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Top Plant-Based Proteins

  • Category: Nutrition
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Reema Kanda, RDN
Top Plant-Based Proteins

Getting a sufficient amount of protein for those who eat a plant-based diet can be tricky. We spoke to HOI’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Reema Kanda, to get her expertise on plant-based proteins and how they can have a positive impact on your diet.

Q: What are the best plant-based proteins you can eat?

A: My top three plant-based protein recommendations are quinoa, nuts and lentils because they are versatile and can be added to meals, snacks, and variety of recipes.

Q: Why are these proteins so good and important for health?
A: Quinoa is a unique ancient grain that has a high protein content and has all the essential nine amino acids - meaning it is equivalent to eating animal protein. Quinoa contains fiber and a 1-cup serving can provide approximately 20% of one’s daily iron needs. The bonus is that it cooks quickly and is easy to find at supermarkets.

Nuts contain protein and heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as antioxidants. Plant-based proteins like almonds contains compounds that protect the body from oxidative stress, which can lead to aging, heart disease, and some cancers. There is a wealth of observational studies and clinical trials that support the benefits of consuming nuts and seeds.

Lentils are part of the legume family and also contain antioxidants. Half a cup of lentils is very versatile because they contain seven times less fat than pork, double the protein in quinoa, and four times the fiber compared to brown rice. Regular consumption of lentils is linked to lowering blood cholesterol, lower body weight, low rates of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Q: How might plant-based proteins be superior to animal-based proteins?

A: What makes plant-based proteins so healthy is that they contain a lot of other nutrients that can provide added benefits to your overall health. By including 1-2 cups of lentils or any other legumes in your diet, you will reap the health benefits.