protein.

Green peas: A cooked cup of green peas contains 9 grams of protein, and is also a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese.

Nuts and seeds: 28 grams of nuts and seeds contain approximately 5 to 7 grams of protein. They are also a good source of fiber, healthy fats , and many vitamins and minerals.

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Zaheer Ahmad

I am Zaheer Ahmad. Currently I am doing P.hd on Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Sorbonne University. Previously, I have also done masters in Molecular Nutrition and Food Technology.

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