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Top Plant-Based Proteins | WTOP



Eating less meat can be better for your health. For years, nutritionists and doctors have told Americans that meat use …

Eating less meat can be better for your health.

For years, nutritionists and doctors have told Americans that meat sparingly is best and that focusing on plant-based foods can provide a number of health benefits. But even with a plant-based diet, getting enough protein is a problem for some. So how do you balance these concerns? Enter vegetable proteins.

Plants do contain some protein, despite what you may have heard, and some types of plants and plant products are actually excellent sources of this important macronutrient that builds muscle, carries oxygen to cells, and supports metabolic health.

Vegetable proteins can meet all of your protein needs.

While animal products such as red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are excellent sources of protein, it is entirely possible to meet all of your protein needs without ever ingesting an animal product. And that can offer health benefits as many Americans consume too many animal products.

Vegetable proteins can help you avoid certain diseases.

Dena Champion, a registered nutritionist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, says “People who eat mostly plant-based proteins are at lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, and other chronic diseases. ”

On the other hand, eating “high amounts of red meat and processed meat is linked to increased cancer rates,” she says.

Vegetable proteins contain other healthy components.

It’s not just the protein in these foods that makes them such a smart choice, says Reema Kanda, a registered nutritionist with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California. “What makes vegetable proteins so healthy is that they contain many other nutrients that can provide additional benefits for your overall health.”

These other nutrients include:

Antioxidants. These compounds found in plant foods inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that can damage cells. Antioxidants help maintain a healthy balance with free radicals, other compounds that the body is constantly making.

Fiber. “Animal protein generally does not contain fiber and can contain unhealthy saturated fat, which can lead to heart disease,” says Champion. But vegetable fiber is full of fiber that is healthy for the heart and intestines. “Plant-based proteins contain fiber, which can be really filling. Most Americans don’t get nearly enough fiber. “

Phytochemicals. Phyto means plant in Greek, so phytochemicals are chemicals produced by plants that are believed to be beneficial to human health. It is also believed that eating foods rich in phytochemicals can prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer, dementia, and diabetes.

Vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals, also called micronutrients, are important for human health and keep the body going. In order to keep the body running optimally, you need a constant supply of various vitamins and minerals every day. Plants provide almost all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.

The following slides offer the eight best plant-based proteins you can eat.

1. Quinoa

Although quinoa is usually treated as a grain, it is actually a seed. “Quinoa is a unique ancient grain with a high protein content and all nine essential amino acids,” says Kanda. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and if you have all nine at the same time, “that means it’s equivalent to eating animal protein.”

In addition to the protein content of this pseudo-grain, it also contains fiber. A “one-cup serving” can provide approximately 20% of your daily iron needs. The bonus is that it cooks quickly and is easy to find in supermarkets. “

2. Nuts

“Nuts not only contain protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but also antioxidants,” says Kanda.

“Plant-based proteins like almonds contain compounds that protect the body from oxidative stress that can lead to aging, heart disease, and some cancers,” says Kanda, adding that “a plethora of observational and clinical studies highlight the benefits of consuming Cover nuts “. and seeds. “

Nuts are also a great source of healthy fats that can be beneficial for heart and metabolic health.

3. Lenses

Lentils are part of the legume family, which also includes beans, peas, and peanuts. These plants contain a lot of antioxidants. Kanda notes that half a cup of lentil is “very versatile because lentils are seven times less fat than pork, twice as much protein as quinoa, and four times as much fiber as brown rice”.

Regular consumption of lentils was reduced with a content of:

– blood cholesterol.

– Body weight.

– heart disease.

– High blood pressure.

– diabetes.

– Some types of cancer.

4. Tofu

Champion says tofu is one of her favorite plant-based proteins “because it takes on the taste of anything you cook, which makes it very versatile. It is also a complete protein, so it contains all nine essential amino acids. “

In addition, people who avoid animal products sometimes don’t get enough calcium. But tofu can help with that. “Most tofu is a wonderful source of calcium because it is usually made from calcium. This is really important for people who consume little or no dairy products. “

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas have many names including chickpeas, Egyptian peas, and bengal grams. They are very rich in protein and are easy to add to pasta dishes, puree into hummus and as a thickener in soups and sauces. Champions says she loves them because they are versatile and full of nutrients.

6. Black beans

Black beans are another staple food essential in many culinary traditions for good reason – they’re very high in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, and a host of other nutrients that contribute to good overall health.

Beans are also high in folate, which is important for red blood cell production and the development of the fetus. Studies have shown that a diet high in legumes like black beans is linked to a lower risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol, and a lower risk of diabetes.

7. Edamame

Edamame are whole, unripe soybeans that are popular in East Asian cuisine. The pods are boiled and steamed and often served with salt or other spices as a starter in American restaurants. Where typical soybeans are light brown or brownish in color, edamame is a bright green. You don’t eat the fuzzy pods, you squeeze the tender bean.

