If you are considering starting a vegetarian or vegan diet, you could be wondering how you can still include the necessary protein in your diet. Rest assured, there are many different foods that contain a great deal of protein, along with providing a variety of other health benefits.
Protein is not only vital to every day body functioning, it is also important for brain functionality, recovery after workouts and general health. Protein breaks down amino acids in the body that promote cell growth and repair. Foods that are high in protein assist you in feeling fuller for longer. There are many different plant-based foods that contain the protein you need to keep yourself healthy. Consider adding the following Certfied Organic foods into your diet:
All nuts contain both healthy fats and protein, which make them vital to a plant-based diet. They are known to increase brain function and are highly nutritious. Almonds contain 7 grams of protein per cup and are a great snack that can be eaten on their own or added to salads and stirfrys.
Broccoli is not only a great source of protein, it also contains 30% of your daily calcium requirements in just one cup. Along with this, it contains both B and C vitamins. By eating steamed broccoli, you can be provided with cholesterol-lowering benefits and it has been identified as a food that has a strong positive impact on our body’s detoxification system. It can easily be added to stirfrys, casseroles and soups.
The nutritional benefits of buckwheat are numerous, with studies proving that this grain is beneficial to cardiovascular health. It can also assist in blood sugar control, it helps prevent gallstones, it protects against heart disease, it has significant cardiovascular benefits for menopausal women and it is highly protective against childhood asthma. It can be used to make chilli and risotto.
Chia seeds are made up of 14% protein, which is quite high for a plant product. They deliver a large amount of nutrients and contain very few calories. As well as being high in antioxidants, the carbohydrates within the seeds are mainly fibre, which does not raise blood sugar. Due to the high fibre and protein content, chia seeds can also assist in weight loss. They also contain 18% of your daily calcium requirement, which is more than triple that of milk. Since chia seeds are flavourless, they can easily be added to smoothies or any meal.
Edamame is the preparation of young soybeans while they are still in the pod and is a popular appetizer at Japanese restaurants. They are not only filled with protein, but they also contain fibre and antioxidants that are vital to general health. They a versatile snack as they can be eaten hot or cold, and can be added to salads, soups and burgers.
Just one cup of peas contains roughly the same amount of protein as a cup of milk. They are also rich in leucine, which is an amino acid that is vital to metabolism and weight loss. This is something that is usually difficult to find in plant-based foods. By blending peas, pine nuts, mint and olive oil together and serving with pasta, you can create a protein rich, tasty meal.
Lentils add 9 grams of protein to your diet per half cup, and are a fast way for vegetarians and vegans to add protein to their diets. As well as being high in protein, lentils contain folate, iron and potassium. Anemia can be a common problem among vegetarians and vegans, and since lentils contain iron, they are a good way to increase both your protein and iron intake.
Quinoa is a popular superfood that is high in protein, fibre and minerals, and does not contain any gluten. Quinoa contains more fibre than most other grains and is perfect for those with gluten intolerance or those with gluten free diets. To be seen as a ‘complete’ protein, a food must contain all the essential amino acids. Many plant foods do not contain all of these and are unable to be defined as a complete protein. Quinoa is an exception to this, as it contains all of the essential amino acids, as well as being high in minerals and antioxidants that people usually do not get enough of. It is a great substitute for rice and can also be used to make muffins, biscuits, soups and salads.
TEMPEH AND TOFU
Foods made from soybeans are some of the highest sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Tempeh is a fermented form of soy that is easy to digest and is rich in probiotics, as well as containing 15 grams of protein in just half a cup. Tofu also contains high amounts of protein, and has become popular due to the fact it can add a rich, creamy or chewy texture to meals depending on whether it is soft or hard.