Benefits of Animal-Based vs. Plant-Based Protein
The human body is made of 10,000 different proteins and cannot survive without it. It is the main component of muscles, bones and many hormones. Protein slows down how fast food moves through the digestive system and reduces the glycemic index of a meal, meaning how high insulin will spike. It gives a feeling of satiety and curbs hunger cravings.
As the body uses protein to build lean muscle tissue, the muscle mass starts to increase. The body then requires more calories to sustain it. Just by having more lean muscle mass, more calories are burned on a daily basis without any effort at all.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. Protein can be found in a variety of foods including poultry, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, beans, legumes, grains and vegetables. Understanding the benefits of animal-based vs. plant-based protein is important so you can make the best choice for yourself.
Recent research from Japan has shown that men who consumed higher levels of meat and fish had a 39 percent lower risk of mental and physical decline compared to those who ate the least animal protein. It could be, as the researchers suggested, that high-quality protein helps preserve lean muscle that is essential for daily functioning. Another study done in 2012 suggested that, among people aged 70 to 89, those with the highest protein intake reduced their risk of mild cognitive impairment by 21 percent. Eating protein rich foods like beans, nuts, fish, chicken or eggs is best over the less-healthy option of dairy, red and processed meats. Opt for salmon or oven-roasted chicken breast for your sandwiches instead of the highly processed and chemical-laden lunch meats. Or even trying a turkey or a black bean burger instead of a traditional beef patty. Another option is to incorporate one smoothie each day with a high quality whey protein. It's important to make sure it is derived from non-GMO fed, non-antibiotic and hormone treated cows.
Benefits of Plant-Based Proteins
On the other end of the spectrum, vegetarian proteins have grown in popularity due to their benefits to suppress hunger cravings and boost the immune system. They are full of essential vitamins, micronutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants making them a highly nutrient-dense options. This means there is a maximum nutrient-impact with the least amount of calories. Nearly effortless to digest, this leaves the energy they yield to be used for your daily activities instead of for their digestion. They are also great for the planet as it takes a lot of energy to raise the animals, grow their feed and process the meat and get it to the supermarket.
Diets high in plant-based proteins have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. This is a benefit animal-based proteins do not have. By reducing inflammation, we are reducing the environment in which cancer cells thrive. A quality raw vegan protein powder can also be added to smoothies and shakes for the same anti-inflammatory benefits.
Appetite curbed, energy plentiful and the immune system boosted - perfect environment for finally seeing those pounds melt off.