The different studies on the positive health benefits of becoming vegan has resulted in a lot of people changing their diets by incorporating more and more plant-based foods into their diets until they go completely vegan. However, there are still a lot of people who find it difficult to totally eliminate their preference and need for meat or animal-based products. These people will slowly remove portions of animal-based products from their diets and replace them with healthier plant-based alternatives.
However, there are many people who are miseducated that vegan diets will not provide the body the necessary protein that it needs. While it is true that proteins from animal sources already have the complete nine essential amino acid profile, these requirements may also be obtained from protein powder supplements that are plant-based.
Plant-based protein can fully replace animal-based protein at a healthier level. Animal-based protein may have high amounts of essential amino acids however, animal protein may contain high levels of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids that increases your risks of developing cardiac disease and getting obese. Likewise, plant-based products can also supply the other nutrients that your body needs that will usually come from animal-based products. Here are other supplements that you may need when you go completely vegan:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Fish protein is a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. However, they are not the only sources of this essential fatty acid. Plant-based products such as chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp, and other seeds can provide the body with similar fatty acids such as alpha-linoleic acid or ALA which your body can naturally convert into Omega 3 fatty acids. However, the human body can only convert small amounts of ALA into Omega 3 which means that you will need to ingest high amounts of seeds high in ALA to meet your body’s Omega 3 requirements. Fortunately, modern technology makes it possible for supplement manufacturers to extract concentrated isolates of ALA from plant-based products.
Branched-chain Amino Acids
From the nine essential amino acids, three stand out. These are leucine, isoleucine, and valine which are commonly called BCAA, short for Branched-Chain Amino Acids. The body cannot naturally produce these amino acids and must be acquired from food sources. These specific amino acids are catabolized within the muscles and are vital in providing the muscles enough protein supply during heavy workout to prevent muscle loss. Without enough BCAA in the muscles, your body will use up the BCAA reserves within the muscles which will lead to muscle loss.
Most supplements that contain high amounts of BCAA are made up of animal-based sources such as duck feathers, animal ligaments and cartilages. The thought of having supplements coming from animal feathers and cartilages may sound unappealing. Fortunately, BCAA can also be obtained from the fermentation of plant-based sources.
While animal-based proteins are complete in amino acids at higher concentrations, animal proteins may contain other chemicals which can have a negative effect on your health such as too much cholesterol, antibiotic residues, and fats. Incorporating more and more plant-based protein into your diet will therefore be more beneficial to you.
However, when you switch to a completely vegan diet, you have to be aware of the different nutrients that your body will need which may come from other supplements other than plant protein powder. It is a good recommendation to consult with a nutritionist to determine if your vegan diet is giving you all the necessary daily nutrients that your body needs.