Has your doctor or nutritionist told you yet to increase your dietary protein intake? India as a country has more vegetarians than most other countries. Further, even non-vegetarians in our country consume dairy, meat, and its products rarely or in smaller amounts than their western counter parts. How does then one increase protein intake? The most obvious solution is to start supplementation. Most supplements are derived from milk protein (whey or casein); however, what about those who do not consume dairy and its products or are highly lactose intolerant or are vegan by choice? It becomes even more critical for these individuals to meet their protein requirements in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Why Plant Protein?

Plant protein is very useful to the following groups of people:

a)  Plant protein is a preferred option for those who are lactose intolerant.

b)  Depending on the ingredients used, plant protein can also be gluten free.

c) Plant protein is a must for those who are vegan because their protein requirements are not fulfilled through diet alone 

How to choose the right Plant Protein for optimum health?

It is important to understand that most plant proteins do not have all the essential amino acids, making them incomplete proteins. These proteins can be made into complete proteins by combining them. For example, most pulses contain good amounts of cysteine but insufficient quantities of methionine; rice protein on the other hand contains methionine but is limited in cysteine. Therefore having rajma rice or dal rice is actually a good way to include complete vegetarian protein in your diet as direct food or indirectly as a supplement.

Some of the different plant protein range available are as follows:

1. Soya Protein Isolate

Soya protein is one of the few plant sources of protein that are complete (contains all the essential amino acids). Soya is high in protein and is a good non-dairy protein replacement for vegans. It has also been associated with many health benefits such as cardio protective effect by lowering cholesterol. Soya contains phytoestrogens that are known to mimic estrogen and hence many males refrain to take them. However, contrary to popular belief, research suggests that soya does not cause any hormonal misbalances in males. In fact, it is believed that soya protein helps both weight loss and lean muscle gain even in males. With 90% protein content, soya protein isolate is a good match to whey protein isolate.  

2. Brown Rice Protein Isolate

Another effective way of supplementation is the use of brown rice protein. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, it is also high in protein. Brown rice protein is your best bet if you have allergies. It is usually safely tolerated by most individual who have allergic reactions to most food items. Inspite of all the benefits of brown rice protein, it is not a complete protein (it does not contain all the nine essential amino acids). It is best paired with any legume protein to make it a source of complete protein as the amino acids that are limited in one are present in the other. Thus, they complement each other.

3. Pea Protein Isolate

This is also a source of gluten free protein. It is lighter to digest due to its composition. Pea protein has a low glycemic index, which means that it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. It does not contain cholesterol or saturated fat which makes it a healthy protein choice. Further, the combination of rice and pea protein makes it a complete protein.

As more and more people are choosing to be vegan, BodyFirst® Plant Protein makes for a good product to meet their nutritional and protein requirements.