If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you have probably been asked this question numerous times, and if you are looking into adopting this eating lifestyle, you are bound to be asked about this by many. You see, the non-vegetarian lifestyle has become so prominent that any kind of deviancy from the “norm” is going to bring about questions….specifically this question- “So, how do you get your protein?”
If this question seems familiar to you, read this article through. Even if you are not a vegetarian, and are just looking to cut back on consuming meat for health reasons, this article is for you as well. Below, you are going to discover 7 powerful vegetarian protein sources that are very comparable if not better than animal protein.
It takes many people a shift to a plant based diet to discover this super-powerful grain. Quinoa is actually a complete protein, AND very delicious. Many say that it tastes nutty and crunchy but at the same time creamy. It is very versatile and offer a high nutrition value. When it comes to protein, Quinoa contains all 9 of the complete essential amino acids. Moreover, this whole grain has a no cholesterol, and is a low fat protein alternative. 1 cup of cooked quinoa will yield you 14 g of protein.
It’s not just protein that Quinoa is known for. It actually contains a high amount of phytonutrients, two of the most powerful ones being quercetin and kaempferol – which contains anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a good amount of monounsaturated fat which is great for a healthy heart as well.
Visually speaking, green pea is not something you would associate protein with. But it is actually very rich in both fiber and protein (14.7% protein in 1 cup). This combination of protein and fiber makes us digest our food slower, which keeps our glucose level stabilized. Additionally, there is one specific cancer that green peas seem to protect us from, and that is stomach cancer, thanks to its coumestrol content.
Beans are a good meat substitute. Although it is not a complete protein, it does have amino acid lysine which is usually absent from many plant based protein sources. When eaten with rice or other vegetables, it can easily become your complete protein source. On average, beans in general, except soy beans, contains 15 grams of protein in 1 cup. Beans are a good source of fiber, as well as minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, folate and also Vitamin B-6.
Nuts and Nut butters
There are many nuts that are good sources of protein, while also being less in saturated fat. When compared peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds and pistachios have the most amount of protein (6 grams) with low amount of saturated fat. Walnut, pine nut, hazelnut, brazil nut and cashew nut has 4 grams of protein, while pecans and macadamia nuts have 2g and 3.5g protein respectively. Nuts are very good for your heart and blood glucose stabilization as well.
Also known as wheat meat, seitan is made from gluten. It has a texture similar to meat which is why it is used in many vegetarian dishes across restaurants. 100 grams of this contains 21 grams of protein. Along with being high in protein, it is also a good source of iron while being low in fat. That said, the ready-made kind can be very high in sodium, which can affect your blood sugar. Try to see if you can make it at home so that you can control the sodium level.
1 whole avocado gives you 10 grams of protein. Also, it contains18 essential amino acids, and they are easily digestible unlike the ones you get from steak. Since it has a good amount of fiber, it keeps you sated for long amount of time. Avocado contains good quality fat to shield your heart, and lower your LDL. It is rich in carotenoids which is excellent for our immune system. So if you are feeling low on protein, have an avocado.
Broccoli, spinach, Brussel sprouts, kale, collards, all of them have 3-5 grams of protein per cup. Try to have them in each of your meals. Along with amino acids, they will give you fiber, minerals and all the essential vitamins your body needs to function optimally.
Although the right amount of protein depends on your age, it is recommended that women eat about 46 grams of protein per day, and men eat around 56 grams per day. Even if one protein source doesn’t provide you with all the essential amino acids, remember to combine different sources.
In the comments below, please share what your favorite protein source is.