The popularity of the vegan diet is increasing each year and there has been a significant rise in the number of vegans in the United States in the past few years. The main reason for this significant rise in the popularity of the plant-based diet is the health benefits they could provide. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can offer more nutrients than a meat-based diet.
Plant-based foods offer more nutrients that could help in improving your health and preventing several health disorders. Numerous studies have revealed that consuming more plant-based foods will help in improving your heart health by lowering high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels. It could also help in preventing obesity by controlling your body weight.
Transition to a plant-based diet is not always easier, especially for those who love meat and meat-based products. Since veganism demands refraining from any products that are a result of animal exploitation, those who wish to be vegan cannot consume meat. Fortunately, food manufacturers can create plant-based meat that has a similar texture and taste as that of actual meat.
Is Plant-Based Meat Healthier?
Several plant-based meat products were analyzed all around the world to find their nutritional value when compared to some meat products like burgers, sausages, and chicken-style pieces. The products were assessed based on the amount of protein, fats, sodium, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and dietary energy offered by those products.
Most of the studies revealed that plant-based meat has almost similar nutrient content as that of actual meat. Some plant-based meat substitutes even offered some additional nutrients that are very beneficial for your body. when compared to the real meat, plant-based meats are very low in saturated fat and they also have no cholesterol.
Several plant-based meat substitutes offer a lot of health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Tofu is a major staple in many Asian cuisines for hundreds of years. Even though tofu does not have a flavor of its own like the other plant-based meats, it takes the flavor of other ingredients in the dish. Tofu is made from soymilk and some manufacturers fortify tofu with several nutrients, including iron, vitamin B12, and calcium.
20 grams of protein, 0.144 grams of fiber, 188.4 calories, 13.3 grams of iron, 11.86 grams of fat, and 868 milligrams of calcium is present in just one cup of tofu. Since tofu does not usually have flavor, it allows the users to marinate it and give it the flavors they desire. In addition to being used as a meat substitute, many people also use tofu as a substitute for eggs in several dishes.
Tempeh is another plant-based meat produced from soybean. This traditional soy product has a similar nutritional profile as that of tofu but its fiber, vitamins, and protein content are higher. It is manufactured from whole soybeans by the use of the fermentation process. Since tempeh is a fermented food, it has several benefits for your digestive health. When compared to other plant-based meat products, tempeh has a drier texture and contains additional ingredients like beans and grains.
These additional ingredients increase the nutritional value of this popular plant-based meat substitute. When compared to tofu, tempeh has rich fiber content because of the presence of beans. Half a cup of tempeh contains 9 grams of fat, 160 calories, 17 grams of protein, 2 grams of iron, and 92 milligrams of calcium. Make sure to read the labels to ensure that the tempeh you buy is free of gluten.
Seitan is very commonly used in mock meat products like vegan burgers because of its similarity to the texture of chicken. Seitan is derived from wheat gluten, which is a family of protein in wheat. When the wheat is rinsed in water, the starch is removed from the wheat and it leaves behind a protein-dense food with a flavor of its own. Since seitan is made from gluten, it is not recommended for people who are allergic to gluten.
Seitan is getting very popular among vegans these days and we can find it in every supermarket in the United States. Just three ounces of seitan contains 1.2 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of fiber, 8 milligrams of iron, 4.8 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein, and 108 calories.
Texturized Vegetable Protein
Texturized vegetable protein (TVP) is a byproduct of soybean oil extraction. This popular plant-based meat substitute is made by separating protein from the fat present in soybeans by using a high heat process. The end product of this process is a protein-rich product that has a similar texture to that of curd.
Texturized vegetable protein has no flavor but it can add a meaty texture to several dishes. It is highly nutritious when compared to actual meat. Half a cup of texturized vegetable protein contains 14 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, 0.9 grams of fiber, and 93 calories.