A lot has been written about plant based protein and building muscle. Some say you cannot build muscles without eating animal protein, but if they stopped and thought about it for a while, they would soon realize they are more than wrong. After all, we are mammals, and the largest mammals in the world, such as elephants, derive their protein only from plant based foods. Are elephants strong? Have you ever seen one pick up a tree? You bet elephants are strong. The question does not have any scientific merit at all. Perhaps, it would help if we all knew a little bit more about protein. There are some disadvantages of plant protein as well which we will discuss in this article.
A Brief History of Plant Based Protein
Protein is not only essential for healthy muscle fiber. It is used by every cell in the body and can be found in cell walls. Do we understand protein? There are a lot of myths surrounding proteins such as bodybuilders needing lots of extra protein. That is not true. They may need some additional protein, but overeating protein can do more harm than good. What athletes and bodybuilders need is extra energy in the form of healthy carbohydrates. The good news is that the kind of carbs we are talking about here can be derived from the same plant based foods which supply protein to your diet.
It is essential to eat a balanced diet even though you may just be eating plant based foods. We are quick to forget sugar is a plant based food, and it can do us some serious harm. If you would like to get healthier and build muscle at the same time, you need to eat about 55 grams of protein per day. When you don’t, you may not be taking on enough energy, and your body will start breaking down protein for energy. That is not the correct function of the protein within the body.
Plant Based Protein Contains Muscle Building Essentials of Life
You may not be able to move away from the question will protein plant based protein build muscle very quickly when you are serious about fitness. However, in reality, the quicker you learn to appreciate the health benefits of plant based proteins, the faster you will start to get fit and build muscle. In fact, plant based proteins can break down body fats in the bloodstream, and other parts of the body. This means your blood can transport more oxygen to your muscles and start to increase mass. The building blocks which make up proteins are amino acids which in turn contain the four essentials of life which are oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. That is why protein can help to break down unhealthy fats in the body, and at the same time, help you to build muscle.
Get Fit and Healthy with Plant Based Foods
Not only will you build muscle when you derive your protein from plant based foods, but you will have more energy. How do you feel after eating a steak compared to a bowl of oats? A bit sluggish I bet. That is just one of the many natural experiments you can do to appreciate protein from plant based foods.
So, what is going on here? It is simple, plant based protein is much more bioavailable, more accessible to digest in other words, and the energy from plant based protein is released slower into the bloodstream allowing you to keep your energy levels up for longer.
Let’s go back to the steak for a moment, and here is the kicker – your body will have to use up both energy and protein to digest it. Yes, that is why you feel like taking a nap after your steak meal. You are merely giving your body too much to do, and it needs to draw on protein already present to process protein. Where is the sense in that if you want to go to the gym after your dinner?
Plant Based Foods Build Muscle and Give You Energy
Best of all, plant based foods that build muscle are not expensive or hard to find. They are even easy to store. Most of them you can eat raw, and they will give you BOTH energy and protein. What can be better than that?
Go Nuts for Nuts
I guess you have been told nuts are fattening. Really? Well, all food is fattening if you don’t move your body to burn it off. One of the best ways to burn off food intake is to build muscle. Not only do you make muscle, but at the same time, you increase blood oxygen. This is great for combatting both fats in the bloodstream and stored fats such as visceral fat which is associated with diabetes type 2.
But why nuts? First of all they very healthy for you, but pound per pound, they are packed with more plant based protein than many other sources. They also contain vitamin E which increase the uptake of amino acids which are what protein is made out of. Like I say, squirrels have both the strength to climb trees and run around. Have you ever tried climbing a tree? It does take a lot of power.
Will Plant Based Protein Build Muscle?
Seeds and grains are regarding proteins not so different from each other. They have more than two things in commons. Both can be sprouted and when you grow seeds and grains, the number of protein increases. They keep all of that goodness locked away, and is not until the sprout, or you eat them, they spring into action. We used to eat many more grains and seeds then we lunch today, but sadly we often ignore them. However, we talk about super grains such as quinoa. It is not more “super” than any other grain. Oats, which lower your risk of diabetes type 2, are just as good. Just remember to eat them every day.
Seeds are pure energy, and when you eat them with grains, they will make you feel fuller for longer. It takes the body about half an hour to digest a teaspoon of flax seeds. On top of that, flax seeds contain an oil which will help to carry protein. It does not get any better, and this is why a grain and seed bar will give you a kick of energy rather quickly. Sugar can do the same, but get ready for the sugar low. That does not happen if you eat grains and seeds.
