Diet & Nutrition 5 MIN READ 102 VIEWS November 30, 2021

Plant Protein Benefits For Digestion You Must Know

Written By Garima Bahal
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Plant Protein Benefits
What are Proteins
Plant Protein vs. Animal Protein
Plant Protein Benefits
Digestible Plant Protein Sources
Vegan Protein Powder
Conclusion

If you are trying to build a health and wellness routine for yourself, you need to know about plant protein benefits for digestion. The debate on what is better, plant proteins or animal proteins, has been raging on for ages and will continue to do so. But people’s preferences are growing towards plant proteins.

Vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity in current times. That’s because clear evidence is available to support this trend. Always remember that a healthy diet will contain various plant protein benefits

Let us first understand what we mean by proteins, the differences between plant proteins and animal proteins, and the various aspects of plant protein digestion. 

What are Proteins?

Like fats and carbohydrates, proteins are important macronutrients. Proteins are considered the building blocks of the body, which play a big role in various functions of the body. Some of the essential ones are:

  1. Growth
  2. Repairing tissues
  3. Provide structure to cells and tissues
  4. Act as messenger to carry out biological processes
  5. Boost immune function
  6. Providing energy to the body

When proteins break down, amino acids are formed and amino acids are used by the body  to form proteins to perform various functions. This is a continuous process.  

A normal body has a self-regulatory mechanism to control the twin processes of breakdown and resynthesis of proteins. One supports the other to ensure that the body functions optimally. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that an adult should take 0.8 grams of protein daily for every kilogram of body weight.   

Amino acids are of three types, viz., 

  • Essential or complete amino acids: Essential amino acids come from food, as the body does not make them. In total, there are nine essential amino acids.
  • Non-essential or incomplete amino acids: The body can make non-essential amino acids when they don’t come from the food we eat. They are 11 in number. 
  • Conditional amino acids: Conditional amino acids are needed only during stress and illness. 

The body needs over 20 amino acids daily – 9 essential and 11 non-essential. As per medical research, however, what matters to our health is the source of proteins, not the number of proteins. That’s because when we eat, we take a lot of other things, apart from proteins. These include carbohydrates, fats, fibres, vitamins, minerals, etc. Let us now discuss the differences between plant proteins and animal proteins from this perspective. 

Plant Proteins vs. Animal Proteins

As the name suggests, plant protein or the easy to digest vegan protein comes from plants while animal proteins are the ones you get from animals.

Animal proteins are complete proteins; which means that they have all the nine essential proteins that the body needs. Plant proteins, on the other hand, are often incomplete. But this does not mean that you cannot get all the essential proteins if you depend mainly on plant food, provided you eat a wide variety of plant foods. You can also choose to include an easy to digest vegan protein powder to your diet.  

Plant Protein Benefits

Given below are some of the benefits of plant protein that you should consider if you are planning to add this protein type to your diet.

1. Lower Risks of Heart Disease

Healthy plant-based diets carry fewer risks of heart disease, strokes, and early death. People who take these diets have longer life spans than those who eat red meat and processed meat regularly. The reason is that these diets have lower amounts of saturated fats, iron, and hormones. 

2. Lower Risk of Cancer

It is said that people who take a vegan or vegetarian diet are less likely to die of cancer, as plants contain phytochemicals that prevent cancer.

3. Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The chances of Type 2 diabetes is less in those people who take plant proteins or easy to digest vegan protein powder.

4. Maintains Gut Health 

A diet rich in plant foods has a high fibre content. The fibres feed the healthy bacteria in the gut, so they help in maintaining digestive health. While vegan proteins are easy to digest, one can look at some of the best vegan protein powder for sensitive stomach as well if digestive issues are a consideration.

5. Keeps Weight under Control

The high amount of fibres in a vegan or a vegetarian diet makes you feel full for a longer time. So, you don’t get frequent hunger pangs and your weight remains under control. 

Easy to Digest Vegan Protein Sources

Here are some vegan protein sources you must consider if you are looking for alternatives:

  • Legumes: Beans, peas, chickpeas, soy, for example. Legumes are versatile and have a huge variety of colours and tastes. You would love to cook them in the form of stews and gravies.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, chia, pistachio, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds are some examples. Nuts and seeds can be added to various soups and smoothies to increase their protein content.
  • Whole grains: Wheat, buckwheat, bajra, millet, oats, quinoa are a few examples.
  • Vegan protein powder: If you are finding it hard to meet your protein requirements through food alone, there is an easier way out. You can use an easy to digest vegan protein powder. Because of our busy modern lives and food insecurity, it may not always be possible for us to fulfil our protein requirements. In such cases, it is best to take protein supplements. 

We are emphasizing taking easy to digest vegan protein because of the high fibre content. Fibres act as a laxative and people with sensitive stomachs need to be extra careful.

The question now is how do we choose the best vegan protein powder? Which one is the best vegan protein powder for sensitive stomach in particular? Let us discuss this now.

Best Vegan Protein Powder

Every individual is different, so there is no protein powder that works the best for all. While trying to choose the best vegan protein powder for yourself, you should look at the following aspects:

  1. Body’s protein requirements: You should consult your doctor before taking vegan protein powders. Excess of proteins may have an adverse impact.
  2. Food allergies: If you are allergic to peanuts, for example, you should avoid those protein powders that contain them. 
  3. Additives: The protein powder should be free of additives, fillers, and preservatives. Check the labels before purchase.  

Let us summarise now what we discussed above.

  1. Plant protein benefits are more than animal protein benefits.
  2. Vegan and vegetarian diets are better for the environment.
  3. While shifting to vegan and vegetarian diets, you should choose the ones that are rich in proteins and easy to digest.
  4. In case you need to supplement your protein intake, choose an easy to digest vegan protein powder. It should be free of additives, fillers, and preservatives. 
  5. If you have a sensitive stomach, choose an easy to digest vegan protein powder for sensitive stomach. It should be free of substances that you are allergic to.

Conclusion

Plant proteins have benefits for our environment too. They require less land, consume less freshwater, and their greenhouse emission levels are also less. 

Well, isn’t that amazing? So many benefits in plant proteins compared to animal proteins; a good reason to scale down on the consumption of animal proteins. Here are some examples of sources. So, if you want to switch over to an easy to digest vegan protein, do not think twice. It will make a big difference in your life.

We hope you found this article interesting and helpful in developing healthy food habits. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Read these next