Protein Sources for Vegans

Science

“Veganism is defined as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, whether for food, clothing or any other purpose.” – unknown source.


Vegan nutrition or a vegan diet has become very popular nowadays. Most people choose to become vegan because of their health problems (diabetics, obese persons, etc) or for some ethical reasons (animal rights fighters, etc). When done right, vegan nutrition can bring you many health benefits, such as controlled blood sugar, weight losing, accumulated fat burning and improving your health and well-being in general.

A common concern about vegan nutrition is that it can lack protein as much as any other nutrients. A well planned vegan diet can provide you all the nutrients you need, and protein as well since we are talking about it. The good news is there are many tasty ways to enjoy vegan sources of protein. You must know that there are non-animal-based protein options, many being gluten-free, for those who live a vegan lifestyle or would like to incorporate more plants into their diet.


Meat and meat-based food usually contain slightly more protein than vegetable foods, but this does not automatically mean that they are a “better” source of protein. First, most people ingest more protein than their body needs, regardless of whether they eat the food of plant or animal origin. Second, meat and food based on meat are associated with serious health problems. There is no reason to put ourselves at an increased risk of very real and widespread problems such as cancer and blood vessel disease to avoid some phantom disease of protein deficiency.


Now, before we start talking about vegan diet protein sources, let’s give a short definition of protein and why is it so important to us. Protein is the building block of our body. Muscles are made of protein, but also the immune system and some hormones. Metabolism (consumption and construction) of protein is very active, and especially if we regularly engage in physical activity (which with a healthy diet must be part of a healthy lifestyle).


Here’s how much some of the protein-rich plants are:

  • integral rice (one cup) 6.5g
  • sesame seeds (half cup) 6.5g
  • oatmeal (one cup) 7g
  • sunflower seeds (¼ cups) 7.2g
  • quinoa (cooked) (1 cup) 8g
  • Azuki beans (cooked) (1 cup) 14g
  • beans (1 cup) 15g
  • nuts (¼ cups) 4.4g
  • almonds (¼ mugs) 7g
  • chia seeds (30g) 4.7g

It is very important to properly combine proteins since plant proteins are not complete: they do not contain all the essential amino acids. Different protein sources have different amino acid compositions. The closest to the ideal is quinoa, then beans. When considering proteins in a vegan diet, another important note is that plant proteins do not have bioavailability as animal proteins. Namely, when we say that 15g of protein is contained in a cup of beans, it is its composition and not the amount of protein available to us because our body has no way to completely take in all the proteins from plants.


The bioavailability of plant proteins is about 60%.

I’m Milica from Serbia, I graduated Spanish language and literature. I am very passionate about writing, cooking,music, traveling, philosophy, history and astrology. My Taurus soul helped me to stay strong throughout hard times and has refined taste for nice things in life.  I love to get to know other cultures and countries, traditional food and dances, meeting people and be on the go.

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