Have you decided to go vegan? While going vegan or vegetarian can be healthy, it sometimes leads to a lack of protein in the system (that’s what most people believe!). Protein is called the building block of the body that promotes muscle strength, satiety and weight loss. People who are planning to turn vegan are most of the time afraid that they will miss out on proteins. However, that’s not the case.
While our minds immediately think about steak, eggs and chicken when we say protein, the list is not limited to these foods. Even if you choose to swear off meat and dairy, there are plenty of protein sources you can add to your plant-based diet.
Why protein rich foods should be a part of your diet?
Proteins are building blocks of your body called amino acids, which are essential for cell growth and development. Did you know that major organs of our body are primarily made of proteins? Even your skin and hair. According to a study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, less consumption of protein can negatively affect your muscle and physical strength, especially in older adults. On the other hand, including a diet high in protein can improve muscle strength and aid weight loss.
Whether or not you are a vegan, an adequate intake of protein is a must for your body. However, if you have been struggling with finding the right sources of protein ever since you turned vegan, worry not!
Protein-rich foods for vegans
Integrative health coach and nutritionist Neha Ranglani shared the best sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians with Health Shots. Here are 5 protein-rich sources for vegans and vegetarians that can help:
1. Chia seeds
Once a niche ingredient, chia seeds have become popular and are now easily available. Ranglani says that chia seeds are a complete source of protein, which means that it contains amino acids. They are also high in omega-3 fats, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals, all of which can help you become stronger.
The super-grain quinoa is another wonder food that has been gaining popularity for its numerous health benefits. Ranglani explains that quinoa is a pseudo cereal – plants that produce fruits or seeds, which are consumed as grains but technically are neither true cereal grains nor grasses. Pseudo cereals are typically high in protein and gluten-free. Ranglani calls quinoa “a good source of protein, which has a good amount of fibre that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.”
3. Hemp seeds
Another excellent source of protein, according to the health coach, is hemp seeds. Not only are they a good source of protein, but they also contain antioxidants, phytonutrients and other vitamins, and minerals. “They have a perfect ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which is 3:1. It can be a great addition to your smoothie and salads.”
This versatile food is believed to be the perfect substitute for cottage cheese. “Organic tofu made from organic soybeans is a complete source of protein along with iron, calcium, magnesium and a super substitute for paneer,” says Ranglani.
The last food on Neha Ranglani’s list of protein-rich foods for vegans is chickpeas. She explains that they are not a complete source of protein but they are a good source, nonetheless. Chickpeas are also rich in fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium, and so many other minerals, which can help resolve a lot of health issues.