Vegan Protein source

Protein is a macronutrient that contributes to the proper functioning of our body. For those following a vegan diet, it may be challenging to obtain protein from food. In this article, we talk about good vegan protein sources essential for a healthy diet.

How much protein should we consume daily?

An adult should consume 0.75 g of protein per day for each kilogram of body weight. The NZ Nutrition Foundation recommends that 10 to 35 per cent of the daily calories be protein. Vegans can obtain these protein amounts from a plant-based source. 

Why is protein important?

Protein makes up about 17% of the body’s weight and is a major element of skin, muscles, heart, brain, hair, nails and eyes.

Protein helps our immune system to create antibodies that fight infections, keeping us healthy. It also has a role in the metabolism of fat and the regulation of blood sugar.

Protein is a reliable source of vitamins and minerals like B vitamins complex and zinc. Protein is broken into 20 amino acids called the building blocks of protein. Out of twenty amino acids, nine are essential amino acids that cannot be produced by our body but are obtained from food. 

 

Because vegans cannot get protein and amino acids from animal-sourced foods, they need to obtain them from a varied diet that combines grains with vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.

Examples of good vegan protein sources

Quinoa

Good vegan protein source quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain in black, white, red and mixed variants. It is a complete protein source which contains all 20 amino acids.

With close to 4 g of protein per 100 g of cooked serving, quinoa contains Omega-3 acids and more monounsaturated fat when compared to common cereals. This protein can boost your metabolism, increasing the number of calories your body burns.

Quinoa is a perfect choice for vegans and an alternative for grains like couscous and rice.

Vegetables

Good vegan protein source vegetables

Asparagus, broccoli and spinach are some vegetables with the highest protein content.

Asparagus

Asparagus provides around 2 g of protein per six spears and is available in green, purple and white varieties. This vegetable helps maintain and strengthen your muscle mass, especially if you are physically active.

This spear-like vegetable has other benefits for health like:

  • it acts as a prebiotic, helping the good bacteria from our digestive system to prosper and multiply;
  • helps generate red blood cells due to the folate it contains;
  • fights inflammation thanks to compounds called polyphenols.

You can enjoy asparagus in plant-based protein meals that will give you the energy you need for carrying out your daily tasks.

Spinach 

This energy-provider vegetable offers 2 g of protein per 80 g serving and is usually available in three different varieties: Smooth leaf, Savoy, and Semi-Savoy. 

The protein in spinach can help us maintain bone mass as we grow older and decrease the risk for fractures and osteoporosis. 

Spinach is rich in carotenoids betacarotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have an anti-inflammatory effect, can fight cancer and contribute to preserving healthy eyesight.

Spinach is delicious in vegan meals by combining it with squash, pine nuts, red beans or sweet potato.

Broccoli

The 3 g of protein in 80g of broccoli has several benefits for your health, including keeping your weight under control. 

Protein is a filling macronutrient, helping you feel full with less food. Whether you choose green or purple broccoli, eating it steamed regularly may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease because it decreases the cholesterol in the body.

You can enjoy broccoli in one or more of the vegan recipes available on the internet.

Nuts

nuts is one vegan protein source

Nuts are considered “superfoods” due to their multiple benefits for health.

The protein they contain can help your body recover faster after suffering an injury because protein is the basic building block of organs and tissues. 

Nuts can be consumed raw as a healthy snack or added to different dishes and desserts. 

Here are some of the nuts that you can include in your diet to seize the benefits of their protein content:

Almonds – 3 g of protein in every six almonds

Brazil nuts – 4 g of protein in every six Brazil nuts

Cashew nuts – 3 g of protein per 10 cashew nuts

Chia seeds

Vegan protein source chia seed

Chia seeds provide 2 g of protein per tablespoon and represent a versatile ingredient that you can add to salads, soups, breakfast or desserts. Because they turn into a gel when they absorb liquids like water, Chia seeds can also be used as egg replacers or bases to thicken sauces.

The protein in Chia seeds can decrease the deterioration and the weakening of muscles triggered by ageing. Sarcopenia is one of the causes of bone fractures and bone frailty in older adults. Eating protein can decrease the risk of Sarcopenia.

Chia is also a good source of minerals such as calcium and magnesium that promote healthy bones.

Tofu

vegan protein source tofu

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food made from fresh soya milk. 100 g of Tofu provides 8 g of protein that helps your body function properly.

Tofu has the quality of absorbing the savour of the ingredients cooked with it. It is an inspired choice for preparing a wide range of plant-based protein meals, from soups and stews to burgers and baked and stir-fried dishes.

Aside from protein, Tofu also contains isoflavones, antioxidants that fight free radicals responsible for several chronic diseases.

Beans

Good vegan protein source beans

Because variety is the key to a healthy diet, you should get your protein from various sources. Beans such as edamame (or boiled soybeans), lentils, red kidney, black and navy beans and chickpeas can provide between 15 and 32 per cent of the daily recommended dose of protein.

 

Protein is an essential macronutrient for our body, and consuming it regularly will help us stay healthy and full of energy throughout the day. 

For more information regarding vegan protein sources, you can send an email, give me a call or stop by the shop.