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Cut Cravings with Plant-Based Protein

What role does protein play in the body?

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other essential body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, hair and nails.

While there is much controversy over exactly how much protein you need, it is true that protein cannot be stored in the body so the most important factor is consuming a regular intake of high-quality protein.

Another added bonus to protein is that it balances your blood glucose and creates a slower release of energy to reduce sugar cravings, leaving you feeling satisfied with your meal.

Protein comes in many forms, here are our favourite plant-based protein sources which are easily digestible and actively bioavailable in the body.

Plant-based protein sources:

Tofu/Tempeh/Edamame Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs. They also contain iron, calcium and 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Edamame is also rich in folate, vitamin K and fibre. Tempeh contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus.

Chickpeas and Most Varieties of Beans Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fibre, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds that can decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and even reduce fat.

Nutritional Yeast Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, sold commercially as a yellow powder or flakes known for its nutty/cheesy aroma. This complete source of plant protein provides the body with 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre per ounce. Fortified nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese and all the B vitamins, including B12

Ancient Grains Ancient grains include spelt, teff, einkorn, barley, sorghum and farro and provide roughly 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml) and are excellent sources of various nutrients, including complex carbs, fibre, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. They also contain good amounts of B vitamins, zinc and selenium.

Hempseeds Hempseed comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and contains 10 grams of complete, easily digestible protein per ounce (28 grams). That's 50% more than chia seeds and flaxseeds. They also contain a good amount of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium. What's more, it's a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Green Peas Green peas contain 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml) and offer more than 25% of your daily fibre, vitamin A, C, K, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements. They are also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and several other B vitamins.

Spirulina Two tablespoons (30 ml) provide you with 8 grams of complete protein, in addition to covering 22% of your daily requirements of iron and thiamin and 42% of your daily copper needs. Spirulina also contains decent amounts of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium and small amounts of most of the other nutrients. Byron Bay Detox Retreats offers a unique blend of spirulina and other superfoods in our very own range of naturopathically formulated Byron Bay Detox Greens. 

Amaranth and Quinoa Although often referred to as ancient or gluten-free grains, amaranth and quinoa don't grow from grasses as other cereal grains do. Amaranth and quinoa provide 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml) and are complete sources of protein and offer fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.

Sprouted Grain Bread Ezekiel bread is made from organic, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These include wheat, millet, barley and spelt, as well as soybeans and lentils. Two slices of Ezekiel bread contain approximately 8 grams of protein.

Oats and Oatmeal Half a cup (120 ml) of dry oats provides you with approximately 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fibre. This portion also contains good amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and folate.

Chia Seeds At 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fibre per 35 grams, chia seeds are a favourite on our shopping list. They also contain a good amount of iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various other beneficial plant compounds.

Organic Nuts, Nut Butters and Other Seeds Nuts, seeds and their derived products are great sources of protein, fibre and healthy fats, in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E and certain B vitamins. They also contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds.

Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts. Fresh fruits generally have a lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most include guava, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines and bananas. Source: adapted from Healthline

Bottom Line: Protein is a necessary component for a healthy, balanced diet in order to build essential cells, repair and rejuvenate, and stabilise your energy so that you can get the most out of your day. By thinking ahead and planning your meals, you can ensure you are getting adequate amounts of protein in your diet to keep you energised and satisfied throughout your day.


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