Best Sources Of Protein For Vegan Diet

Protein is essential for muscle growth and the repair of body tissue. Consuming complete proteins is vital for body function. A complete protein has all 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and therefore your body requires all essential amino acids to function correctly. Individuals who follow veganism may struggle to consume all 9 amino acids as vegetables typically do not contain them. Food derived from meat, on the other hand, typically contains a complete protein profile. 

However there are multiple sources for which you can get your protein hit and still follow the vegan diet. And if a wide variety of these foods are consumed, it will mean that your body will receive enough protein for optimal body function. These examples are the following:

Quinoa

Quinoa is a seed that comes in a variety of colours. This is a complete protein, therefore contains all 9 amino acids that are essential in the diet and for muscle growth and repair. Quinoa holds the status as a superfood – this results in high demand and quinoa can be bought in most UK supermarkets. There is 4g of protein per 100g of quinoa – it’s more nutrient-dense than oatmeal and rice, and therefore a much healthier option.

Tofu

Derived from soybean, tofu has been a popular choice as a vegetable protein for many years. Popular cooking methods are stir-fry and baking. Soybeans are used to make soy milk, which is the most popular alt-milk in the market due to soy’s high protein to low-calorie ratio. It is high in amino acids as well as calcium and iron. There is 8gs of protein per 100g of tofu. When the soybeans are processed, tofu is commonly pressed into blocks. It is a low-calorie food source and often eaten by vegans. 

Oats

As a complex carbohydrate, oats are a popular choice for most people’s diets. Complex carbohydrates release consistent energy throughout the day and are a preferred choice for breakfast. Oats are high in double and insoluble fibre and therefore help lower cholesterol. They are also high in protein – per 100g, there is 10g of protein in oats. 

Vegetables

Vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense food sources a person can possibly eat and are also typically high in protein. Examples include spinach, broccoli, asparagus and sweetcorn. These all contain high protein as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. They are also all low-calorie options as a source of protein when compared with food such as steak, therefore should not be neglected in a balanced diet.

Chickpeas

This food source contains 19.5g of protein per 100g and is a great source of vegan-friendly protein. Chickpeas greatly assist the digestive system in function and reduce the risk of many diseases due to being high in antioxidants. They are furthermore high in iron, zinc and a range of B vitamins. 

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

For every kilogram of your body weight, it’s recommended that you consume 0.75g of protein. So an adult weighing 64kg would need 48g (64 x 0.75g) of protein a day. 

Many vegans struggle to get this much protein in their diet, but a few worry about too high a protein intake! There is some evidence that suggests that too much protein could be bad for you. But the research has primarily concentrated on diets high in animal protein such as red meats and dairy. Studies show that those with existing kidney problems may be at risk if they eat too much protein, but for most healthy people, it can be beneficial in preventing muscle loss. 

Vegan Protein in the Diet

A person looking to lead a vegan-friendly diet and eating the recommended daily intake of protein should always make sure they vary food sources. This is in order to get the range of nutrients contained in the above foods, as well as many other foods that are high in protein. Recommended protein levels will vary due to a person’s age, body composition and possible health conditions. Therefore it is important a person seeks medical guidance and pays attention to information on the packaging of foods if they’re unsure if they are meeting the required protein intake on a daily basis.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-tofu#heart-health

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-sources-protein-vegans

https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/vegetables-high-in-protein.php

https://dietitianwithoutborders.com/does-broccoli-have-more-protein-than-steak/