Plant proteins, in general, have properties that can potentially help reduce bloating compared to some animal-based proteins. Proteins are needed by the female body, especially since women are severely deficient.
The recommended protein intake for an average Indian adult is 0.8 to 1 gm per kg body weight, however, the average intake is about 0.6 gm per kg body weight.
"Proteins are essential in women for bone health, muscle mass, hair nails, skin health and hormonal health. Proteins play an important role in maintaining hormonal balance and reproductive health in a woman. Lack of proteins can affect menstrual cycle pattern and her ability to get pregnant." Dr Sudeshna Ray, Medical Director at Gytree and Fellow of The Royal College, London.
It's important to note that individual responses can vary, and some people may still experience bloating depending on their specific sensitivities and digestive health. Here are some ways in which plant proteins may aid in reducing bloating:
Lower in FODMAPs: Many plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, tempeh, lentils, and certain beans, are lower in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs). FODMAPs are carbohydrates that can be challenging to digest for some individuals, potentially leading to gas and bloating. By choosing plant proteins lower in FODMAPs, individuals with sensitive digestive systems may experience reduced bloating.
Fiber content: Plant-based protein sources are often rich in dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and can promote regular bowel movements, which may help prevent bloating and discomfort caused by constipation. However, it's essential to increase fiber intake gradually and ensure adequate water consumption to avoid potential gas and bloating associated with abrupt dietary changes.
Lactose-free: Many plant proteins, such as those derived from legumes and grains, are naturally free of lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance is a common cause of bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort in individuals who lack the enzyme lactase required to digest lactose. Switching to lactose-free plant proteins can be beneficial for people with lactose intolerance.
Lower fat content: Some plant proteins have a lower fat content than certain animal-based protein sources, especially those derived from red meat. High-fat diets can slow down digestion, leading to a feeling of bloating or discomfort. Opting for plant proteins that are lower in fat might help alleviate this issue.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Some plant-based proteins, like those found in legumes, nuts, and seeds, contain anti-inflammatory compounds, such as antioxidants and phytochemicals. Chronic inflammation in the digestive system can contribute to bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods may help mitigate these effects.
Easier to digest for some: Plant proteins can be easier to digest for certain individuals, particularly those who struggle with digesting animal-based proteins. While plant proteins may still contain certain compounds that could cause discomfort, some people find plant-based protein sources gentler on their digestive systems.
Despite these potential benefits, it's important to remember that individual tolerances can vary significantly. Some people may still experience bloating when consuming certain plant-based proteins, depending on their unique sensitivities and digestive health.
If you have concerns about bloating or any other digestive issues, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalised guidance and recommendations.
Suggested Reading: Women Lack Protein: Science-Backed Facts Call To Prioritise Intake