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Healthy Alternatives to Meat Proteins: Benefits of vegetable proteins

Meat products including poultry and seafood provide a quick, easy source of nourishment and protein. However not only is meat difficult to digest, it is also high in fat and cholesterol. Meats are also more likely to get bacterial contamination. In fact 20-25% of all bacterial contamination results from meat consumption.

There are healthy alternatives available that provide all the proteins and other essential nutrients required by the body. Moreover several studies including one that covered over 4,000 people in the US, UK, China and Japan have shown that vegetable proteins in addition to other benefits significantly help to lower blood pressure.

Spirulina - Spirulina is a blue-green algae which provides upto 71% of protein which is far superior to any other animal or vegetable protein source. Moreover the protein from spirulian is composed of 18 amino acids making it a complete protein which provides all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Spirulina is also almost fully digestible which allows it to be almost immediately absorbed by the body. In addition to having the highest protein content, Spirulina also contains large amounts of other nutrients such as B-complex vitamins, phycocyanin, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and various minerals leading it to being called a superfood.

Soy - Soy is also a complete protein providing all the essential amino acids and is easily digestible. It contains saponins, phytosterols, and isoflavones and is considered to be a cholesterol lowering food. There are various soy products such as soybean flour, tofu - soybean curd, soy milk, tempeh - a soybean cake and miso - a soybean paste

Legumes - Beans and split peas are also have high protein content and nutrients. These are heart healthy and help in lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol. They make for a tasty meal as salads or pureed into soups. Flour from certain types of split peas such as Bengal gram is used as batter in a number of recipes in India which has a large vegetarian population.

Seitan - Seitan or wheat gluten has also been called wheat meat due to its similarity to meat in looks and texture. Seitan in its raw form without further commercial processing contains low sodium, with no fat or carbohydrates but has a high 7.5 grams of protein per ounce. A staple among Chinese vegetarian monks and farmers, it is used as a meat substitute in many Chinese recipes.

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