Long gone are the days of eating three chicken breasts every two hours for 'massive gains'. We now know that gaining muscle isn't about eating enough meat, it's about nourishing your body with the protein it needs to repair muscle post-exercise. Whether you want to build meat-free muscle or simply stay fit with a plant-based diet, nutrition is vital to achieving your workout goals. Food really is fuel and your body needs a whole host of nutrients just to function, let alone performing vigorous exercise. Stephanie Masterman, nutritionist at plant-based protein brand FIT DELIS (www.fitdelis.com) is here to talk about the holy grail of performance nutrients; protein and how you can plant power your workout to maximise your performance.
There’s a whole spectrum of foods containing plant-based proteins. Eating a variety of these will not only help to meet protein requirements but also provide you with heaps of other health-boosting nutrients. The key to getting enough protein with a plant-based diet is to ensure you’re eating more than just your greens. My favourites are:
5. Lentils – Lentils are high in protein, low in calories, packed full of health-promoting polyphenols and are a high fibre member of the legume family. The disc-shaped pulses make a nutritious base for soups, salads, and a variety of other dishes and may even reduce the risk of heart disease. So, fill up on these super healthy grains and reap the benefits.
4. Peas – The little green peas often served as a side, contain more than 25% of your daily fibre, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements. Green peas are also a great source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and several other B vitamins. Include them within a favourite vegan casserole, pasta bake, or quiche. Another great, quick and easy way to get your pea intake, is by trying one of FIT DELIS delicious, plant powered, superfood shakes from their Daily and Power ranges. FIT DELIS combine expertly selected, organically sourced, premium, plant-based superfood and protein ingredients, delivering an incredible performance and taste profile, as well as providing you with all your essential nutrients- in one delicious scoop.
3. Hempseed - Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. They are from the same species as cannabis (marijuana) but a different variety. Hemp is a natural appetite suppressant and can help you feel full longer and reduce sugar cravings. One of the benefits of high-fiber foods like hemp seeds is the ability to help relieve constipation.Additionally, this healthy mixture of roughage feeds the probiotics in your gut and helps secure a robust immune system.
2. Flaxseed - Flaxseeds have been consumed for at least 6,000 years, affording them the title of world’s first ‘superfood’. Flaxseeds contain a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) which helps aid in lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL). Flaxseeds are a great source of lignans that a are fiber-like compound that provide us with antioxidants that support the immune system and can balance our body’s hormones.
1. Beans - Beans are a great healthy, versatile and affordable food. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Beans contain amino acids which are the chemicals that combine to form protein and help build muscle. But recent studies have also shown that they are rich in a type of antioxidant called polyphenols. “Beans beans are good for your heart, the more you eat.....”
Including a mixture of these in your diet will provide your body with a combination of different amino acids. Whereas meat, dairy and eggs can provide a ‘complete’ package of aminos in one food, these will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to mirror this complete amino acid profile.
Whether you’re a vegan, pescatarian or omnivore, incorporating plant protein into your diet will enhance exercise performance, increase satiety and help to increase lean muscle mass. Studies have shown that vegan protein powders are just as effective as animal-based alternatives when it comes to these factors. What’s more, choosing plant-based is the only ethical, clean and natural option when it comes to protein supplementation.
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