A vegetarian diet does not have to be low in protein. However, you have to actively replace animal foods with vegetables rich in protein, which is completely possible. In this article, we show you the main ones.
The cons of animal protein
Meat, eggs, cheese, or milk are foods rich in proteins of high biological value. This means that when we consume them, we provide our organism with precious substances known as essential amino acids (a component of proteins, indispensable for human beings and which we can only obtain through diet).
Since nutrients are not found in isolation in food, it is essential to note that proteins from animals are usually accompanied by fat, especially saturated, except for oily fish. At the same time, those from legumes, cereals, or nuts, often share a nutritional profile with antioxidants, fiber and carbohydrates.
Mushrooms, energy from the earth
A delicious side dish with which you can add 4.25 g of protein to your diet for every 100 g of mushrooms. This amount makes mushrooms a useful ally when you want to put meat, eggs or milk aside and start a vegetarian diet.
Extra: Mix them with broccoli and corn to make a quality protein.
Chickpeas, a must
Chickpeas are a fundamental source of protein in the vegetarian diet thanks to their content in essential amino acids. Besides, it is a food rich in fiber, which promotes intestinal transit and keeps constipation away.
Extra: To avoid gas, leave them to soak the night before.
Peanuts, protein snack
A bowl of peanuts (100 g) provides about 24 g of protein. An amount that places them at the top of the nuts in terms of protein content. Pistachios closely follow it with 19 g per 100 g.
Extra: Be careful with the amounts. 100 g have 567 calories, while the same weight of cooked pasta has only 130 calories.
Lentils, for vegan tables
Its high protein content has made these legumes one of the favorite dishes among vegans and vegetarians. Their vegetable proteins are incomplete. But if they are combined with cereals like rice, they become high biological value proteins.
Extra: They are very digestive, if you combine them with the right foods. Discard ham or chorizo.
Soy, the vegetable meat
This legume stands out from the rest in terms of its protein content. Incorporating two daily glasses of a soya drink into your diet provides 12.4 g per day of vegetable protein.
Extra: Among its health benefits is its isoflavone content that relieves the symptoms of menopause.
Quinoa, the pseudo cereal with extra protein
This pseudo cereal contains all the essential amino acids for the body and a lot of fiber with a satiating effect. It is a gluten-free food, so it can enrich the regular diet of a celiac.
Extra: As it contains no saturated fats or gluten, it is effortless to digest.
Peas, to lose weight
In addition to its remarkable protein content, its fiber content helps you control your weight by promoting a feeling of satiety. Remember that its proteins are not complete, and it is necessary to combine them with cereals. For example, with rice.
Extra: The healthiest way to cook them is steamed. However, no more than 5 minutes (so that they do not lose their vitamins).
Spirulina, sea proteins
This seaweed contains about 3 times more protein than chicken. With each spoonful of dried Spirulina, you are adding 7 g of protein to your diet. Also, it is a good source of vitamin B12, a weak point of vegan diets, which makes this food a good substitute for animal foods.
Extra: You can add it to an omelette, a shake or a sauce.
Vegetable protein is a particularly interesting type of protein because it is low in fat and cholesterol. Besides, it is extraordinarily rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is especially important for preventing constipation and maintaining an optimal intestinal transit. Also, vegetable proteins are easier to digest than those of animal origin, they provide us with antioxidants that help repair the cellular oxidation generated during exercise and they do not contain allergens such as gluten or lactose, making them a good option in cases of food intolerance.
In many households, meat and dairy consumption is still extremely high; but reducing that animal protein – when it is too present on menus – can have significant benefits for cardiovascular health:
- In some cases, it reduces levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- It decreases the risk of hypertension.
- It keeps away diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
However, it is essential to supply this nutrient with its vegetable version. Foods such as those listed in this article are a valuable source of protein. In any case, we advise you to consult your doctor about the need to take supplements to compensate for possible nutritional deficiencies.
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