“Healthy, plant-based diets are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds, so it is no surprise that they are linked with lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer,” says nutritionist Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., author of Plant-Powered for Life. The good news is that you don’t have to trade your muscle mass for those perks.
If you’re working out regularly, you can get enough muscle-building protein and nutrients by eating a plant-based diet. “By including protein rich foods, such as lentils, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds at each meal, and then adding protein-rich snacks, like a shake or smoothie, you can increase protein intake,” says Palmer. It’s also important to remember that even grains (like quinoa and oats), plus vegetables help contribute to your daily amount of protein.
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