Most people assume that meat, poultry and eggs are the best protein sources. However, there are many non-animal products that can provide all of the healthy protein that our bodies need. Vegetarians have found that many whole foods provide just as much protein as a steak or a serving of chicken. It is best to get protein from whole foods, but many protein supplements are available that are totally vegan and provide as much protein as animal sources.
The following whole foods are packed with protein and are suitable for vegetarians:
Black beans are a great source of protein for those who are looking for vegan protein sources. One-half cup of canned black beans has 110 calories, only one gram of fat and seven grams of protein. Also, if you combine black beans with rice you will get the amino acids that you get from animal proteins. These are the amino acids that are lacking in most plant based proteins. Black beans are also very filling and a great source of fiber.
Often referred to as a whole grain, quinoa is actually the seed of a green leafy plant. Quinoa is easy to prepare and can be used in any recipe that calls for white rice. It is a complete protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids. It is high in fiber and gluten free. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 170 calories and seven grams of protein.
Almonds and other Nuts
Some people shy away from nuts because of their high fat content. However, almonds provide the type of fat that is good for your health. One ounce of almonds contains six grams of protein which is twelve percent of the daily recommended amount. Almonds are also packed with Vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
If you need a little extra protein aside from whole food sources there are many vegan supplements available that are derived from non-animal sources. The following are a few vegan protein supplements that can be a great source of protein for anyone.
Soy protein powder
Soy protein powder is a byproduct of the soybean and contains amino acids for muscle growth. However, many doctors now advise not to eat any soy products that have not been fermented. Unfermented soy is not healthy generally.
Hemp protein powder
Hemp protein powder is a plant protein source that is derived from the hemp seed. It is easily digested and rich in protein.
Brown rice protein
Brown rice protein is high in fiber and filled with B vitamins. However, it is not a complete protein alone. If paired with a powder that contains enhanced amino acids or a food such as tofu or beans, you will get the nutrients necessary for muscle growth.
As with brown rice protein, pea protein needs to be paired with another protein source such as beans or quinoa. It is easily digested and great for those who may be lactose intolerant.
If you are considering adding more protein to your diet using a vegan source, remember that whole foods are the healthiest choice. There are also many vegan protein supplements available that are high in protein as well as many vitamins and minerals. Be sure to follow dosage instructions, and experiment to see which supplement is best for you.
There are many vegan alternatives to whey protein. However, you will not never get the full amino acid profile found in a high quality, grassfed whey protein as you would in a vegan alternative. Most whey protein contains little lactose, so even those with milk sensitivity can usually take them with no issues. When looking for the biggest "bang for your buck" as far as bioavailable protein, nothing beats whey. But always choose organic, grass fed whey protein for optimal health.
Find good quality whey protein in your local natural foods store, or look online in places like HERE .
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