Healthytarian Minutes with holistic teacher Evita Ochel. This episode shares about protein, its quality, and how much protein different plant foods have.unsaturated fats.
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When food is whole, unrefined and unprocessed, it provides us with all the nutrients we need, like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, assuming that we eat enough for our needs, of the right foods. For the human body to thrive, this means eating a diet based on, or solely composed of, whole plant foods.
Unfortunately, many myths and misguided ideas over the years have led us to form faulty beliefs about the nutrition potential of plant foods. This is most strongly seen in our perceptions about protein and plant foods, with common fears revolving around plants not having enough protein or the right quality of protein.
However, nothing could be further from the truth, as all whole plant foods contain the right quantity and quality of protein for us to thrive. There is no counting needed, no supplementation needed, and no special combining needed. In addition, protein from plant foods is less acid-forming, than that from animal foods, does not come with a high unhealthy fat composition, but instead comes with a high healthy fiber composition, and does not trigger our immune and inflammatory responses, the way animal protein does.
To meet and exceed our human needs for protein, we only need around 10% of our daily calories to come from protein, and more is not better, as high protein diets increase our risk of numerous health conditions.
Here are the general ranges of protein compositions, as a percent of calories, in plant and fungi foods:
- Fruits: 3 - 13% protein
- Vegetables: 15 - 55% protein
- Legumes: 20 - 45% protein
- Grains: 10 - 15% protein
- Nuts / Seeds: 10 - 15% protein
- Mushrooms: 25 - 55% protein
As you can see, there is more than enough protein in plant foods, which supply us with all the essential and non-essential amino acids. However, to have a healthy relationship with our food, we must stop seeing it and thinking of it in terms of isolated nutrients and numbers, and embrace the perfection of whole food, as intelligently created by nature for us. When you eat enough of the right foods, you get the right nutrients.
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Further Reading & Resources
- The No-B.S. Guide to Vegan Protein by Forks Over Knives