Proteins are the important building blocks for muscles, tissues, cartilage enzymes and hormones. Therefore, it is definitely essential for every individual to get sufficient protein from his or her diets. However, a common misconception that exists amongst people is that Vegetarian or Vegan diet lacks protein, due to the fact of which vegetarians need to take protein supplements to satisfy their body’s protein needs. The reality of the matter is that vegetarian diet is very rich in protein. From vegetables to fruits to nuts, there are ample vegan protein sources that can supply the right amount of protein required for the physiological processes.
Let us take a look at some of the richest and best vegetarian suppliers for protein:
Soy or Soybeans are a great protein source that can be found in different foods such peanut butter and soy milk. Research shows that simply 1 cup of soybean can supply up to 29 grams of protein, which is at par with that of chicken breast (a non-vegetarian protein source). Soybean likewise helps in conserving the calcium content in the body, tones up the bones, and reduces the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the blood. Fermented soy is ideal and includes miso, tempeh, and natto (fermented soybeans). Consume soy in small amounts as the estrogen-mimicking compounds can have a negative effect if over consumed.
Tofu basically is a derivative of Soy, and is frequently called as the ‘Soy Curd’. It contains 9 of the essential amino acids, making it a great protein source for the vegetarians. It can be used in many forms – sauted, marinated, or pureed. Tofu is also an abundant source of calcium, and is particularly beneficial for growing children. For those who have allergy to dairy products, Tofu can be an alternative to fulfill their protein and calcium requirements.
A rich and common source of protein are various types of lentils. Daily intake of two cups of lentils provides enough protein for healthy muscle development in children and grown ups. Lentils are also rich in minerals. Since lentils are broadly grown throughout the world, they are relatively an inexpensive and easily obtainable proteins source that you must add to your daily diet. It is possible to add them to soups and stews or cook lentils alone..
Red Kidney Beans
A tasty selection of beans that you can add to a variety of dishes are the red kidney beans. Just one cup of red kidney beans can supply up to 15 grams of protein, and many other nutrients also. You can eat them as a side dish, or try out various recipes with this flexible selection of beans. Nearly all types of beans such as the chickpeas, black beans etc are rich sources of protein, and you need to make it a point to add these in your regular diet.
ORGANIC, RAW cheese in all its forms whether goat, ricotta or regular cottage cheese, is a very great source of protein. You can add them to your salads, lasagna, or simply layer your sandwiches with it. Just one cup of cheese can provide up to 28 grams of protein, and in case you are on a diet, try the low-fat variety.
For an excellent meat-free protein source, there can be nothing better than yogurt. Besides providing great amount of calcium and Vitamin D, yogurt also satisfies your body’s protein requirements effortlessly. Having a bowl of yogurt with your meals can improve digestion, kill fungal, strengthen your bones and yeast infections and help in building muscles and tissues. Yogurt also keeps you feeling full for longer hours and can help you in losing weight.
Also known as the vegetarian ‘Wheat Meat’, Seitan is usually found in Asian and Buddhist cooking. It is derived from the gluten of wheat, and is generally used in many recipes as a replacement for meat. Seitan is a great source of protein, but in case you are delicate to gluten or wheat, then this is not for you. You can mix Seitan with stews and soups or add it to various dishes that require a thick texture.
Spirulina is considered as the ‘wonder food’ by health because of the unlimited number of nutrients it contains. Spirulina, generally, is a form of blue-green algae, found in both sea and fresh waters. It consists of unusually high amounts of protein, unmatched by even the best non-vegetarian protein foods. Experts recommend Spirulina for various reasons – aside from being a complete protein source with all the essential amino acids, it also consists of Vitamins D, B, C, A and E, minerals such as calcium, potassium and zinc and essential fatty acids.
Seeds like Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds etc are other rich sources of protein that vegans can consume. While these might appear small, they have lots of nutrients packed within them. Hemp seeds contain up to 34.6 grams of protein, along with all the 22 amino acids. Hemp seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds are likewise quite rich in Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. You can use these in the powdered form – simply sprinkle them on your salads or side dishes and take pleasure in great flavor along with high quality nutrition.
An essential source of nutrition for hundreds of years, these crunchy snacks are a rich source of protein also. You can consume them as a snack, add them to side dishes, or simply sprinkle over salads. All types of nuts including hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts, almonds etc are packed with nutrition. They’re rich in fiber, phytonutrients, Vitamin E and antioxidants. However, nuts are also really calorie-dense, so go easy on them.
According to health experts, on an average each individual should eat up to 40 grams of protein per 100 pounds of body weight. The above-mentioned Vegetarian sources of Protein can easily satisfy these requirements and promote healthy muscular development in kids and grown ups.