Prefer plant proteins to boost your heart health

New research supports the already known benefits of vegetarian diets. They show that replacing just one or two servings of animal protein with vegetable protein per day can reduce three of the major markers of cholesterol.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 112 randomized controlled trials in which participants replaced animal protein with vegetable protein for at least three weeks.

Most studies have used protein from soy to replace animal milk proteins.

The researchers then looked at the effects of these replacements on three key markers of cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein also known as “bad cholesterol”; high density lipoproteins also called “good cholesterol”; and apolipoprotein B, the proteins of bad cholesterol that clog the arteries.

Their results showed that by replacing one to two servings of animal protein with vegetable protein on a daily basis, the main markers of cholesterol could be reduced by a factor of 5%.

“It does not seem like much, but since we consume very little vegetable protein in North America, small changes in diet can have great health benefits,” commented study author John Sievenpiper.

Scientists have also found that this reduction can be increased if participants combine plant protein with other cholesterol-lowering foods such as soluble oat, barley and plantain fiber.

Previous research had already shown that adopting a vegetarian diet could help lower one’s cholesterol. Other studies have also found that changing the way one feeds helps to lose weight and lower the risk of heart attack.

Note also that the consulting firm Baum + Whiteman in New York predicted that the vegetarian trend would be among the main culinary trends of the year 2018, so to your chickpeas and other legumes, your nuts, cereals and dried fruits.

More about this study on Journal of the American Heart Association.

Two sources of vegetable pulse protein must be combined at the same meal to ensure complementarity

It is not necessary to ensure the complementarity of vegetable proteins within each meal or dish. This can be done with the next meal or during the same day, with the other foods eaten.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products are the main sources of animal protein. There are also many vegetable sources of protein: chickpeas, lentils and other legumes, tofu, soy beverage, peanuts, nuts and seeds. Then, to a lesser extent, cereals such as wheat, rice, oats and rye also contain them.

Proteins are composed of 20 amino acids. Of these, nine are called “essential” because the body can not manufacture them, it must obtain food emulsifiers. Proteins of plant origin are not as good as those of animal origin because they do not count all the essential amino acids in optimal proportions for our body. One exception is soybeans, which are considered to be of “high biological value”, that is, possessing all the essential amino acids. It is therefore necessary to combine different sources so that they complement each other. This gave rise to the concept of “protein complementarity” many years ago.

Reviewed and corrected

This concept is now considered outdated because the balance between protein rations can be done during the day, not just as part of a meal. That said, many vegetarian dishes naturally combine their protein foods. Here are some examples.

In addition, complementarity is self-evident when a food of animal origin such as milk, yogurt, cheese or an egg is included in a vegetarian menu. In short, lacto-vegetarians, lacto-ovo-vegetarians and non-vegetarians do not have to worry about complementarity.