Soy and soy products have sometimes gotten a bad rap from some people for fear that it could mimic estrogen and potentially increase the risk of breast cancer. However, Kailey Proctor, a certified oncology nutritionist at the Leonard Cancer Institute at Providence Mission Hospital in Orange County, California, says the fiber levels in edamame and other legumes are beneficial for those who have breast cancer or are at risk for development.

“Fiber combines with estrogen in the digestive tract to remove excess estrogen from the body. Estrogen is a hormone that helps breast cells grow, and research shows that prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen can increase the risk of breast cancer in women. “

In addition, a high-fiber diet can help you avoid various types of cancer and lower your cholesterol levels. “Fiber also helps women maintain a healthy weight. Fiber acts like a balloon in your stomach to keep you full longer between meals, so you eat fewer high-calorie foods that can lead to weight gain, ”explains Proctor. “Being overweight or obese has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and 12 other cancers.”

8. Hemp hearts

Hemp hearts are the edible insides of hemp seeds. These high-protein seeds are sometimes used to make vegan versions of milk, cheese, or protein powder. They can be eaten raw or roasted or cooked.

Although they come from the same plant as marijuana or cannabis, they contain virtually no highly inducing THC. You will fail a drug test or get drunk if you eat a lot of hemp hearts.

Their nutty, versatile taste makes them a great addition to salads and stews, but also to thicken soups and sauces. Like other nuts and seeds, hemp hearts are high in fiber and a good source of calcium and iron.

“Hemp hearts are another example of a complete vegetable protein,” says Champion. This means that they contain all nine essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein.

Good for any type of diet

Even if you’re not following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s still worth adding plant-based proteins to your diet, says Champion. “A lot of people will tell me that they don’t want to be a vegetarian, so don’t bother to include plant-based proteins in your diet. Instead of thinking all or nothing, try a couple of meals, or even one meal a week, that use vegetable protein instead of animal protein. “

And it doesn’t have to be a big production either, she adds. Simple ideas are:

– Swap black beans for meat in tacos.

– Sprinkle hemp hearts on avocado toast or in muesli.

– Adding tofu to a stir-fry instead of meat.

– Thaw frozen and peeled edamame and throw in a salad.

– Have canned or frozen beans handy for an easy, inexpensive, plant-based protein option.

Champion adds that “Vegetables and whole grains also contain protein,” so you may be consuming more protein than you think if you’re making a pan of vegetable tofu that is served over brown rice, for example.

And Proctor notes that flexibility is key to building a diet for health and wellbeing. “It’s really important to look at overall nutritional quality over the long term, not just one particular meal. Mainly focus on plants with lean protein, but don’t be afraid to splurge for a special occasion as food matters more than just food composition. ”

The 8 Best Plant-Based Proteins You Can Eat:

1. Quinoa.

2. Nuts.

3. Lenses.

4. Tofu.

5. Chickpeas.

6. Black beans.

7. Edamame.

8. Hemp hearts.

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Top Plant-Based Proteins originally appeared on

Whole Grains Health

Protein Variety and Heart Health Are Linked, Study Finds



We’ve all found ourselves in the habit of eating the same three things over and over (…and over) again. When life gets busy, falling back on simple dishes that satisfy your tastebuds is the natural thing to do. But if you’re cooking up the same couple proteins on the regular, a new study published in the the journal Hypertension suggests that it may be time to introduce a few new varieties into your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

The study pulled existing data from over 12,000 participants who took part in a minimum of two rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey. Researchers sought to explore the relationship between hypertension—or high blood pressure—and the variety and quantity of proteins from eight major dietary sources consumed by participants. (Study participants were an average age of 41 years old.)

Researchers measured protein intake by looking at three consecutive days of eating, scoring each round based on the number of protein varieties consumed (including legumes, fish, eggs, whole grains, refined grains, processed and unprocessed red meat, and poultry).

The results? “Among ‘just the right amount’ consumers of protein, those eating the greatest variety of protein had a the lowest blood pressure,” explains John Higgins, MD, a sports cardiologist with McGovern Medical School at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. Notably, those who ate the least and the most amount of protein were at the greatest risk for developing high blood pressure, while those who ate the greatest variety of protein were 66 percent less likely to end up developing hypertension between the rounds of the survey .

“The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure.” — Xianhui Qin, MD, study author

Although the survey results sound complicated—and, hey, they were—the takeaway is simple: “The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure,” Xianhui Qin, MD, the study author, said in a press release. In other words: Mix it up! Spin the protein wheel of fortune and try something new.

