The best protein sources for vegans and vegetarians

The best protein sources for vegans and vegetarians

You might have heard how important it is for vegans to plan their meals ahead to ensure they get enough dietary protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12. With proper protein-based plant food, vegans can eat balanced diets that support a healthy body. But are all vegan sources of protein equal? 

The answer is, they are not. Some plant proteins, such as soybeans and quinoa, are complete proteins. They contain all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), which your body can’t make, so they need to come from your diet. Some other plant proteins are incomplete, meaning they are missing some of the essential amino acids. Therefore, vegans should make sure their diet provides enough variety throughout the day and they eat different types of plant proteins and combinations to obtain a full range of all of the essential amino acids their body needs.

Which plant-based foods are high in protein?

Here is a list of some of the best plant-based foods for protein:

Soy, tofu, tempeh and edamame

Soy products are among the richest sources of protein in a plant-based diet. The protein content varies with how the soy is prepared. For example:

  • Firm tofu (soybean curds) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup (1.1 dl) and it can be a versatile addition to a number of meals such as sandwiches and soups.
  • Edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8,5 g of protein per ½ cup (1.1 dl)
  • Tempeh contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup (1.1 dl)

Beans and legumes

Lentils, mung beans, chickpeas, black beans, and navy beans, are all great examples of plant-based protein. Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup (1.1 dl), in addition to fiber, and key nutrients such as iron and potassium. Beans and legumes can be added to stews, curries, salads, or rice to give an extra portion of protein.

Both soy and peanuts (which are also a legume) tend to be allergenic, so opt for other vegan proteins if you don’t tolerate them well.

Almonds

Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup (1.1 dl). They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.

Spirulina

Spirulina is blue-green algae with around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. It is also rich in nutrients, such as iron, some B vitamins and manganese. Spirulina can be added to water, smoothies, sprinkled over salad or snacks to increase their protein content.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein grain. Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup (2.3 dl). This grain is also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese. 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are a complete source of protein (2 g of protein per tablespoon).

They are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can be added to a smoothie, sprinkled on top of plant-based yogurt, or soaked in water or almond milk to make a pudding.

Hemp seeds

Hempseed contains a good amount of complete, highly-digestible protein, as well as health-promoting essential fatty acids in a ratio optimal for human health (approximately 25 grams of protein per 100 grams).

Here at Inika Superfoods some of the great sources of protein in our superfood products come from: hemp seed protein, pea protein (a great well-tolerated option), whole grain oats and nuts like almonds and cashews. 

If you follow a vegan diet, you may find it challenging to get enough protein. Eating a variety of protein-containing foods is best. Be mindful that our bodies need protein from the foods we eat to build and maintain our bones, body tissues, muscles and skin. Protein plays an important role in producing hormones, and supporting neurotransmitter function as well. 

 

Love,

Inika Superfoods

 

Written by Mona Rasi, Holistic Nutritionist CNP


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1 comment
  • Intressant inlägg! Många bra mattips!

    Hanna on

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