Seitan: A Lean Plant-Based Protein

Seitan is the main protein from wheat. For this reason, its considered an exceptional plant-based alternative to dietary meats. Plant-based eaters typically use seitan as a meat substitutes because of how closely it parallels the stringy texture of animal flesh products. Though seitan does not have all nine essential amino acids, its still high in proteins.

What Is Seitan?

Seitan is a type of gluten that is sourced from wheat. Gluten is an agent that helps hold bread together and gives bread its flexible consistency. Gluten’s combination of molecules that are made when the grains of certain flours mix with water. To make seitan, one simply needs to knead wheat flower with water until its sticky strings of wheat develop. Once the dough is rinsed, its starch is rinsed away, leaving the gluten protein core, which can then be shaped, seasoned and cooked.

corn and shredded seitan
corn and shredded seitan

Is Seitan Healthy?

Beyond its relatively high protein content, seitan can be the dietary source for other nutrients, including iron, selenium, phosphorus, and calcium. Seitan is also low in carbohydrates and fats, which makes it perfect for individuals who are dieting or aiming to lose weight. Being low in carbohydrates makes seitan a lean source of protein, which makes it preferential to beef. Seitan, being almost completely made of wheat gluten, does not contain any diary or cholesterol containing elements. Therefore, seitan foods do not themselves contribute to low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol spikes or inflammation.

People with gluten allergies or celiac disease should of course not ingest seitan. Celiac disease is an immune condition in which those who have it experiences increase in inflammation as a direct result from gluten consumption. For those who do not have celiac disease, gluten has no demonstrable adverse health effects associated with it.

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