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Unlocking the Power of Plant Protein: Health Benefits You Need to Know

Published : Jul 08, 2021 9 mins read Updated On : Mar 18, 2024

For gym goers and fitness, enthusiasts protein has been their go-to supplement especially when it comes to muscle recovery. Protein helps to speed up the muscle recovery process and it also helps to build strong muscles. While whey protein supplements are highly used by most fitness enthusiasts, many people including myself have switched to plant-based protein supplements. A major reason driving this switch has been the wide array of health benefits that plant proteins provide.

In addition, increased awareness about the benefits of plant proteins and a change in people’s mindset to enjoy a sustainable lifestyle Have increased the consumption of plant protein. Today, we will look at what exactly plant protein is, what are benefits of plant-based protein are, the different types of plant protein, how is different from animal-sourced protein, how to consume vegan protein supplements, and who should consume plant protein.

What are Plant-based Proteins?

Protein is an essential macronutrient required by each cell in our body. It is made of amino acids, which are known as building blocks of protein. Protein plays an important role in muscle building, toned muscle mass, immunity, repair, recovery, transportation, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. All the vital functions of the body require protein somewhere or other.

Now that we know the importance of protein, there is one alarming fact: According to the Indian Market Research Bureau, protein deficiency in Indians is more than 80%. This is a major course of concern, considering the imbalance between protein requirement and protein intake results in protein deficiency and related problems arising from the same.

Sources of Protein

      • Nuts
      • Chickpeas
      • Quinoa
      • Hempseed
      • Chia Seeds
      • Tofu
      • Dals
      • Vegetables and Fruits

      The sources of protein are multiple, but do we consume enough protein for our needs is the question.

      Simply put, plant protein is a protein that is made from plants and herbs. Plant protein is one of the very recent advancements made in the protein food industry. It is a type of nutrition supplement that synthesizes natural plant-based sources to develop fast-absorbing protein to meet your daily protein intake. This type of protein offers similar or more nutritional benefits as compared to other types of protein as plant-based proteins as it is sourced from plants and herbs.

      A recently concluded study on plant-based protein stated that plant proteins are a better choice to combat chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases due to the presence of naturally low levels of cholesterol and unhealthy fats. These key facts make plant-based protein supplements one of the most reliable and healthiest sources of protein. In addition, plant proteins can easily be included in any type of diet that you follow whether it is a high protein diet, low protein diet, keto diet, vegan-friendly diet, etc. This makes it a very versatile protein choice. It can easily supplement the nutritional requirements of all age groups from children to the elderly.

      Difference between Animal and plant-based Proteins:

      Plant protein in the recent past has gained a lot of popularity from fitness influencers for the benefits that they offer over animal-sourced protein. While animal-sourced protein is a very good source of nutrients, plant-based protein powder offers better health benefits in the long run. Let's compare both of them -

      1. Complete v/s incomplete protein: 

      A complete protein refers to a protein that has all the essential amino acids. Many people have this myth that plant-based proteins are incomplete proteins and only animal-sourced proteins are complete proteins. However, studies have proved that both plant and animal-based proteins offer a complete amino acid profile. While it is true that some sources of plant protein like pea protein contain a lower level of methionine and lysine; combining it with another protein source like brown rice protein, which is rich in methionine and lysine, offers you a complete protein supplement.  

      2. Digestion Ease:

      Plant protein contains nutrients like fiber and plant enzymes that make them easy to digest just like animal protein. However, individuals having certain health conditions like lactose intolerance may suffer from digestion issues while consuming whey or casein protein. Similarly, those with gluten intolerance will find issues with green-based protein sources. To conclude, the added nutrients in plant proteins make them easier to digest and absorb.

      3. Heart Health: 

      Plant proteins are a better option to maintain heart health as they have lower levels of saturated fat content.

      Plant Protein Benefits:

      A healthy and well-balanced diet along with the consumption of plant-based protein can offer the following health benefits -

      1. Fast absorption, fast action: 

      Sources of plant-based protein include nuts, beans, and seeds which undergo a sprouting process to formulate a high-quality fast absorbing protein. The protein and the amino acids work together to make it easier for the gut to digest them and for your body to use them for daily functions. It promotes the production of healthy intestinal flora that aids digestion and helps prevent other stomach complications like bloating and constipation.

      2. Makes you feel full for longer: 

      As plant proteins are made from beans and legumes, they are very densely packed structures. Thus, they offer more protein in less quantity. Consuming such wholesome food items or supplementing your meals with plant protein powder can help you feel full for longer and suppress your cravings to a larger extent. This benefits the weight loss process and boosts the body's metabolic rate. Additionally, being rich in fiber means that plant protein is also helpful in eliminating toxic waste from the body and preventing constipation.

      3. Fulfills Nutritional Requirements: 

      When you compare plant-based protein with other sources of protein you will find that plant proteins have higher levels of essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and dietary fibers as well as other vitamins and minerals. This makes plant-based proteins highly beneficial for those having protein as well as basic nutritional deficiencies.

