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Protein has become a big topic of conversation for those conscious of their diet and exercise. In the big scheme of things does it matter what source we get our protein from as long as we are getting our recommended dosage?
Firstly, let’s look at what protein is. Protein is made up of amino acids and in order for a person to function they need a balance of all 22 amino acids.Of these 22 the body can’t produce 9 therefore we have to derive these from somewhere.These are what we will be focusing on - these are the essential amino acids.
What’s the difference?
Many people look to meat for their protein source because of its amino acid contents.Many plant proteins are incomplete which means it’s missing one or more essential amino acids. However, this is usually not a significant issue as we have learned that there are plants that do provide complete proteins and combining different plant proteins will provide you with the full range of essential amino acids as well. Dr.Julie Chen BSc Science & Innovation at Melrose, explains with a little planning,making sure you are consuming a varied diet, you should be able to provide your body with sufficient and complete plant-based protein to support your immune as well as your musculoskeletal systems. The added benefit of choosing plant-based protein sources is that you also get additional fibre as well as powerful plant antioxidants and polyphenols.
Animal protein has its benefits,one largely being the access to meat; eggs and milk are very easy to incorporate into our daily routine and are readily available in the market.Another benefit is the rich source of Vitamin Bs as well as other vital nutrients like iron. However, there have been strong links suggesting red meat consumption can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke due to the levels of unhealthy fats.It is always important to balance animal proteins with plant foods like fruits and vegetables to ensure that your body is getting a range of all essential nutrients other than protein.
The plant kingdom can be an excellent source for protein as usually they are coupled with other health benefits as well as being much fewer in calories. Plants also provide an advantage as they have compounds called phytochemicals (means “compounds from plants”). These phytochemicals include vitamins and minerals and a variety of antioxidants which is why most plants are considered superfoods. Plant foods are also able to provide the other nutrients that are available in animals proteins like iron and B vitamins. Plant protein is important not just for the protein factor but also because of all the benefits that go alongside it, such as the antioxidants. Additionally there are high levels offibre which can only naturally be obtained by eating plant-based food. In comparison, the protein derived from eating animal products has saturated fat as well as higher levels of cholesterol.
That being said, the most important part of a person’s diet is to eat a balanced diet of food that includes a variety of proteins and nutrients. A great way to boost your intake is to utilise superfood green powders. The Organic Essential Greens powder we have at Melrose Health has over 15% plant based protein. Our unique formulation of the organic ingredients in the essential greens has resulted in a potent nutrient dense superfood. Other than the unique blend of plant polyphenols that provide an antioxidant power punch, we have significant amounts of vitamins and minerals that are able to support many critical systems and functions in the body.