We’ve shared how a diet that includes plant proteins has been found to decrease the rates of all-cause death. In addition to that, it is well established that plant proteins are an important factor in lowering the risk of many health concerns such high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation (among other issues). Today, we will share some delicious recipes that can help you incorporate plant proteins into your diet to support your cardiovascular health.
Below is a helpful resource that shares a variety of plant-proteins. A good amount of them can be purchased in dry bulk and stored, making them less expensive and convenient to make. If you keep a variety of these on hand, you’ll always have a healthy protein source available to support you in your quest for healthy meals. You can also read more about the benefits of a whole foods diet, here.
Black Bean Quinoa Salad Bowl
What is great about about recipes like this is that you can interchange the ingredients, helping to keep it interesting. This version has quinoa, a whole grain, which is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Black beans are an easy plant-based source of protein as you can buy them canned, or make them from dry beans. Either way, they provide a load of protein that will keep you satiated until your next meal and they also help keep your blood sugar steady. Edamame (which are immature soy beans) are sprinkled in for an additional source of protein and have also been found to help lower cholesterol, maintain steady blood sugar, have even been found to help reduce Menopausal symptoms, and studies have also shown that they may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
These burgers are made with oat flour, quinoa, black beans, and veggies. Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally. If you choose a canned option, make sure to drain and rinse them to reduce the sodium even more. Even though these are black bean burgers, you can use any beans you have on hand – this recipe would work with chickpeas, pinto beans, or white beans, all of which provide a healthy dose of protein. Beans also help control diabetes because of their fiber content; studies have shown that individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and those with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. Preventing or managing diabetes is important to cardiovascular health because over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves that control your heart, putting you at risk of cardiovascular issues.
These meatless meat balls are great to make ahead and stash in the freezer for those days you need dinner in a rush. They only take 20 minutes to make, and can be used with pasta, on salads, or even in a pita for a meal on the go. These “meatballs” contain chickpeas, which are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. One source shares that chickpeas contain a plant sterol called sitosterol that is structurally similar to cholesterol in the body. It interferes with the body’s absorption of cholesterol and thereby can help to lower blood cholesterol levels. The fiber and unsaturated fats in chickpeas may also favorably affect blood lipid levels.
Chickpea Shawarma Stuffed Pita
Pitas are a valuable tool for on-the-go meals. Pick a whole wheat pita to avoid more processed varieties, and reap the benefit of the whole grains. Chickpeas help you feel fuller for longer, helping keep you on track with a healthy diet, and away from grabbing for a potentially unhealthy snack. Since obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, maintaining a healthy weight with the help of foods that provide you ample nutrition is important. Why not make it tasty, too? This recipe checks both those boxes. Again, this is a recipe that you can easily switch out ingredients, depending on what you have available, and what you feel like eating.
Mexican Stuffed Quinoa Sweet Potatoes
This combination of sweet potato, avocado, quinoa, black beans provides loads of protein and flavor. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber and antioxidants which support gut health, an essential factor in overall health. Antioxidants from natural food sources (versus supplements) have also been found to help reduce LDL (sometimes called the “bad” choleserol) which can damage your arteries if it left unchecked and lead to cardiovascular disease. Avocado is a great source of healthy fat, which can also help lower cholesterol levels that are damaging to your cardiovascular health. All-in-all, this is a powerfully healthy and delicious meal option!
Sun-dried Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Quiche
This recipe is a protein power house. It has spinach, tofu, flax, tofu, and almond flour. You can add in any vegetables you’d like, making it easy to modify to your palate. Soybeans (which tofu is made of) are naturally rich in protein and contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs. A study The study, recently published online by the International Journal of Epidemiology — found that people with a high intake of indispensable amino acids (found in animal proteins) experienced a 60% increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD), while people who consumed large amounts of some non-indispensable amino acids (largely found in plant proteins) experienced a 35% reduction in Cardiovascular disease. Soybeans are also rich in fiber which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and several important vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.
Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles
If you’ve never had soba noodles, you’ve been missing out. Authentic soba noodles are made from 100 percent buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is a whole grain that supports heart health and also regulates blood sugar, which benefits blood vessels and nerves essential for heart function. Soba noodles contain potassium; studies have shown that a diet rich in potassium can help protect against cardiovascular disease as it helps a reduced calcification and stiffness of the arteries. This recipe also incorporates edamame and carrots, making it a delicious, healthy, and fresh dish.
Protein Oat Cookies
Did somebody say cookie? We love cookies, especially those that actually have health benefits on top of satisfying our sweet tooth. This recipe is packed with oats, which help regulate blood sugar and are also high in protein. A bonus- there is no butter so you can enjoy these cookies without worrying about the impact to your cholesterol due to high levels of saturated fat and make heart disease more likely. Another bonus- there isn’t any processed sugar in this recipe and the less processed sugar in anybody’s diet, the better! Savory peanut butter (pick a low-salt option) makes these cookies extra tasty, while hemp seeds, bananas, and many more healthy ingredients continue to add to the nutritional benefit of the treat. Add in some dark chocolate for a little sweetness, and you have a tasty powerhouse cookie!
These are just a few ideas of how to incorporate plant proteins into your diet to better support your cardiovascular health.
Do you have any favorite recipes that incorporate some of these ingredients? Share in the comments!