Eating vegetarian/vegan is often seen as something trendy among the Instagram community. However, in terms of nutritional value, it goes way beyond the trend. Plant-based protein are legumes, pulses, tofu, edamame, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), etc. You can also find a bit of protein in whole grains and nuts and seeds. Here are 5 reasons to open up your eyes to vegetarian options.
1.The type of fat
It is well known that the type of fat that is more present in animal sources is less favorable to a healthy diet. Indeed, saturated and trans fats are type of fats that we should eat less often in comparison to unsaturated fats. The latter have been proven to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health while saturated fats increase bad cholesterol particles, the LDL cholesterol, that are risk factors for heart diseases when in a high amount in blood. Plant-based protein are more rich sources of unsaturated fats than meat and contain less saturated fats and no trans fats when they are not processed.
Fiber is a component of the diet that is often forgotten, but there should be more room for this one. It helps to keep a healthy gastro-intestinal tract by preventing constipation and enriching the bacterial population of the gut by fermenting. They also slow digestion, so this is why we feel satiety more rapidly and for a longer period of time after eating a meal with more fibers (ex.: whole wheat bread instead of white bread). Including more fiber in the diet is thus a good idea for healthy weight management. It is important though to think about drinking water and increasing your fiber consumption slowly to prevent bloating and other gut disturbances. Plant-based proteins are a good source of fiber.
You might have noticed that climatic changes are happening, but it might not be too late to help our planet. In 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a paper that stated that 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture and the main cause of these emissions are from the manure and methane that ruminant produces. When you think about it, you need to feed the animals with food and water to then feed humans. But with plants, they only need water and in a less significant amount than animals need. So, by choosing plant based proteins, you’re helping the environment too!
4. Cost and variety
Right now extra-lean ground beef, on sale, costs $4.99/lb, while green lentils, in a bag, cost $1.36/lb. This puts in perspective for us some money that can easily be saved by opting for other options as protein sources. For those of you looking to reduce the cost of your diet, this is a great solution. This is also a way to include more variety into your diet and a great source of fiber and carbohydrates.
The goal of this article is not to prompt everyone to turn vegetarian! We promote all sorts of diets, as long as it is conducive to your ultimate goals. Instead, we want to open your mind to something you were maybe not aware of, and to bring a new perspective on how we can feed our bodies. Maybe you’re eady to give a Meat Free Mondays a try!
1. O’Sullivan, T. A., Hafekost, K., Mitrou, F. & Lawrence, D. Food sources of saturated fat and the association with mortality: a meta-analysis. Am J Public Health 103, e31-42 (2013).
2. Kingston-Smith, A., Edwards, J., Huws, S., Kim, E., & Abberton, M. (2010). Plant-based strategies towards minimising ‘li.
3. La santé par les fibres - Manger sainement - Au quotidien - Extenso. Available at: http://www.extenso.org/article/la-sante-par-les-fibres/. (Accessed: 28th December 2018)
4. Juneau, D. M., M.D., prévention, Frcpc. et D. de la, clinique, I. de C. de M. P. titulaire de & Montréal, F. de médecine de l’Université de. Manger moins de viande pour préserver la planète. Observatoire de la prévention (2017).
5. Hooper, L. et al. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev CD002137 (2011). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002137.pub2
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