Vegan Lifestyle

Vegan Proteins: A Complete Guide

Vegan Proteins - Complete Guide

Vegan Proteins: A Complete Guide

More and more people are giving up meat, store shelves are full of plant-based alternatives, and sections with vegan dishes appear on the menu of cafes. Reasons for moving away from traditional diets vary. Someone follows ethical, religious, or environmental considerations. Others are convinced that a plant-based diet will make them healthier.

The popularity of veganism is growing, but some still do not believe that a meat-free diet can be complete. The question that every vegan has heard at least once: “Where do you get protein?”. After all, it is an integral part of the diet, which builds, restores, and maintains the structure of the body. But vegan sources of protein that we will discuss in this article are enough to avoid deficiency.  Before moving towards the vegan proteins let’s discuss some side effects of avoiding protein in your diet.

What will happen from a lack of protein in the human body?

An adult male needs 55 grams of protein per day. The recommended norm for women is 45 g. With active sports, the need increases. If the body is regularly deficient in protein, serious disturbances in the functioning of internal organs and systems begin. Among them:

  • anaemia;
  • decreased immunity;
  • apathy;
  • slowing down the functions of thinking;
  • loss of muscle mass;
  • deterioration in the quality of skin, hair, and nails.

With a lack of protein, a person feels constant fatigue and dizziness, and suffers from insomnia. The hormonal background is disturbed, which causes disorders of the nervous system – irritability and aggression.

What can replace animal protein, and where is it better to take for a vegan

Refusal to eat meat, fish, and dairy products is not associated with poor health. Many grains, beans, and vegetables are rich in protein.

Nutritionists offer the TOP 12 best vegetable protein sources for vegetarians:

1.   Tofu

Bean curd is the universal basis of a protein diet for vegans. It is suitable for any dish, from casseroles to dessert cocktails. It enriches the body not only with protein but also with calcium, which is necessary for strengthening bones. Tofu satisfies hunger well and helps to maintain a feeling of satiety for a long time.

2.   Lentils

Protein is especially important for vegan athletes, as a physical activity requires more energy. Lentils provide the human body with a large amount of protein and 9 essential amino acids. The grains of this legume are also rich in other elements that are difficult to obtain without meat – iron, copper, and B vitamins. It is recommended to use lentil soups and cereals when gaining muscle mass.

3.   Nuts and seeds

It is a hearty and healthy snack, and a good addition to vegan salads and vegetable stews. The composition of nuts and seeds contains from 2 to 5 g of protein for every 100 g. The most useful for a vegan diet are pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and almonds – in addition to a significant amount of protein, they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

4.   Brown rice

Brown rice contains substances that are difficult to obtain from food without eating meat such as vitamins B, K, calcium and iron. Using cereal in the diet, vegans eliminate the risk of anaemia and chronic fatigue.

5.   Beans

Thanks to its high protein content, it makes any meal satisfying. Bean fibre improves digestion and lowers cholesterol levels. The product is universal for cooking – soups, stews, pastries are prepared from it. In a vegan diet, any variety will be useful – white, red, yellow, but black beans are especially high in protein.

6.   Cashew

This delicious nut is rich in vegetable protein and unsaturated fatty acids – Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9. Vegan cashew butter is a complete alternative to butter and cheese for sandwiches. Nuts can be added to cereals, salads, desserts. For vegan athletes, they serve as a convenient snack between workouts.

7.   Tempe

This soy product is similar in texture to tofu, but has twice the protein. In addition, tempeh contains bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive tract. The product is rich in substances that actively remove toxins from the body. Tempeh can be fried in vegetable oil, baked with vegetables, used as an addition to salads and vegan pasta.

8.   Quinoa

South American cereal grains are 20% protein. In this respect, the product surpasses all cereal crops, including rice and buckwheat. Quinoa vegetable protein refers to the “complete”, that is, containing 21 amino acids at once. Healthy cereals find many uses in the vegan menu – cereals, vegetable cutlets, soups.

9.   Buckwheat

Buckwheat supplies the body with protein, iron, B vitamins. It is also necessary for vascular health. Moreover, vegetable fibres of buckwheat perfectly cleanse the intestines from toxins.

10.   Broccoli

As part of a green vegetable, there is a lot of protein, equal in value to the protein of a chicken egg. It contains the amino acids lysine and isoleucine, which are important for supporting immunity and energy tone of the body. Thanks to the abundance of B vitamins, broccoli supports the health of the nervous system, hair and skin.

Summary table of vegetable protein in products and its amount

In order for the body to receive daily norms of proteins, you need to use several plant sources daily at once. Vegetables, nuts and beans go well together. Soy products can be combined with cereals, pasta and vegetables. With legumes, they are worse absorbed by the body.

Product The amount of protein (in grams per 100 g)
Tofu 12
Lentils 9
Nuts and seeds 3-5
Brown rice 7.5
Beans 7
Cashew 3
Tempe 20
Quinoa 16
Buckwheat 13
Broccoli 3

When composing a vegetarian and vegan diet, it is important to consider not only the quantity, but also the quality of protein. It depends on the digestibility and content of essential amino acids – substances that are not produced in the body. The quality of vegetable proteins is always lower than that of animal proteins, since vegetables, beans, and grains contain fewer amino acids.

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