You need protein for the growth and repair of muscles, organ tissue and DNA, production of white blood cells, enzymes and hormones. Protein is rich in B vitamins which are good for the nervous system and helps us to cope with stress and reduce anxiety. Signs of deficiency include anxiety and skin problems. Vegans need to eat a variety of plant foods to get all the required amino acids that the body needs. As a qualified Nutritional Therapist, I have a good knowledge of the best vegan sources of protein.
Here are the best vegan sources of protein:
The following foods are complete proteins containing all the essential amino acids.
Tofu – is made from soy bean mashed into a block. It is a great source of protein. However I would not recommend eating a lot of tofu as it contains phytooestrogens which mimic the hormone oestrogen. It can mess with your hormones, especially if you are a man. It is popularly believed that they eat a lot of tofu in the East, but actually they eat mainly fermented soy beans such as tempeh, miso and natto.
Quinoa – is a seed that is a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids. It is quick to cook in around 10 minutes. You can use it in place of a grain with a main meal or in a salad.
Amaranth – is also a complete protein. It is sweet and makes a tasty amaranth porridge in place of the usual oat porridge for breakfast.
Buckwheat – is a complete protein as well. It goes well in a main meal with carrots, brocolli and a veggie burger.
Hemp seeds – You can use hemp in the form of hemp protein powder. It is great added to smoothies or on your porridge for breakfast. It is one of the best sources of vegan protein as it is a complete protein.
Chia seeds – you can sprinkle chia seeds on your breakfast porridge, add to smoothies or make chia pudding for a tasty dessert.
Other Good Sources of Protein
The following foods are not complete proteins and may have one essential amino acid missing. Therefore you need to eat these proteins with other plant-based foods such as chickpeas, nuts, seeds and beans.
Lentils – are a good source of protein. There is 20g of protein in 75g of lentils, which is 1 or your 2-3 daily portions of protein. It is delicious in a red lentil dhal. However they are not a complete protein so you need to eat them with rice or bread to get all the essential amino acids.
Almonds – these contain the high amount of protein of any of the nuts. You can have a handful of almonds as a snack, add them to cereal, oat flapjacks or in smoothies. You can also grind them up with other nuts to make a great base for raw vegan desserts such as raw mango cheesecake.
Chickpeas – you can add chickpeas to curries for extra protein or make hummus which can be used as a dip or spread.
Beans – you can also add beans to curries for additional protein or with a baked potato. You can make a delicious vegan spaghetti bolognese with kidney beans. Also you could make a tasty butter bean spread.
Copyright: peangdao / 123RF Stock Photo