We are all trying to keep healthy, fit & eat enough protein to stay strong.
Protein is necessary for our body’s processes such as immune function, cell structure & muscle growth, plus more. So it’s important to take in enough protein on a daily basis
You can get protein from many food sources, including plants and animals.
Some people say that the source of the protein, if animal or plant, doesn’t matter. Others argue that one type of protein is superior to the other. Also foods vs powder is happily argued by many!
Animal protein sources
- fish and seafood
- meat, poultry & game
- dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
Plant protein sources
- beans & legumes
- nuts, chia/hemp seed
- soybean products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame
- wheat & buckwheat
- quinoa & wild rice
Animal proteins also supply other important nutrients, including vitamin B12 and Iron. Keep in mind that some animal proteins are less nutritious than others. For example, ultra-processed animal products such as hot dogs and chicken nuggets are high in unhealthy fats and sodium and aren’t ideal for overall health.
Instead, choose nutritious sources of animal-based protein like whole eggs, salmon, chicken, turkey, and shellfish.
Quinoa, buckwheat, soybeans, chia & hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, meaning they are complete protein sources. While other plant protein sources, such as beans, nuts, legumes, wheat, and wild rice, are too low in or missing one or more essential amino acids.
However, because plant foods contain varying amounts of different amino acids, getting all the essential amino acids on an exclusively plant-based diet is still manageable — it may just take a little more effort.
FOR THE GOOD – A diet high in plant protein has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Certain animal protein sources are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, improved cholesterol levels, and increased muscle mass. FOR THE BAD – While research is mixed, both unprocessed and processed red meat have been associated with an increased risk of disease.
Both animal and plant proteins offer good qualities of course but each type also has some drawbacks. It will ultimately come down to your dietary requirements & beliefs.
Rather than focusing on consuming one or the other, it may be better to focus on eating a varied diet rich in both nutrient-dense plant proteins and lean animal proteins.