Level up your protein game

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I just can’t rave enough about plant-based proteins—they come with amazing health perks and have something that animal protein doesn’t have: fiber. In fact, a 3⁄4 cup serving of legumes has about 10 grams of fiber—that’s nearly 30% of your daily fiber goal! Plus, there are so many plant-based protein options, including beans, legumes, quinoa, peas, tofu, and more, it’s easy to incorporate them into your meals. 

So, what makes plant-based proteins so great? 

Eating plant-based proteins may lower your risk for cancer

Dozens of studies link plant-based proteins with lower cancer risk. Here are a few:

  • In 2022, an Oxford study of 470,000 participants found that being a low-meat eater, a fish-eater, or vegetarian was associated with a lower risk of all cancers compared to people who regularly ate meat. 
  • Loma Linda’s research found among 69,000 individuals, those following a vegan diet had about a 33% lower rate of breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers. 
  • A Harvard study including over 88,000 women found that those who substituted just one serving of legumes for one serving of meat per day had a 15% lower risk of breast cancer. And they had a 24% lower risk of developing breast cancer if they ate beans at least twice a week than those who ate them less than once a month.

Plant proteins may assist with weight loss

Plant proteins may keep you full and more satisfied than meat. That means you may eat less at the next meal! In fact, a study published in Food and Nutrition Research found participants felt the most satisfied and full after eating plant-based meals vs. participants who ate animal protein meals—regardless of whether the plant-based meals were high or low in protein content.

Plant proteins boost gut health

Your gut microbiome is primarily fed with prebiotic fibers only found in plants. So, if you’re not eating prebiotics, you’re starving your gut microbiome. But feeding your microbiome is more than just eating vegetables and fruits—you have to eat specific plant-based proteins. That’s because key prebiotics are uniquely found in certain plant-based protein sources, such as legumes or quinoa.

Plant proteins may help reduce inflammation

Plant-based proteins contain many anti-inflammatory compounds that aren’t in animal protein sources. Numerous studies support this—one analysis of 2,000 people in the Framingham Heart Study found swapping animal protein with 10 grams of plant protein per day was associated with a beneficial decrease in inflammation.

But Rachel, some plant-based proteins make me gassy!

Unfortunately, eating beans and legumes can cause people to pass extra wind. But there are ways to help alleviate that problem:

  • Gradually add beans to your diet. Start with smaller serving sizes, then work your way up so your body gets used to digesting them.
  • Your bloating will reduce and go away with consistent legume intake – usually after a few weeks.
  • During or after meals, sip hot water infused with fennel, peppermint, or chamomile.
  • Take a supplement called alpha-galactosidase with the first bite of your bean-containing meal. It’s the enzyme that helps break down the gassy parts. Keep in mind, I don’t recommend taking just any digestive enzyme—look for alpha-galactosidase at a dose of about 300 units.

Are you suggesting I give up animal protein?

It’s not a must – simply adding plant-based proteins to your rotation is a great start and will yield positive health benefits. 

Want to learn more about leveling up your nutrition? 

Join me for my Transformational Masterclass and get an easy action plan to help reduce cancer risk, manage weight, and enhance immunity.

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