Skip links

The Power of Plant-Based Proteins

Power Up with Plant Proteins: A Balanced Path to Healthier Eating

Vegetable Salad

When you think of high-protein foods, chicken, beef, or eggs may come to mind. It’s true – these animal-based proteins are high in protein and can be good nutritional sources. 

But, did you know that many plant-based foods – from garden veggies to dried legumes – also make great sources of protein? And, they offer tons of other nutritional benefits, too. 

Let’s take a closer look at why plant-based proteins deserve to be a bigger portion of your plate.

What are Plant-Based Proteins?

Plant-based proteins come from a variety of plant sources, offering a nutrient-rich alternative to traditional animal-based proteins. These sources include legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Here are some of the best plant-based protein sources:

Legumes:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Peas
  • Kidney beans

Grains:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Oats

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Soy Products:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Soy milk

Vegetables:

  • Mushrooms
  • Green peas
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale and collard greens

Whole Grains:

  • Farro
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives:

  • Seitan
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Plant-based burgers

Dairy Alternatives:

  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Oat milk

Plant-Based Protein Powders:

  • Pea protein
  • Rice protein
  • Hemp protein

Legume-based Products:

  • Chickpea pasta
  • Lentil flour
  • Black bean burgers

At Moringa Natural Health, we offer personalized wellness plans to guide you achieve your health goals, from weight loss to hormonal balance and starting fresh in the New Year. We are here to help! Schedule your free appointment with Dr. Fernandez today!


The Art of Plant-Based Pairing: How to Create Complete Proteins

While plant-based proteins offer a ton of health benefits and nutrients, there’s a crucial aspect that distinguishes them from their animal-derived counterparts: the need for strategic food combining to form complete proteins. 

Why does this matter? Proteins are made of building blocks called amino acids. While there are many different kinds of amino acids the body needs 9 key “essential” amino acids that cannot be produced by the body – they must be obtained through diet. We need the right balance of all essential amino acids for the body to carry out its various functions, from building muscle to managing the immune system to producing hormones

Unlike many animal proteins that inherently contain all these essential amino acids, some plant-based sources may lack one or more of them. But by combining plant proteins, we can create a complete amino acid profile.

How to Combine Plant-Based Proteins

The secret to crafting a complete plant-based protein profile lies in the art of combining complementary ingredients. By strategically pairing different plant-based foods, you’ll give your body all the essential amino acids it needs. Here are some examples of complementary protein pairings:

  1. Legumes and Grains
    Combining beans, lentils, or peas with grains like quinoa, rice, or whole wheat creates a complete protein profile.
  2. Legumes and Seeds
    Pairing legumes with seeds creates a full amino acid profile. A great example of this is hummus, which combines legumes (chickpeas) with tahini (sesame seeds).
  3. Grains and Nuts
    Try integrating whole grains with nuts (such as topping your oatmeal with almonds or your grain bowl with mixed nuts).
  4. Soy and Legumes
    Soy products like tofu or tempeh are exceptional sources of complete proteins on their own. However, combining them with a variety of legumes or grains enhances their nutritional value even further.

At Moringa Natural Health, we offer personalized wellness plans to guide you achieve your health goals, from weight loss to hormonal balance and starting fresh in the New Year. We are here to help! Schedule your free appointment with Dr. Fernandez today!


5 Benefits of Plant-Based Protein

While brain fog during the menopause transition can be frustrating, there are natural therapies and healthy habits that can help you regain your mental clarity and focus.

  1. Reduced Inflammation
    Plant-based proteins are anti-inflammatory, due to the high antioxidant content in most plants. Since chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and certain cancers, choosing plants as your main protein source can help you fight inflammation and improve your overall health.
  2. Hormone Balance
    Did you know your diet is one of the key players in your hormone balance? Phytochemicals and antioxidants found in plant foods regulate hormonal activity, from production to release to detoxification. Maintaining this balance through a healthy plant-based diet can be a powerful way to improve menstrual health, thyroid health, and metabolic conditions.
  3. Enhanced Heart Health
    Opting for plant-based proteins often means choosing options low in saturated fats and cholesterol. This is good news for your heart! Plant-based diets often improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of coronary artery disease, and promoting overall heart health.
  4. Weight Management
    Are you struggling to lose weight? The combination of fiber and protein in plant-based foods can be a game-changer when it comes to healthy weight management. Plant-based proteins tend to leave you feeling fuller longer, prevent overeating, and encourage weight loss.
  5. Enhanced Digestive Wellness
    Plant-based proteins are naturally rich in fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. This dietary fiber keeps your bowel movements regular, prevents bloating and constipation, and encourages a diverse and beneficial gut microbiome.

How to Incorporate More Plant-Based Proteins into Your Diet

Whether you’re following a vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diet, incorporating these plant-based proteins into your meals can contribute to overall health and well-being. But, making the switch isn’t always as easy at first. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Swap ground meat for lentils or legumes.
    Instead of using ground beef or turkey in recipes like tacos, spaghetti, or casseroles, opt for cooked lentils, black beans, or chickpeas. These legumes not only provide protein but also introduce a rich texture and earthy flavor to your dishes.
  • Try tofu or tempeh in stir-fries and curries.
    Tofu and tempeh are versatile plant-based proteins that absorb the flavors of the dishes they’re cooked in. Slice or cube them and add to stir-fries, curries, or noodle dishes for a protein-packed alternative to meat.
  • Choose quinoa instead of white rice.
    Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. Use quinoa as a base for bowls or salads or as a side dish instead of white rice. It provides a nutty flavor and a protein boost to your meals.
  • Opt for chickpea or lentil pasta.
    Swap traditional wheat pasta with chickpea or lentil pasta for a higher protein content. These alternatives not only increase the protein intake but also make a great gluten-free option.
  • Snack on nut and seed butter.
    Peanut butter, almond butter, pumpkin seed butter, and others are excellent sources of protein. Spread them on whole-grain toast for a complete protein, use them as a dip for fruits or veggies, or incorporate them into sauces and dressings for a protein boost.
  • Include nuts and seeds in salads.
    Sprinkle chopped nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, and seeds, like sunflower or pumpkin seeds, over salads. These additions not only add a satisfying crunch but also contribute valuable protein and healthy fats to your meal.
  • Make your own plant-based burgers or patties.
    You don’t have to splurge on plant-based burgers at the store – making them yourself is easy and affordable with ingredients like black beans, quinoa, or chickpeas. These can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried for a tasty and protein-rich alternative to traditional burgers.

At Moringa Natural Health, we offer personalized wellness plans to guide you achieve your health goals, from weight loss to hormonal balance and starting fresh in the New Year. We are here to help! Schedule your free appointment with Dr. Fernandez today!


Eat More Plants, Enjoy Better Health

Plant-based proteins offer a huge variety of essential nutrients, without the baggage of saturated fats and cholesterol often found in meat and dairy. Eating more of these proteins can also support healthy weight management, hormone balance, heart health, and more. 

While many people have made the choice to eat an entirely plant-based diet, eating more plant proteins doesn’t mean you have to give up eating meat, eggs, or dairy. A mix of plant and animal proteins helps shift your diet in a healthier direction. 

Need help finding a diet or nutritional program that works for your unique body and lifestyle? At Moringa Natural Health Center, we guide you through effective wellness plans to reach your health goals. Whether you want to lose weight, reduce hormonal symptoms, or get a fresh start in the New Year, our team is here to help! 

Request an appointment or call our office at 623-266-0059 to get started today!

Much love, 

Dr. Lena Fernandez

Leave a comment