300 eggs. 20 chickens. 15 gallons of milk. 25 pounds of Tuna. That’s what a recent news report tallied that the line-up at a physique…
Inflammation is the body’s reaction to toxins and or other physical trauma. While certain foods – such as refined sugar and processed foods – are known to worsen the body’s inflammatory response, others have been shown to fight inflammation. Top of the list is plant-based foods, such as those followed on a vegan diet. In this article, we investigate how switching to vegan protein sources can help you to defeat inflammation.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation is part of the body’s response to infection, disease, or injury. Inflammation is either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation usually lasts for no more than two weeks. Chronic inflammation is less intense but longer-lasting.
Chronic inflammation can lead to the following conditions:
- Acid Reflux
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Pain
A common form of inflammation is inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS). It is the result of digestive tract inflammation and results in all manner of gastric and digestive problems.
The following foods have been recognized as contributing to inflammation:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Trans Fats
- Processed Meats
THE VEGAN DIET & INFLAMMATION
A person on a vegan diet eats only plant-based foods. Dairy, eggs, and meat are excluded. This differs from a plant-based diet, where small portions of animal-sourced foods are permitted. When you go on a vegan diet, you immediately cut out the majority of the offending foods we identified in the last section. By its very definition, then, a vegan diet excludes the foods that lead to inflammation.
Many people have found that the symptoms of their inflammation disappear when they go on a vegan diet. This often happens very quickly, sometimes within a week. As a result, many people who have been trying and failing to overcome their bloating, gas, and acid reflux issues are delighted to see those issues disappear when they make the switch to vegan.
There is a considerable amount of research-based evidence confirming the ability of the vegan diet to beat inflammation. The gut bacteria profile of herbivorous animals is significantly healthier than those of omnivores. A key marker for reduced inflammation is lower levels of a protein known as c-reactive protein. In a 2018 study, 100 participants were put on either a vegan or American Heart Association Diet for eight weeks. At the end of the trial, the vegan group had a 32 percent lower level of c-reactive protein than the other group.
To get the most out of an anti-inflammatory vegan diet, follow these guidelines:
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
- Add herbs and spices
- Include Omega-3 Fatty Acid and Monounsaturated Fats
- Eat nuts every day
- Focus on low glycemic plant-based foods
- Eat plenty of plant-based proteins
- Consume pre and probiotics by choosing such foods as miso, kombucha, and tempeh
PROTEIN POWDERS AND INFLAMMATION
Protein powders are a popular and beneficial way to get extra muscle-building protein into your body. Some protein powders, however, actually contribute to inflammation. Many people are sensitive to some forms of protein. Their body reacts by releasing what are called immunoglobulin E antibodies. These antibodies trigger the release of histamine by white blood cells to ward off infection. An oversupply of histamine, though, can lead to inflammation.
The most common form of protein powder that causes sensitivity is whey. The inflammation that results from whey sensitivity can result in the following symptoms:
- Fluid retention
- Stomach cramps
Of the different forms of whey being used in protein powders, whey protein isolate (WPI) is most likely to cause inflammation. Other protein powder ingredients that can contribute to inflammation include GMO corn, soybean oil, and artificial ingredients.
Another problem with animal-based proteins is that they tend to be on the acidic side of the pH scale. The more acidic the body’s liquid environment, the more prone a person is to inflammation. Plant-based protein sources, however, are more alkaline, making it far more likely that you will be able to maintain the ideal range of between 7.3 and 7.45 on the pH scale.
There is now a strong body of evidence that plant-based protein sources result in a significantly lower level of inflammation than animal-based proteins. But not all vegan proteins are equal.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT VEGAN PROTEIN TO BEAT INFLAMMATION
The obvious weakness that vegan proteins have in comparison to animal-sourced proteins is that most of them do not contain all 9 of the essential amino acids. That’s why you need to choose a vegan powder that combines powder types to complete the essential amino acid profile.
At International Protein, we have pulled out all the stops to produce the best vegan protein product on the Australian market. The result is Plant Power, a delicious blend of pea and rice protein, combined with the ancient super seed Sachi Inchi to provide a complete amino acid profile. Sachi Inchi is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and beta-sitosterol. We’ve also included mung and pea protein peptides to boost workout performance and recovery.
Another Plant Power ingredient that we’re excited about is maca. This ancient plant medicine is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to provide cognitive benefits, help the body deal with stress, improve mood and boost energy levels.
Plant Power has no sweeteners, including Stevia. That is important as a lot of people have a negative reaction to sweeteners of any kind. Instead of sweeteners that could interfere with your digestion, we have added digestive enzymes that will help you to better absorb the nutrients in Plant Power.
Plant Power not only contains the plant-based ingredients that your body needs to operate optimally and defeat inflammation – but it also mixes well and, unlike many plant protein competitors, tastes great.
THE RIGHT WAY TO MAKE THE SWITCH
A lot of people go about making the transition to vegan completely the wrong way. They head down to the supermarket, intent on hunting out every plant-based meat alternative they can find. They’ll also throw packet plant-based products into their trolley. What these people forget is that a vegan diet should be built around fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds – in other words, whole foods. Packaged foods should be a very small component of a vegan diet.
When you’re on a vegan diet, you should steer clear of refined carbs, refined sugar, and highly processed foods, even if they are completely plant-based. Remember that just because it is plant-based doesn’t mean that it’s automatically healthy. A key point of reference to always keep in mind is that if a food product has a nutrition label on it, it is not a whole food.
The bottom line here is that you cannot successfully transition to a vegan diet by simply trying to replace the animal-based foods that you have been eating with vegan alternatives. Often the additives that are in those substitutes make your inflammation issues worse rather than better.
Make it your goal to cover every colour of the rainbow with your vegan whole food choices. Doing so will ensure that you get all the phytochemicals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You’ll also be getting all of the nutrient complementing that you need to meet your nutrient requirements.
You should also try very hard to eat your whole foods in as natural a state as possible.
If you’ve been trying and failing to overcome inflammation-related issues like gas, indigestion, and bloating, switching to a vegan diet may be exactly what you need. Build your diet around whole foods, endeavouring to cover the rainbow with your vegetable and fruit choices. Add in legumes, nuts, and seeds, along with a superior plant protein source like Plant Power, and you’ll never look back!