Should we be getting our daily protein from plants instead of meat? There’s a pretty good argument for plant-based protein diets. While a vegan or vegetarian diet may not sound appetizing to some omnivores, eating the right vegetables and grains can get you the entire amount of recommended nutrients.
One of the benefits of eating grains such as quinoa or nutrient-dense veggies is the lack of saturated fat, bad cholesterol, added hormones, added antibiotics, as well as the possibility of bacteria, parasites, and carcinogens that are found in meat. Eating a meatless diet also means that you’ll probably get more antioxidants, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.
This is not to say that meat is bad for you. Chicken breast can be a great source of protein and is also low in fat. Red meat, including liver, is a good source of iron. Plants and legumes also have iron however it’s considered “nonheme” iron (meats have “heme” iron) which is absorbed into our bodies less efficiently than heme iron.
Plant based protein has even made its way into our gyms and health stores. You can now buy plant based protein powders to supplement your workouts and help you build strong, lean muscle. That being said, there’s some debate as to the safety of the chemicals used to extract the protein from the plants.
Studies have shown that a high plant-based protein diet could lead to a longer, healthier life. Some meats such as red meat can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol if eaten on a regular basis. Dietitians may not recommend you fully stop eating meat however it may be beneficial to add more grains and vegetables to your diet.