Plant-Strong Nutrition: Protein

In Nutritionist Notebook by Sharan Malhi

You probably know that in the United States, one in three kids born after the year 2000 is either obese or overweight. With the obesity rate so high, more and more families are seeking new ways to adapt healthier life style and food choices. Studies have shown that cutting or reducing animal fat and protein and replacing it with plant-based foods is an important factor in adapting a healthy life style. Studies show that a diet high in red meat, eggs and dairy products can increase the risk of different cancers.

Although many doctors might recommend animal products including red meat, poultry, dairy and eggs for protein sources, many recent research and studies have shown that animal products can be harmful to your health Find out how there are there are up to 20 chemicals, hormones and antibiotics in milk and Monsanto’s glyphosate is toxic to dairy cows.

In addition, the recent studies have shown that meat, poultry, farmed fish and dairy can be filled with high levels of hormones, antibiotics, drugs, chemicals and pesticides harmful to human’s health.

As a matter of fact Bovine growth hormones in meat and poultry have been linked to breast cancer and early puberty and a glass of milk can have up to 20 chemicals, drugs and antibiotics.

So, if you are deciding to cut down your animal intake, it’s important to have protein in your regular diet since protein in the body break into essential amino acids essential in promoting overall health and longevity. Eating balanced daily meals can also help with weight loss and boost energy.

Here are the lists of the top plant based food sources high in protein:

1. Dark green leafy vegetables including kale, spirulina and chlorella:

According to an article by Organic Authority on why kale is the new beef, the author states how inflammation (as number one cause of heart disease, autoimmune disorder diseases such as cancer and cardio disease) is triggered by animal food products. However, kale is known to be a great anti-inflammatory vegetable that has many benefits without having the problems of meat. Kale is a great source of iron, calcium, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoid and flavanoid antioxidants including vitamins A and C.

In addition, both Spirulina and chlorella are also great superfoods high in iron and chlorophyl and they contain 12 times protein of meat. Spirulina and chlorella are great cleansing foods that can detox the body against accumulation of free radicals, toxins and heavy metals including lead, mercury and arsenic.

2. Hemp seeds:

Hemp seeds are one of the best sources of high-quality protein that’s easily digestible in the body without having enzyme inhibitors that other soy-based foods have. Hemp seeds are also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, essential amino acids and fiber. You can add hemp seeds in your daily green smoothies with other great superfoods like Spirulina and chlorella.

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3. Sun dried tomatoes:

A study published in the Cancer Research shows the two vegetables known as tomato and broccoli have amazing properties in fighting cancer cells. “When tomatoes and broccoli are eaten together, we see an additive effect. We think it’s because different bioactive compounds in each food work on different anti-cancer pathways,” said John Erdman, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070115215454.htm

The study findings shows that broccoli by itself can reduce tumor risk by 42% while tomatoes alone can lower the risk of cancer by 34%. “Older men with slow-growing prostate cancer who have chosen watchful waiting over chemotherapy and radiation should seriously consider altering their diets to include more tomatoes and broccoli,” said Canene-Adams, one of the authors of the study. He also mentioned how cooked tomatoes may be better than raw tomatoes. “Chopping and heating make the cancer-fighting constituents of tomatoes and broccoli more bioavailable” Canene-Adams said.

In fact, both broccoli and tomatoes are the only two vegetables that can preserve most of their nutrients under mild heat. In fact, some of the hidden nutrients of both broccoli and tomatoes can become only available via mid heating, stemming or chopping. In addition sun dried tomatoes are also an exceptional source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin K, potassium and protein.

3. Beans and legumes:

Boil or cooked beans and legumes including brown rice, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas and white, lima, black, pinto and kidney beans are great source of protein, essential amino acids, fiber, calcium and iron. Keep in mid a recent report by Organic Consumers show that brown rice can be filled with heavy metals like arsenic, so it might be better to replace rice with organic quinoa. Worrisome levels of arsenic found in more than 60 different rice and rice products including infant cereals

4. Cashew Nut and Seeds including flaxseed, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds:

Among all nuts, cashews are a great source of protein, fiber and essential nutrients such as vitamin B6, K and minerals such as iron, biotin, copper and magnesium. In fact, the fat in cashew nuts is lower than the other nuts. Monounsaturated fatty acids in cashew nuts can reduce the risk of heart problems. The magnesium in cashew nuts can help with calcium absorption and improve healthy bones. Cashew nuts also energize the body and fight with free radicals. Other seeds like sesame, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and lignans.

As a matter of fact, studies show that omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseed known as ALA can reduce the growth of cancer cells. The lignans in flaxseed have been known to reduce the chances of breast cancer by reducing the growth of cancer cells and blocking enzymes involved in hormone metabolism.

The studies also show that omega 3 fatty acids and amino acids in flaxseed significantly lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol level, promote cardiovascular health and lower the chances of heart failure. Several studies also suggest that the rich source of omega 3 in flaxseed prevents the plaque buildup in the arteries and can reduce the risk of cardio diseases. http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-foods/flaxseed/

5. Spinach and Green peas:

Half of cup of green peas can have 5% protein, 14% carbohydrates and 77 calories and half of cup of spinach can have 4% protein, 5% carbohydrates and 34 calories. Keep in mind that spinach is one of those vegetables that too much of it might not be good for you. Spinach is high in iron and too much iron can fight calcium absorption and absorption of vitamin D.

Sources:

http://www.tomatowellness.com/health/tomato-are-healthy

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20718479,00.html

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