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Plant-based protein: 10 things you really need to know

Before talking about plant-based protein, we thought it would be good to talk about protein first. People often ask us about protein and with good reason. We often hear about the importance of protein, but most people don’t know exactly what protein does for the body. So today we will cover 10 essential questions. Let’s dive in!

1. What exactly is protein?

Proteins are the building blocks of our body. 

They are part of our structure: our bones, muscles, hair, nails and skin are all made from proteins. But proteins have several other functions that are just as important.    

They help produce enzymes, hormones and immune system antibodies, which can defend us against infection and disease.  

2. Why are proteins essential to your health?

Proteins are considered essential to the human body because our bodies cannot make them or compose them from other nutrients. 

Proteins must absolutely be part of a regular diet.   

Many animals’s metabolism creates its own proteins , but the human body does not have a “protein production” system, as with carbohydrates. Our bodies can make carbohydrates from other components, but not protein. 

Protein consumption helps us feel satisfied and will soothe (among other things) the feeling of hunger.

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3. Are proteins and amino acids the same thing?

In fact, proteins are “combinations of amino acids”. They form “chains” of amino acids that can be more or less long. There are 22 amino acids that can be combined in  almost infinite arrangements to make different kinds of proteins.  

The difference between essential and non-essential amino acids.

Among these 22 amino acids:  

10 are called “essential amino acids”: tryptophan, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, histidine and arginine.  

These 10 essential amino acids must be absolutely present in the diet, because they are the basic elements with which the body can create other amino acids.  

The other 12 amino acids, which are called “non-essential”, are simply called that because they can be made from the essential amino acids. The 10 essential ones, however, cannot be “made” by our body. 

4. How much protein should you eat in a day?

Now that you know that few nutrients are as important as protein, it’s important to understand what lack of protein can do to your health. The question you are probably asking yourself is…

How much protein should I have in a day?

Opinions on the subject of “how much protein you need” vary. The answers are not unanimous in the scientific community, but we will look together at the references on which most experts agree.

In many countries, the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.36 grams of protein per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight. It’s the common ground for most experts in the nutrition field. 

This may be enough to prevent deficiencies, but the amount you need depends on many factors, including your activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals and overall health. Besides, one of the most important factor that almost everyone forgets to mention is assimilation (don’t worry we will be covering that in question #7), because, assimilation is what your body can effectively use in order to maintain optimal health.

A fairly easy and natural way to ensure reaching your daily protein intake is by adding Nature Zen’s plant-based protein to your daily routine.

5. Lack of protein: what are the consequences?

First of all, you should know that you can lack protein in 2 ways: either if you do not consume enough protein in your diet, but also if the protein you have is incomplete (that is, if it does not contain the 10 essential amino acids mentioned above) — in other words, if your body does not assimilate protein. That’s why we have created  protein that is highly assimilable. We’ll explain everything further down.

The lack of protein can manifest itself by simple fatigue at first.   

For example, you may feel an energy drop around mid-afternoon or have difficulty “going about your day”.  If you want to avoid  lack of protein, one easy solution is to have a protein bar as a snack to get the energy you need.  

What about severe protein deficiency?     

This can lead to brittle nails, hair loss, impaired vision and weak ligaments,  but it can also lead to  osteoporosis or a very weak immune system.

6. Why should you eat high-quality protein every day?

Femme buvant un shake protéiné

The most important reason is very simple: the human body cannot store protein.   

There is no long-term protein storage organ. So if you don’t eat protein every day, your body can’t produce it and that’s the beginning of the deficiency.   

To be more precise, the body can “short-term store” amino acids and combine them with what is consumed throughout the day,  but, the body does not store them long term (like some minerals, or fats).  

Therefore, make sure you consume high-quality (and organic) protein every day and if possible at every meal, or make sure your body has everything it needs to keep you healthy.  

*Be careful if you are on a low-calorie diet, because if you don’t get enough protein, your muscles will melt away first, and you will lose weight;  it won’t be fat mass, but muscle mass.

How Nature Zen’s plant-based protein can help you… 

Nature Zen protein is a complete protein (it contains all the essential amino acids) of plant origin that is also “bioavailable”. This means that not only is the protein of high quality, but it is also very concentrated and highly assimilable by the body.

7. Why is the protein assimilation rate so important ?

Nature Zen protein is 98.5% absorbable, so in simple terms this means that what you eat, your body absorbs it. 

However, that is not the case for many types of protein, which can take a lot of energy for the body to absorb. Some protein (such as whey) can even irritate the gut and cause side effects such as gas or discomfort, and are poorly absorbed by the body.   

So, for every serving of protein you eat, your body has direct access to the precious elements it needs to keep you healthy and fit,  and to provide you with steady energy throughout the day! 

8. The benefits of plant-based protein.

Nature Zen’s plant-based protein has a wonderful advantage: in addition to consuming the protein, you get all the fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it contains. 
These are essential nutrients that are not found in meat.  

According to several studies, a vegetarian diet has several health benefits:  

  • lower cholesterol levels
  • lower blood sugar 
  • lower body mass index 
  • smaller waistline 
  • less abdominal fat  

These are the most well known benefits and are found in several studies from different sources.

9. What about protein powder? Is it really good for your health?

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Many people are reluctant to eat “protein powder“ and with good reason as many of these products are devitalized. We had the same concern, which is why Nature Zen plant-based protein is a brown rice protein naturally extracted by a low temperature bio-fermentation process, for exceptional quality.  

In addition to quality, concentration is a very important factor. Our plant-based protein has a unique concentration of more than 90% and is composed of the best organic and nutritious ingredients to improve your health and well-being.

10. How to get more protein in your day?

Start your day with a protein smoothie !  

Why not start your day with a delicious maple protein bowl

Snacks. Get more protein throughout the day by choosing the right snacks. Protein bars are a good alternative that will  keep you energized throughout the day.

You can also add Essentials Nature Zen plant-based protein directly into your morning cereal bowl… You will add a boost of protein, fiber and nutrients directly to your morning routine.

What about lunch and dinner?

Get creative and think of ways to reduce the amount of meat you usually have. You can also  incorporate pea protein into your best “protein-free” recipes, just by sprinkling a little for example 🙂  

By giving your body everything it needs first thing in the morning, you maximize the benefits of protein.

We sincerely hope that this article has helped you discover more  options for a protein-rich breakfast!

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