Top Vegetarian Protein Sources
Proteins are the major building blocks of our body. Protein though do not form the major constituent of our diet in terms of the recommended percentage of the macro nutrients in the diet, it is an indispensable part of our existence.
The major functions of protein in the body is the satiety they provide, form structural component of the body along with fats, prevents hikes in the blood sugar levels when consumed in combination of cereals and provide essential amino acids, that our bodies need to function.
Daily allowance of protein for an average individual that does not exercise is approximately 0.8 -1 gm per kg. While the daily allowance for those that exercise regularly, depending on the intensity of the workout, can range from 1.2- 1.5 gm per kg. But having said that if one is looking to lose weight try avoiding a high protein diet. Excess protein in the body is stored as fat. Maybe that’s the reason why you might be exercising and not losing any weight. You are recommended to consult a nutrition expert to identify your daily protein requirement and not get your information from the internet or other general sources.
Animal foods like meat, fish, chicken, eggs are the most rich protein sources. But even vegetarians do meet up the daily recommended protein in their diet. Protein is present in majority of the foods though they are not obviously the richest sources when compared to the non-vegetarian food.
The vegetarian protein sources that provide the first class proteins or what we call the quality amino acids are soy protein, dairy products as milk, cheese, paneer and curd. Let’s discuss them in some detail.
Soy Protein: Soy is considered as the best food that complements the non-vegetarian foods in taste. Soy is a vegetarian protein that provides all essential amino acids that are required by the body to function. Though it has to be in moderation for men as it promotes female hormone production, men can still consume it in limited amounts. Soy protein sources are soybean, soy milk, soy granules and soy chunks to name a few.
Nuts: Nuts as almonds, cashews, peanuts also provide protein along with the good fats that protect us from the major illnesses of cardiovascular system. A handful of nuts is what is recommended per day for healthy living.
Peas: While peas certainly aren’t the most popular vegetable protein in the world, the little green balls are a pretty decent source of protein. Many vegan based protein powders use pea protein as one of the sources, but even eating whole peas offers about 10 grams of protein per cup.
Black Beans: These power packs though do not provide all essential amino acids they have amazingly high protein amount, at 7 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Along with this they are high on fiber and packed with antioxidants for good health.
Dairy Products: Still controversial for their demarcation as vegetarian or non-vegetarian protein, they form a major component and a good source of first class quality protein. For e.g. a glass of milk around 200 ml provides a whooping protein of 8 g. Along with a good protein source it is abundant in calcium, required for bone health.
Protein Sources for Vegetarians
Vegetarians often feel left out that there are not much protein options available in their diet as compared to their non-vegetarian counterparts. Chicken, eggs, lean meats, red meats, fishes are popularly known as the good sources of protein. The good news is that there are plenty of protein options available for vegetarians to meet the daily protein requirement. Contrary to the belief an average individual only requires approximately one gram of protein per kg of body weight to meet the daily protein requirement intake. Extra protein gets stored as fat in the body.
Protein helps in the building of muscle fiber and for various other functions of the body. Protein is required by the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of all cells. It is also essential for the synthesis of antiboidies which fight infection and is the main nutrient for our hair, nails etc.
Best Vegetarian Protein Sources
Yogurt: Yogurt and Greek yogurt both are healthy options for protein. One cup of yogurt can provide you with 14 gm of protein and more ever with other nutrition as well. Opt for a plain yogurt than the sweetened and flavored one as it is less in sugar and other additives. Yogurt boosts bone health, promotes colon health and boosts immunity. Greek yogurt contains more protein than the regular yogurt.
Soybean: Soyabean is one of the richest vegetarian protein source and is rich in carbohydrates, fats and other important vitamins and minerals. Men should eat less of soy products as they are high in female hormones and excess consumption could cause man boobs. Other soy products are equally healthy for protein. Like tofu, soymilk etc are all healthy sources of protein. (more…)— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo