"While plant-based meat alternatives give numerous benefits, highly processed products such as beyond meat may contain more sodium and saturated fat than their meat counterparts, which have a negative effect on heart health."
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Consuming the least processed options, such as legumes, whole soy foods, jackfruit, premade burgers, and other meat alternatives is the healthiest way consume plant-based meat. Here are some plant-based alternatives with their nutritional value, downsides to consider, and benefits.
Seitan is one of the best plant-based meat alternatives. It contains a high protein content of about 25g, 141 calories, 2.3g of total fat, and 1.2g of fiber in 100 grams (4 ounces sliced). Seitan, as a meat substitute, also contains sufficient amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorous, copper, and selenium. It is low in carbs, fats, calories, and fats.
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You can make seitan at home using vegetable broth, vital wheat gluten, and other flavoring agents such as garlic, soy source, and liquid aminos. As a meat substitute, it helps vegans reap its healthy benefits and stick to a plant-based diet. It has a chewy texture and savory flavor that works in stews, pasta dishes, stir-fries, and sandwiches. Seitan contains gluten, making it unsuitable for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Soy is a powerhouse for protein with a versatile texture and mild flavor making it ideal to be used as a meat substitute. Soy-based food contains the following popular choices:
Soybean is an excellent source of protein. It contains high levels of fiber and protein, is low in saturated fat, is lactose-free, contains omega-3 fatty acids, is cholesterol-free, contains high levels of phytoestrogens, and is a good source of antioxidants as a plant-based meat alternative. It also reduces health problems such as stroke, some types of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and coronary heart disease (CHD), as well as promoting healthy bones.
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Tofu contains 2.2 grams of protein, 49 calories, and approximately 1.1 grams of carbohydrate per 100 grams. It is high in protein, firm in texture, and versatile, and is widely used by vegans as a meat substitute. It contains a compound called isoflavones, which is a very powerful antioxidant, supports heart health, is a source of complete plant protein, and helps regulate blood sugar. Consider the intake of tofu in salads and sandwich or cook with vegetables.
Tempeh is an excellent source of protein and a meat alternative made from fermented soybean products. It contains all the essential amino acids and vitamin B12 that the body needs for healthy muscles and bones. A 3-ounce (85g) serving of tempeh contains 140 calories, 16g protein, 10g carbs, 7g fiber, 5g fat, 6% RDA of calcium, and 10% RDA of iron. Tempeh is made from seeds, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. It offers more calories, protein, and fiber content, which helps in containing probiotics. You can cut it in thin slices and add them to crumbled or stir-fried foods to use in chilis, stews, sloppy joes, or tacos.
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit found in Africa, Asia, and some parts of South America with a thick, soft, green, bumpy rind and edible seeds. It contains key nutrients such as protein, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber.
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It is good for skin health, manages blood sugar and weight, replenishes energy, improves digestion, slows down aging, enhances vision, improves blood quality, strengthens bones, controls asthma, and keeps your heart in good condition. Considering jackfruit has a naturally meaty texture, commercial jackfruits are more important than fake meat alternatives. It contains all kinds of great nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which make it a healthy plant-based meat alternative.
Mushrooms are a powerful meat substitute rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, zinc, selenium, and antibiotics. It promotes gut health, strengthens immunity, promotes blood pressure, prevents certain types of cancer, and promotes longevity when used as a meat alternative. Mushrooms are high in glutathione and ergothioneine, as well as low in sodium, calories, fats, and fiber.
The impossible burger is a plant-based meat alternative that mimics the aroma, flavor, and texture of beef. Impossible Foods also makes meatless sausages, pork alternatives, and chicken-style nuggets using plant ingredients.
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The impossible burger is made with soy protein and potatoes and contains a variety of micronutrients, including 130% RDA for vitamin B12, 25% RDA for iron, and approximately 50% RDA for zinc, folate, and thiamine. The impossible burger contains approximately 19 grams of protein, vitamins, and minerals, as well as no animal antibiotics or hormones.
Beans and legumes
Legumes and beans, including lentils, black beans, and chickpeas, provide more protein than other types of meat, making them an excellent plant-based meat alternative. It also provides vital minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, and fiber. It contains low calories, protein, carbs, and fiber. Beans and legumes promote weight balance, boost heart health, are good foods for diabetic control, and are full of potassium, which is good for the kidney, muscles, and nerves.
Consumption of plant-based meat alternatives is linked with numerous health benefits. Plant-based meat alternatives such as seitan, tempeh, tofu, mushrooms, beans, and the impossible burger contain various nutrients that are essential to the body's wellbeing. Not all meat alternatives are healthy. Others still contain large amounts of sodium, saturated fats, and other unsuitable ingredients. When choosing a meat alternative, it is important to go for ones like soy foods, beans, and jackfruit more often, as they are full of vital nutrients and easy to incorporate into soups, chilis, stews, and tacos.