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Top Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans

Posted by on February 13, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments

People hear “protein” and they immediately think of chicken or beef. While meat is a good source of protein, there are plants that can provide protein too. It’s how vegans and vegetarians get their protein fix. The challenge is getting enough protein in your diet.

If you’re a vegan, or planning to reduce your consumption of animal products, you should take steps to ensure you’re getting enough protein. Otherwise, you might develop protein deficiency. While it’s not life-threatening, it can lead to more serious problems.

So, what are the best sources of plant-based protein? Sports Samurai is here to tell you more!

Why is Protein Important?

Protein is an important aspect of our nutrition. It’s the primary component of our skin, muscles, internal organs, eyes, nails, and hair. It’s also essential in the development of antibodies and it helps in regulating blood sugar and fat metabolism.

According to the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI), adults require 0.75g of protein per kilogram of the person’s body weight. But as with everything in life, too much or too little is dangerous. You have to find the best way of getting the right amount of protein into your diet.

What are the Best Plant-Based Protein Sources?

There are dozens of plant-based products that are packed with protein. And some of them have fewer calories too. See below:

1. Soy Products (Edamame, Tempeh, Tofu)

One of the best sources of protein are soy products like edamame beans, firm tofu, and tempeh. Tofu is extremely versatile and is often used as a substitute for meat. You can use it to make kung pao chicken or meatless burgers. You won’t even notice the difference because tofu takes on the flavour of the dish.

2. Chickpeas

Chickpeas is another excellent source of protein. Half a cup of cooked chickpeas can contain 7.25g of protein. You can eat chickpeas hot or cold. Like tofu, it’s also versatile and can be used in curries and stews.

Chickpeas are also used as a base for hummus. This delicious spread or dip can be used as a delicious and nutritious substitute for butter.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is technically a seed. However, it’s usually referred to as a grain and is often a substitute for pasta and rice. Quinoa is a complete protein as it carries all nine essential amino acids. It’s also packed with nutrients like fibre, iron, magnesium, and manganese.

One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8g of protein. This wonder seed can be enjoyed in countless ways. You can add it to milk and eat it like cereal or sprinkle it on your lunch salad.

4. Dark, Leafy Vegetables

A lot of dark, leafy green vegetables contain protein. Now you won’t be able to reach your protein requirement for the day if you just eat these vegetables alone. It’s a different story if you combine them with other plant-based protein sources.

For example, a salad that contains broccoli, kale, mushrooms, or cabbage already has a lot of protein. Add some quinoa or eat a tempeh on the side and you’ll have another layer of protein.

5. Nuts

Nuts are another wonderful source of protein. A handful of nuts is around 6g of protein. Aside from being full of protein, nuts are also excellent sources of unsaturated fats. The Mayo Clinic says these heart-healthy fats can lower your cholesterol levels.

You’re also spoiled for choice with nuts due to their wide variety. When it comes to protein levels, almonds have the most grams per serving. It’s quickly followed by pistachios. You can eat them as snacks or sprinkle them on salads or vegetable dishes. You can also choose from cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts for more variety.

How Can Vegans Add More Protein to their Diet?

Being a vegan can be a challenge. You have to make an effort to ensure that you get all the vitamins and minerals the body requires. Fortunately, there are simple and easy things you can do to add protein to your daily intake.

  • Consume the right foods. With meat off the table, you have to work double time in selecting plant-based protein sources. Make sure you have legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouts, dark, leafy vegetables, and soy-based food on hand.
  • Sprinkle it on. Nutritionists say one of the easiest and simplest ways to get more protein in your diet is to sprinkle it on your food or smoothies. You can add superfood spirulina or nutritional yeast to shakes, oatmeal, salads, and various dishes.
  • Your body is hungriest and weakest when you wake up. You can start the day on a better note by eating protein for breakfast. You should also end the day with protein. Eating protein before sleeping will help the body repair any damage it incurred during the day.

Final Word

It’s vital that you meet your daily protein requirement. This can be a challenge if you’re a vegan. But meat isn’t the only source of this specific nutrient. You can also get protein from plants, seeds, and grains. The trick is to choose the best sources.

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