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If you’re not quite sure where to start with upping your protein game, Dr. Higgins recommends looking at your consumption on a daily basis. “The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than about 5.5 ounces of protein daily, about one to two servings, from healthy sources such as plants, seafood, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and some lean meats and poultry,” he says. “The best proteins are lean proteins including beans, soy or tofu, fish, skinless chicken, very lean meat, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid proteins that say ‘hydrogenated’ on label or contain high levels of trans fats or saturated fats. “

Of course, there’s always room in your eating plan for less nutritional proteins, too—just try to incorporate these lean sources when you can, and ask your doctor if you have questions about what dietary habits are right for your particular health status and family history .

A delicious way to eat more varied proteins? This delicious quiche recipe:

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Whole Grains Health

The 10 Best Diet Books in 2022



Staff, Courtesy of Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

The word “diet” has earned itself an undeniably negative reputation, often leading people to think of unsustainable restriction and unhealthy fads. However, if you’re looking to adjust your way of eating, whether you want to feel better, lose weight, or hit a new personal record, there are tons of great diet books out there that can help educate you on ways to improve your nutrition and get you feeling better than ever.

While the diets of the past have focused on restriction, newer ways of eating encouragement consuming more good-for-you foods to crowd out less healthy choices, leaving you feeling satisfied, not deprived. These diet books are also super educational, teaching you why you should eat certain foods, what they can do for your health, and the best ways to make them delicious. To help you on your nutrition journey, we’ve gathered the best diet books and healthy cookbooks available today.

Best Diet Books

    How to Choose a Diet Book

    If you’re looking to switch up your diet, the first thing you should ask yourself is why. What exactly do you want out of a diet?

    Second, consider your lifestyle. Do you need meals that are quick and easy? Do you like to take an hour or two to cook for yourself every night? How often can you grocery shop for fresh ingredients?

    Finally, consider whether you’re looking specifically for a cookbook or one that will provide you education on a particular way of eating without necessarily giving you recipes. While many cookbooks will have some content that discusses the origins of food and their nutritional benefits, these books are unlikely to go as in-depth regarding nutrition as less recipe-focused ones.

    How We Selected

    To find the best diet books among the many options on the market, we researched the most popular books available and considered their content, credibility, design, digestibility, and organization. We then looked at both expert reviews and more than 105,000 customer ratings, written by people who’ve bought these books on Amazon, to settle on the diet books you’ll find below.

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    Best vegetarian

    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    This is a great all-around cookbook, but it’s an especially great buy if you’re trying to lay off meat. This book contains everything from specific meal recipes to instructions for steaming veggies, truly teaching you how to cook from start to finish. There are recipes for every meal, as well as snacks and desserts, and it includes instructions for so many different dishes you could easily cook from only this book for an entire year and not get bored.


    Best for Longevity

    The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100

    This cookbook highlights recipes from specific areas across the globe—called blue zones—where people live the longest. While some of their longevity surely comes from other lifestyle factors, there’s no discounting the role diet plays in their long-lasting health and wellbeing. These recipes not only focus on ingredients, but the ways in which foods are prepared and how that relates to their overall nutritional value.

    The goal of the book is to increase longevity and quality of life while creating delicious recipes that you’ll want to eat time and time again.


    Best Mediterranean

    The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

    The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest diets in the world. It’s full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and tons of vegetables, providing a well-rounded, nutritious way of eating.

    This cookbook not only has 500 great Mediterranean recipes, but it also helps you learn which ingredients you should make staples in your grocery list. It also uses only ingredients that you can easily find at standard grocery stores, which makes the Mediterranean diet more accessible.


    Best for Runners

    run fast eat slow

    You’ve probably heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”—and to some degree, the same holds true for personal records. While nutritious food won’t necessarily knock 30 seconds off your mile time, it can help you fuel your workouts so you get the most out of your training.

    This book was designed by Olympian Shalane Flanagan and is packed with recipes designed to help runners fuel their toughest workouts and recover after. As a bonus, the recipes included in this book just so happen to be delicious, too.


    Best Vegan

    The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook

    When first going vegan, it can be difficult to figure out how to make food that is both delicious and nutritious. This book has 500 recipes ranging from meals to snacks to desserts that use entirely plant-based ingredients. These recipes also offer alternate ingredient options, like eggs and dairy, which is great if you want to add more plant-based recipes into your diet, but aren’t ready to dive headfirst into veganism.


    Best for a full reset

    The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    If you’ve been diet-hopping in hopes of finding a meal plan that can help you commit to a healthier lifestyle and enjoy some weight loss, Whole 30 is a great choice. It has you cut out sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and some other specific foods for 30 days. The idea behind the diet is that it helps jumpstart weight loss while simultaneously getting you to reassess how you think about what you are eating to reach a place of freedom with your food.


    Best for weight loss

    The Obesity Code – Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

    If weight loss is your goal, and you have struggled to find lasting success, this book could be a game-changer. It dives into the science of weight loss, helping you understand hormones, insulin resistance, and other reasons for weight gain. The book recommends intermittent fasting and a low-carb diet, and guides you on how to do them correctly, efficiently, and in the long term.


