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All about plant-based protein

As a vegan or vegetarian, it's important to make sure you're getting enough protein in your diet to maintain muscle mass and overall health. While many people believe that animal products are the best or only sources of complete protein, there are plenty of plant-based sources that are rich in all the necessary amino acids. Here's what you need to know about consuming plant-based protein to get the most benefit from it.

Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are twenty kinds of amino acids, and your body makes eleven. There are nine amino acids that the body can't produce on its own. These amino acids must be obtained through diet, which is why they're often referred to as "essential amino acids." A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids in the right proportions for the body to use effectively. Animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, are complete proteins, which is why they're often considered the best sources of protein. However, there are also several plant-based sources of complete protein, such as quinoa, soy, and buckwheat.

Most plant-based proteins are incomplete, meaning they're missing one or more of the essential amino acids. This doesn't mean they're not good sources of protein, but it does mean that you need to combine them with other plant-based foods to make sure you're getting all the necessary amino acids. For example, rice and beans are a classic combination that provide all the essential amino acids. Other combinations include peanut butter on whole-grain bread, or hummus with whole-grain pita.

Getting Enough Protein

The recommended daily intake of protein is around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or about 56 grams for a sedentary man and 46 grams for a sedentary woman. However, if you're active or trying to build muscle, you may need more protein. It's also important to spread your protein intake throughout the day, rather than consuming it all at once. This allows your body to use the protein more effectively and can help prevent muscle breakdown.

Good plant-based sources of protein include legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans; nuts and seeds, such as almonds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds; and whole grains, such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice. It's important to vary your protein sources to ensure you're getting all the necessary amino acids.

How to Maximize Protein Absorption

While plant-based protein sources are healthy, they can be less bioavailable than animal sources, meaning your body may not absorb as much of the protein. To maximize protein absorption, it's important to consume protein sources that are high in the amino acid leucine, which stimulates muscle protein synthesis. Good sources of leucine include soy, peas, and quinoa.

It's also important to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help your body absorb and use protein more effectively. Additionally, it's a good idea to consume protein sources with a small amount of healthy fat, such as avocado or nuts, which can help slow down digestion and promote satiety.

In conclusion, consuming plant-based protein can provide all the essential amino acids you need to maintain muscle mass and overall health. By combining incomplete protein sources and varying your protein sources, you can ensure you're getting all the necessary nutrients. And by choosing protein sources that are high in leucine, consuming colorful fruits and vegetables, and adding a small amount of healthy fat, you can maximize protein absorption and reap the full benefits of a plant-based diet.

Send us your questions on plant-based proteins below!

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per day, or closer to .8-1 g of protein per pound of body weight. Certainly activity level needs to be taken into account.

Furthermore, if your goal is to increase muscle, mass and growth, and taking extra, Lucine would be a good idea whether you eat meat or not

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