Proteins as amino acids are essential in the maintenance of health, as with other main groups of nutrients like carbohydrates and fats. They are best taken in non-animal and non-dairy forms.
Fitness buffs like wellness coach Petrina Ann may want to get her protein from chicken, lean beef, eggs, Greek yoghurt, milk, cheese and protein shakes after working out (Unlocking the power of protein: How much to eat and when, Sept 28), but we are actually far better off sourcing our protein from vegetarian quarters.
There are many MMA fighters, bodybuilders and weight lifters who are very competitive in their sport and who are vegans.
Meat and dairy proteins, while being rich sources of amino acids, will cause elevated levels of blood lipids, thereby increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease, aggravating inflammation which causes premature entropy of the body, and increasing carcinogenesis.
Plant proteins on the other hand improve gut health, are rich in certain minerals and vitamins deficient in meat protein, provide a store of antioxidants and other phytoproteins, and are replete with salutary fibre.
Study after study has shown that vegans live longer and healthier lives. Researchers in Loma Linda University in the United States found that on average, men gain 10 and women five years of longevity by being vegetarian.
As an added bonus, in the local context, vegetarian proteins come cheaper than meat proteins.
The world is beset with environmental problems resulting from pollution, and there are frequent globally occurring natural disasters. Livestock production is so energy intense that it increases global warming and is extremely damaging to our ecosystem.
We can be kinder to both our bodies and Mother Earth just by a simple change in our diet.
Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)