Plant Based Protein Benefits
Grains, seeds, and nuts make the ideal take away food for muscle builders. They are lightweight, and you can eat as much as you like without having to worry about weight control when you have an active life. A bag can easily be fitted into your pocket or gym bag, and you can munch on them anywhere. The ideal take away food for our modern world, and at the same time you are eating your seeds, grains, and oats, you help the natural environment and reduce pollution. If we all ate more of these three magic muscle building protein-based foods, farmers would have to produce more, and therefore the oxygen content in the atmosphere would increase.
Muscle Building Plant Based Protein Foods for Sit Down Dinners or Lunches
You should not spend all your day eating on the go or in front of your computer screen. Plant based protein sources are perfect when it comes to first meals. We often sideline plant based protein for our main meals and don’t see them as our primary source of protein. All of a sudden you are sitting there at your dinner table, and worrying that you don’t have enough protein on your plate with a chicken breast staring back at you. The difference between whey and plant protein is that whey is not natural and not as good for your body.
Okay, your friends down at the gym may be telling you that you need to eat red meat and chicken to build muscle, but don’t forget about what we have already talked about. It is all about the building blocks of protein, amino acids, and foods like beans and lentils contain more natural amino acids for your body to digest. You will gain just as much energy from eating lentils and seeds that you do from eating eat. Yes, you may feel hungry later on, but that is fine. It goes to prove your body has converted your food intake to energy and is now ready for more. That is how your body is meant to function.
Leafy Greens and Protein for Building Muscle advantages of plant derived protein
Romaine lettuce, or cos lettuce as it is also called, is packed with protein, and so is spinach. No, it was not the iron in spinach which gave Popeye his muscles, it was the factory based proteins. At that time, no one knew leafy greens contained proteins, but now we do. When you are basing your diet on plant based foods, it is essential to include leafy greens. Women who crave Romaine lettuce during pregnancy have a much higher protein count and are less likely to suffer from nutritional health problems during pregnancy. Romaine lettuce even improves digestion and contains just 18 calories per 100 grams. Brown rice and pea protein can also be used to help build out muscles and keep the calories low.
Do I Need to Eat More?
You may need to eat more but that all depends on your level of activity. Unlike meat based protein sources, you don’t have to worry about the many risk factors otherwise associated with the protein. You will not be consuming the wrong kind of cholesterol, and you are not very likely to increase your intake of unwanted hormones and antibiotics when you stick to a plant based diet.
If you happen to suffer from health conditions such diabetes type 2, elevated PSA or even the concept of “ man boobs” you may found your health concerns will clear up while you are busy building your muscles in the gym.
In fact, by switching to a plant based diet to build muscles and access healthy protein, you have done yourself more than one favor. You have reduced the risk of inflammatory disease which you may be experiencing when you derive your diet from meat based protein.
The Liver and Plant Based Protein
Something fascinating happens in the liver when we eat plant based proteins, and perhaps it is not the fats in meat, which cause us to develop heart disease, hormonal dysfunctions, and diabetes. Scientists are beginning to believe that our bodies respond differently to plant based protein. Most people in the West overeat protein from meat, but when we look at the other parts of the world, we find folk eats just as much protein, sometimes to excess like in the West, but it does not have any harmful effects.
The solution could not be simpler. In countries like India, much of the protein in the diet is derived from plant based food. Instead of making the liver too busy, and causing digestive orders, the plant based protein helps and aids liver function. It is probably one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is good for us. It is rich in vegetation based proteins derived from grains, fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Of course, olive oil and red wine help a lot at the same time, but stop and think about it for a moment. Both are plant based foods, and once again, it seems that going back to nature, is the thing that we all should be doing whether we want to build muscle or just enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
A Spanish person is unlikely to eat meat or fish more than once a day, and grains are served at every meal. But, what Spanish people and others do so well, is to eat often and most of the meals, starting with breakfast, are plant based. They keep their energy levels up and stop the body from going into starvation mode. Muscle pains are not a typical health complaint in Spain, and most people are very lean but strong. It is about time we went back to basics and started to look at where we are getting our protein from.
Will plant based protein build muscle? Ask a Spaniard who is carrying 20 kilos of grapes and been harvesting for his favorite Ribero del Duero wine all day that question, and he will say “si” before he goes back to munching on his almonds.