8 Protein-Packed Plants That Deserve A Spot In Your Diet
8 Protein-Packed Plants That Deserve A Spot In Your Diet by: Susan Patterson for Off the Grid News
When we think of protein, it is mainly animal sources that come to our mind. In fact, 70 percent of the protein consumed in most developed countries comes from meat and poultry. But there are plenty of protein-packed plants that can offer this macronutrient as part of a balanced diet.
Animal proteins, including fish and eggs, milk and meat are concentrated protein sources. Notwithstanding, they come loaded with many extras — mostly a result of factory farming — that we don’t really need. Dietary cholesterol and fats are no longer thought to have as much of a direct relation to our blood cholesterol and lipid profile as previously believed. However, animal protein sources remain high in calories and often undergo some amount of processing to reduce their fat content. Including plant proteins in our diet would not only add variety and many beneficial phytochemicals but reduce processed food load as well.
Plant proteins are often considered inferior on account of being incomplete proteins. They may lack one or more of the essential amino acids that form the building blocks of proteins. These essential amino acids should come from our diet, as they cannot be synthesized by the body. But it doesn’t matter if all of them come from the same food item or from different foods. Variety is the key here; even vegans can get their fill of essential nutrients by combining pulses, oilseeds, and cereals in their diet.
Here is a selection of the best plant protein sources that deserve to be a part of your diet — even if you are a meat-eater!
Protein-Packed Plants (#1): Hemp Seeds
The cannabis plant from which hemp seeds and hemp fiber are obtained is closely related to the plant that provides the narcotic drug hashish. But hemp seeds do not cause any drug-induced “high,” and you can safely use them as a high-quality raw food. It is one of the few plant sources of complete protein. Moreover, all of the essential amino acids come in the right ratio for maximum benefit. On top of that, hemp seeds come loaded with fiber and minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. It is an excellent source of vitamin E, too.