Best Protein Sources for Vegetarians
Let’s break the stereotypes, eating protein is not just for non-vegetarians. When we think of protein, we first think of eggs, meat and dairy products. But they are obviously not suitable for vegetarians. On the other hand, there are other rich and delicious sources of protein that can satisfy our needs.
For both vegetarians and others, a varied diet is very important. Of course, there are several types of vegetarianism – some people do not eat meat, others do not consume meat and eggs, third meat, eggs and dairy products, as well as those that are horseradish (or so-called vegans).
Some start to exclude certain foods a little bit, for example, meat that is a source of protein. But they have to find another way to get them. And so they start looking for alternatives.
Protein is essential to a healthy body, and every cell in the body requires protein to function properly. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of cells. Protein is found in the greatest quantities in meat, fish and poultry.
Vegetarians can get enough nutrition from animal products, such as milk, cheese and eggs.
Vegans need to be especially careful to eat vegetables that provide enough nutrition for their bodies.
Dried beans and peas, nuts, seeds, tofu and many grains and some vegetables provide adequate nutrition for a healthy body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that adults need at least 35 percent protein of their daily caloric intake. Vegetarians who do consume eggs, milk and cheese will probably get enough protein in their diet.
Vegans, on the other hand, who only eat plant-based foods may not be getting the nutrition they need for good health. A variety of vegetables, beans and grains can provide all the protein necessary for a healthy diet.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says that too much protein in the diet is linked to kidney disease, calcium stones in the bladder and urinary tract, osteoporosis and even cancer.
They also recommend getting enough protein in the diet by eating 5 or more servings of grains every day, 3 servings of vegetables including at least one serving of raw vegetables, and 3 servings of bean protein daily.
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Tofuto is a soy product that is an ideal substitute for meat. Full-fat food strengthens the body with all the amino acids. It can be consumed in different ways – from burgers to soups. Also called soybean cheese because it is made from soy milk. In a 100-gram piece of tofu there are between 10 and 20 grams of protein.
Lentil is another product suitable for vegetarians and rich in protein. It has about 18 years in a glass of boiled lentil. It is also rich in fiber and offers about 50% of the recommended daily dose. Fiber in the lens supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Green Peas often served as a side dish contain 9 grams of protein per cooked cup, which is slightly more than a cup of milk.
What’s more, a serving of green peas covers more than 25% of your daily fiber, vitamin A, C, K, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements.
Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup.
They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds.
Protein From Nuts
On the other hand, kernels, nuts and seeds are a great way to get our protein if we are vegetarians. A handful of raw nuts have between 7 and 10 grams of protein. Almonds, truffles, cashews are also very useful for the purpose.
In general, all nuts rich in monounsaturated fats lower the level of bad cholesterol and are useful for both vegetarians and others.
Their other advantage is that they help reduce weight.
Chia seeds are another source rich in protein. 35 g of chia seeds contain about 13 g of fiber and 6 g of protein. They are also rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. They easily absorb water, so they are soaked in it a few hours before consumption.
Hempseed also contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium. What’s more, it’s a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio considered optimal for human health.
Spelt and Teff
Spelt and teff belong to a category known as ancient grains. Other ancient grains include einkorn, barley, sorghum and farro.
Spelt is a type of wheat and contains gluten, whereas teff originates from an annual grass, which means it’s gluten-free.
Spelt and teff provide 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), making them higher in protein than other ancient grains.
Both are excellent sources of various nutrients, including complex carbs, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. They also contain good amounts of B vitamins, zinc and selenium.
Last but not least, Amaranth and quinoa provide 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup and are complete sources of protein, which is rare among grains and pseudocereal.
Also, amaranth and quinoa are good sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium cinnamate contains 9 g of protein.
There is a huge amount of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Beans are a very good source of nutrition, and they are low in fat but high in fiber content. Lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans and red beans are all rich sources of plant protein. Red beans contain the highest amount of plant nutrition.
Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, corn, spinach and tomatoes are abundant in plant protein. Nuts and seeds, such as flax, walnuts and pecans also provide essential fatty acids to the diet. Vitamin E and protein are plentiful in almonds and hazelnuts.
Vegans can get enough nutrition from plant foods as long as their diet includes a variety of beans, vegetables and grains. Too little or too much protein in the diet can cause serious health problems. The key to a healthy vegan and vegetarian diet is to eat a variety of meatless foods that contain protein.
As you can see there is no shortage of complete muscle building foods and sustainable nutrients available for vegetarians. Get creative with your meals with these 80 delicious recipes!