Sources of vegan protein can be confusing. The quantity we should take? Which one should we combine with to make a good delicacy? These and some other questions do come up when trying to compile a list of protein sources for vegetarians.
Veganism has seen its popularity strongly over the past few years, and it is estimated that 3.5 million British people now identify as being vegetarians. There are many good reasons for turning to a plant-based nutrition.
For many people, veganism is better for the environment, which comes as no surprise, as a new report has found that the meat and dairy industries are on track to become the world’s biggest contributors to climate change.
For many others, stopping their consumption of animals and animal products seems more helpful to their health.
Moreover, a common question a vegetarian may usually face is, ‘Where do you get your protein foods from?’.
Indeed, a newly-converted vegetarian is sure going to spend some time at least at the beginning of their journey researching about how much protein they need daily and what the best sources of vegan protein are.
Popular athletes such as Venus Williams and Lewis Hamilton both follow a plant-based diet, so there’s no reason why a vegan diet should be lacking in protein. But why is protein such a big stuff anyway, you may want to ask?
What’s all the argument about protein anyway?
Protein is very essential for the growth and development of all the cells in the body – helping to maintain healthy hair, nails, bones and skin”. ‘It promotes the development of brain and the production of hormones such as insulin which helps to regulate blood sugar.’
Protein is a very important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood’. Basically, without much protein, your body’s very substance, its shape and form would not be a healthy one.
We use protein to produce enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals,. If we stop eating protein in our everyday food, our bodies will not be able to make these components as efficiently and therefore function well. As a result, your health will be compromised.’
Several studies also show that high-protein diets increase the satisfaction you feel after eating and can therefore help manage hunger and encourage weight loss.
How much protein should you eat everyday?
The minimum quantity of protein suggested in the diet is set at 45g daily for the average sedentary woman and 55g for the average sedentary man.
If you would love to calculate your personal needs more specifically, you need around 0.8g of protein per kilo of your body weight. For persons who like to count their calories, they should aim to get between 10 and 15 percent of their day to day calories from protein.
Of course, if you are the type pf person that work out regularly or are generally quite an active person, you may need more protein. During physical exercise, our body burns protein and amino acids so the minimum suggested amount of protein may not be enough to effectively promote muscle growth and repair.
Eating very good protein, followed with complex carbohydrates before a workout will help slow down the release of sugars
Here’s a list below of the best sources of protein for vegans, with indications on how many grams of protein is in each specified serving.
Soya products are among the richest protein sources in a plant-based diet. Soy protein also has nutrients, vitamins and fibre, just be sure you do not eat too much processed soya products as they can be too high in salt or sugar (in order words, check the label).
Grains are a great source of protein and is usually a good base for many meals.
Brown rice is another grain that is a great source of protein (4.7g protein in 180g cooked rice). Moreover, it is also good for persons who suffer from insomnia, as it is a natural source of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Brown rice is rich in fibre and antioxidants, which help stop colon cancer, breast cancer and leukemia.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are snacks that are easy to carry, which can help you cut down those afternoon cravings. Despite containing much of fat and calories, they make up an important part of a healthy diet.
Contained with protein, fibre and healthy fats, all nuts have different nutritional and health benefits. Almonds contain calcium for example, which helps strengthen bones, so they are a good alternative to dairy.
Other sources of protein
Low in calories and high in protein, lentils are the perfect legume to put in salads during the summer. They are usually rich in soluble fibre, which lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of having heart disease.
As well as being a great source of protein, chickpeas are great for weight loss. The high protein and fibre content means that chickpeas can help make you feel full and cut down food cravings.