Top 5 Prime Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
One of the major concerns about going on vegetarian and vegan diets is that they may lack sufficient protein.
As we all know, protein is essential for the main bodily functions. It's responsible for muscle growth, nail health, and even hair maintenance among many other things. However, many experts agree that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can provide you with all the nutrients your body needs to function well including proteins.
That said, certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others. Here are the top 5 best plant-based foods that contain a higher amount of protein per serving.
Seitan is a great plant-based protein source for both vegetarians and vegans. It's made using gluten, the main protein found in wheat. Many people who went from eating a diet rich in meat really like eating seitan because it resembles the look and texture of meat when it is cooked.
Some people also refer to it as "wheat meat or wheat gluten". Seitan is a rich source of plant-based protein providing about 21 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams). It also contains minerals like selenium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.
Though seitan is high in protein, by itself, it's not a complete protein. It needs other essential amino acids to make it complete. As one seitan cooking method, cook it in soy sauce to add gluten's missing amino acid, lysine.
2. Edamame or Soybeans
Edamame beans are immature fresh green soybeans comes shelled with a slightly sweet grassy taste. Edamame is one of the best and essential protein sources for vegetarian and vegan diets. In every cup of edamame (155 g), you can find 17 grams of protein.
They're also a good source of fiber and rich in vitamin K, C, and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Edamame beans are considered a complete protein source because they contain all the essential amino acids that our human bodies can't produce.
Beans are an excellent source of protein apart from meat. As meaty as they are, beans are fat-free and cholesterol-free while loaded with dietary fiber, folate, and B vitamin. They are known to help tame both insulin and blood sugar levels, thanks to their soluble fiber content.
And when it comes to beans, you can go any variety for the same or similar nutritional values. All beans, black read, and cannellini are good protein sources. Beans contain essential amino acids, which makes them a complete protein.
In addition to being high in protein, beans are also high in soluble fiber, which is proven effective in controlling hunger, bringing satiety, and maintaining your digestive health.
There are 24 grams of protein in 1/2 cup of cooked beans and about 25 grams of fiber (100 of recommended daily intake in the same portion of beans.
Beans also have nutrients that enhance heart, brain, and muscle health.
4. Chia Seeds
At 6 grams of protein and 23 grams of fiber per ounce (35 grams), chia seeds are a certified superfood, and one of the best complete protein sources for vegetarians and vegans.
They also contain essential omega-3 fatty acids; which helps to support heart and brain health. Overall chia seeds are very beneficial to the body.
Another superfood that contains plenty of protein is quinoa. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein. Though quinoa adds quality protein to plant-based diets, it's not something that's widely known.
Quinoa is typically referred to as a complex carb than protein and seen as a healthy alternative to white rice. This quinoa's unique place in people's diet can actually help more vegetarians and vegans alike pack in more protein.
Besides protein, quinoa is full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese, making them a terrific substitute for rice.
Though it's a perfect health food, if you are looking to lose weight, be sure to eat in moderation as they can pack in more calories than you think.