Protein is one of the most valuable nutrients you can provide for your body. Protein is essential for fueling your body with healthy energy needed to keep you feeling good and help your body maintain healthy functions like metabolism and building and repairing tissue and bones. Without proper protein intake, your body will have a hard time fueling itself, leaving you feeling tired, sluggish, and prone to weight gain.
One of the most common and obvious sources of protein is meat, particularly red meat like steak and ground beef. Although the most common source for protein, red meat is unfortunately also one of the unhealthiest.
A recent study by The BMJ has reconfirmed a long-known connection between red meat and risk of coronary heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The issue with the quality of meat that is often consumed is prone to being highly processed.
The result is the consumption of a meat product that, although rich in protein, are also extremely high in fat and provide suboptimal amounts of other required nutrients. In fact, the study found that with just one serving of red meat a day, red meat was associated with a 12% higher risk of heart disease.
The study found that limiting, not eliminating, red meat consumption can provide a clear course for helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, that leaves the question as to where people should find their much-needed sources of protein. Well, the study answers that question too!
The BMJ study identifies plant-based protein, particularly that from beans, as the key to reducing the risk of heart disease while maintaining an appropriate and healthy protein intake.
Bean-Based Protein is Healthier
The simple fact is that in addition to providing a high concentration of protein, beans provide a wider range of additional health benefits and nutrients that red meat doesn’t. Let’s put it this way: if you ate a serving of beans and a serving of red meat that were equal in protein, your body would benefit more from the contents of the beans.
Beans are high in fiber, low in fat, and have a healthier caloric balance than red meat. All of that contributes to weight loss and weight regulation, two of the largest factors that contribute to heart disease.
Simple Substitution Ideas
So, do you have to eliminate red meat entirely from your diet. Not at all! Just like things like chocolate and sweets, it is alright to enjoy it in moderation. However, you should do your best to control highly-processed red meat like hotdogs, sausages, salami, and bacon as much as possible and find ways to incorporate and substitute healthier, plant-based protein sources into your diet as often as possible.
To help get you started, here are some simple ways you can substitute beans into your regular diet.
Bean Burgers: Instead of grilling up or ordering a cheeseburger that is literally dripping in fat, try a healthy and protein-packed bean burger. Bean burgers can be created using a variety of beans and other healthy ingredients like quinoa for a low-fat, high-flavor patty. Randall Beans has a whole bunch of awesome bean burger recipes you can try for yourself!
Meatless Chili: Chili is one of the best winter recipes, but it is often made with beef or steak as a featured ingredient. Next time you make a pot of chili, skip the meat and add a few extra servings of beans! Replacing your meat with beans helps your chili maintain its hardiness and full flavor with a much healthier ingredient.
Bean-focused Diets: If you are interested in making a big dietary splash, there are plenty of great diets out there that specifically focused on reducing red meat and increasing plant-based protein. The Mediterranean Diet and Blue Zones Diet are two worth looking into, since they both allow for a diverse range of foods that will help you more easily transition into better eating choices.
Just Add Beans
One of the best ways to get more beans into your diet isn’t necessarily substituting them in, it is simply finding ways to get them in. With their versatile flavors and variety, it can be incredibly easy to find ways to your day to day meals.
Having a salad for lunch? Keep a jar of Randall Beans handy to sprinkle on as another topping. Planning on making soup for dinner? Add a jar of Randall great northern beans for more flavor and body. You really can’t go wrong.
Finding ways to get beans into your diet starts with finding great bean recipes! Randall Beans is all about great recipes that taste great and keep you healthy at the same time. Check out our library of recipes and cookbook collections to find your new favorite bean recipe today!