      4. Supports Muscle Health: 

      The body requires the right amount of protein and amino acids to support the functioning of our muscles. They are especially beneficial for regular gym goers like me to build muscle tissues and reconstruct them. Plant protein’s high digestibility makes it the best choice to boost muscle gains. It also helps to control muscle expansion and contraction. It aids in shaping your body and enhances muscle growth and development. Feeding your body with plant protein supplements post your workout helps in muscle mass maintenance and enhances muscle strength and recovery.

      5. Supports cognitive functions: 

      Since plant protein is synthesized from various natural herbs and whole foods, they not only offer complete protein but also other vital nutrients like B-complex vitamins, phosphorus, manganese, etc. These nutrients play an important role in the cognitive functioning of the body. They support functions such as improving the concentration of oxygen levels in the brain, improving blood circulation in the body, and aiding the easy transmission of body fluids. This results in the removal of bad cholesterol, reduced triglyceride count, and reduction in oxidative stress to help you stay away from various health conditions.

      Types of Plant Protein Supplements:

      Various forms of plant protein are available in the market like soy protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, etc. Let us now look at all of them in more detail -

      1. Soy Protein:  

      Soy proteins are widely popular due to their high bioavailability. Soy itself is a high protein source and a supplement formulated from soy absorbs fast and offers a complete amino acid profile that helps to promote muscle growth and muscle mass maintenance. However, long-term consumption of soy protein has been linked to abnormal changes in the hormonal levels in the body and some studies have also found that regular consumption of soy can increase the risk of cancer. Thus, it is recommended to limit the consumption of soy protein supplements to a minimum.

      2. Pea protein: 

      Protein formulated using protein-rich food like a pea is called pea protein. During the manufacturing of protein fibers and starch is eliminated. However, pea protein in itself is not a complete protein and thus it has to be paired with another high-quality protein source to make it a complete protein.

      3. Rice Protein: 

      This form of protein is synthesized from rice mainly brown rice which is a natural religion in B complex vitamins and fiber. rice protein two is not a complete protein and hence, it has to be blended with other proteins.

      4. Blended Plant Protein: 

      The plant protein blend is generally a mixture of two types of plant-based proteins mainly pea protein and brown rice protein to offer a complete amino acid profile dead helps to enhance muscle growth and development. This type of plant protein is comparatively superior to other forms of plant protein supplements. 

      Who can consume Plant Protein?

      Different individuals consume plant protein for different goals. Some consume plant protein to build muscle strength, some to meet their daily protein requirements, and some to maintain overall health. Following is the list of people who can opt for plant-based protein supplements -

      1. Fitness enthusiasts, Bodybuilders, Athletes, or those leading an active lifestyle.
      2. Those who want to maintain general well-being.
      3. Those who want to build muscle and strength.
      4. Those who want to boost post-workout muscle recovery.
      5. Those who want to meet their daily protein intake.
      6. Those who have a busy, hectic, and stressful lifestyle.
      7. Those who want to build strong immunity.

      How & When to Consume Plant Protein Supplements?

      As per the Indian RDA, an individual’s daily protein requirement is one gram of protein per kg of their body weight. This means that if an individual weighs 65 kg then they should consume 65gms of protein daily. However, it is astonishing to know that half of the Indian population is protein deficient despite following a good diet. Thus, protein supplements come into the picture that helps an individual.

      Plant protein supplements, similar to other forms of protein powder, should be consumed in a way to spreads your protein intake throughout the day in order to meet your recommended daily protein requirement. However, the requirement varies from individual to individual and hence the consumption of a vegan protein supplement may also vary. For individuals consuming plant protein supplements to gain muscle mass and strength, the best time to consume protein supplements is after your workout. Individuals looking to maintain their overall health should consume their plant protein shakes with breakfast or during evening snacks. One can consume 1-2 scoops of a protein supplement depending upon their requirements.

      My Experience with Plant Protein Supplement:

      Fast&Up Plant Protein was the first plant-based protein that I ever tried in my life. It is formulated with a well-researched and premium blend of Pea + Brown Rice Protein that provides me a complete amino acid profile with the added advantage of Vegan Coconut MCTS and Beetroot Extract. I tried the mango flavor and it was amazing. Even my dad loved it!

      This 100% vegan protein supplement provides 31g of pure plant protein in one serving. In addition, it provides 6g BCAA for muscle strength and endurance and 6g naturally occurring Glutamine for a speedy recovery. Being Informed-Sport Certified adds to this protein's credibility. I have observed excellent results in my strength, stamina, and muscle strength after I started consuming this protein. I tried Mango but it is available in other flavors too, like – Chocolate, Strawberry, Coffee, and Vanilla. Do try it out once!

      The Bottom Line:

      Off the three main macronutrients - Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins. Proteins are the most celebrated and talked about in our generation. But at the same time, there are umpteen misconceptions about plant-based protein. Not only are they all baseless, but also untrue, the fact is they provide amazing health benefits. There are various protein supplements available on the market. However one must make an informed decision only after checking nutritional labels and certification.

      Jenil Shah
      Jenil Shah
      Nutrition Supplement Geek

      Jenil completed his graduation in Biotechnology and masters in Nutraceuticals. He has a 3.5+ years of experience in various sectors including nutrition supplements, content writing and nutrition wr... Read More

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