    Best for Learning about Food

    How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

    A lot of eating plans focus on what you should eliminate from your diet, but this book places more importance on what you should be adding to your diet and why.

    It discusses foods that are scientifically proven to help you live a longer, healthier life, and the many ways in which food can help prevent disease. It focuses on whole body health—including both mental and physical health—and teaches you to focus on more than just weight and physical appearance when it comes to your food.


    Best for Anti-Dieters

    Not a Diet Book: Take Control. Gain Confidence. ChangeYourLife.

    The rise of anti-diet culture gave inspiration to this book, which helps you improve your relationship with food, tackle weight loss, and debunk fad diets to find a simple and easy way to lose weight and create habits that will keep the pounds from coming back. This book will help you build skills that enable you to live a happier, healthier life without focusing too closely on calories or numbers on a scale.


    Best for fasting

    Complete Guide to Fasting

    Fasting has gained popularity over the last decade and can be a great way to boost your metabolism, clear your mind, and promote weight loss. There are, however, rules you should follow while fasting so that you improve your health rather than endangering it. This book will guide you through intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting to ensure you choose the style that will work best for you and do it correctly.

    Before joining Runner’s World as an Editor in 2019, Gabrielle Hondorp spent 6 years in running retail (she has tested top gear from shoes, to watches, to rain jackets which has expanded her expertise—and her closets); she specializes in health and wellness, and is an expert on running gear from head-to-toe.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

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Whole Grains Health

Eating different kinds of protein protects against hypertension: New study



Despite all this talk that more Australians are toying with vegetarianism, and despite the endless drum-beating about red meat giving you cancer and a dodgy heart, we continue to have one of the world’s highest levels of meat consumption.

Analysis published in December found Australians eat about 95 kilograms of meat per capita every year. The global average is 35 kilograms.

The article, ‘The Evolution of Urban Australian Meat-Eating Practices’, argues our meat-eating habits are driven by a blocky culture, an association with social status, a perception that plant-based diets are inadequate and lame, and ignorance about cooking legumes and tofu.

On the other hand, the authors point to a survey that found almost 20 per cent of those sampled “identified as meat-reducers”.

Furthermore, the authors say, 87 percent “of the meat reducer segment reported consuming a meat-free dish as their main meal at least once a week”.

They point to another survey that found almost 20 per cent described themselves as “flexitarian”, which is cool.

But it may not translate to more lentils, nuts, whole grains, fish and dairy hitting the dinner table as new favorite sources of protein.

A new study found why we need variety

Chinese researchers found that “eating protein from a greater variety of sources is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure”.

Good to know because blood pressure is literally out of control in Australia.

One in three adults – more than six million Australians – has high blood pressure.

Of those afflicted, only 32 per cent have their hypertension under control. That leaves about four million Australians as ticking time bombs.

In December, in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Alta Schutte, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at UNSW Sydney, called for a national taskforce to tackle the issue.

By improving the control of hypertension, the risks of coronary heart disease, dementia and cerebrovascular disease will be substantially reduced.

The Chinese study suggests changing your diet will go some way to solving the problem.

the study

“Nutrition may be an easily accessible and effective measure to fight against hypertension. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three basic macronutrients,” said study author Dr Xianhui Qin, of the National Clinical Research Center for Kidney Disease at Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China.

The study authors analyzed health information for nearly 12,200 adults (average age 41), who had taken part in multiple rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1997 to 2015.

Over three days in the same week, participants shared what they had eaten.

They were given a protein “variety score” based on the different sources of protein they’d eaten: whole grains, refined grains, processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, poultry, fish, egg and legumes.

One point was given for each source of protein, with a maximum variety score of 8. The researchers then evaluated the association for new onset hypertension in relation to the protein variety score.

New-onset hypertension was defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg, the use of blood pressure-lowering medicine, or self-reporting that a physician had diagnosed high blood pressure.

The average follow-up time was six years.

The results

More than 35 per cent of the participants developed new-onset high hypertension during the follow-up.

Compared to participants with the lowest variety score for protein intake (1), those with the highest variety score (4 or higher) had a 66 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

The amount of protein eaten was also a factor. Consumption was divided into five categories, from least to most intake.

The researchers found that “people who ate the least amount of total protein and those who ate most protein had the highest risk for new onset of hypertension”.

The researchers didn’t ask why a variety of proteins was more healthy. But nutritionists, doctors and health writers have banged on about it for years.

Lean red meat is high in quality protein but provides no fiber or healthy fats. Processed meats are high in saturated fats and salt and are the worst.

Fish is high in long-chain fatty acids, which are good for the brain. Lentils and whole grains are high in fibre.

Hand on heart, a bit of each during the week might stop you from carking it in the street. Which is just undignified and unmanly.

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