When it comes to protein, the most common is that people imagine a piece of red meat or a dozen eggs. Although it is true that they are sources of nutrients, not all people can or want to assimilate these foods. Those who lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, as well as people with certain types of food allergies, cannot assimilate animal protein, so they must resort to food with plant proteins to be able to nourish themselves properly.
Here we offer you a list of foods rich in vegetable proteins so that you can enjoy the benefits of these nutrients without harming your health.
Why should we consume protein?
Proteins are essential components for most of the vital processes of the body, so a diet lacking in these nutrients could be reflected in health deficiencies. Among some of its functions we can list the following:
- They create the antibodies that allow the body to fight infection.
- They regulate the expression of some genes, which could inhibit or enhance conditions related to genetic factors.
- They regulate cell division.
- Some proteins act as bio catalysts, accelerating essential metabolic functions.
- They keep the internal PH balanced.
- They are responsible for muscle contraction.
- They have an energy function, since if necessary; they can contribute up to 4 kcal per gram.
Not all have the same functions, so it is best to eat a varied diet that allows the body to absorb different types of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and in this way ensure optimal muscle and cell function. And metabolic.
In addition to its contribution of vitamins A and E, known for their antioxidant properties and for containing essential fatty acids for good cardiovascular health, nuts are foods rich in plant proteins. They have the advantage that most of them can be eaten raw, but also roasted, grated, ground, in the same way that they can be eaten alone or as part of salads or stews. Perhaps the detail to take into account for their consumption is that although they are rich in good fats, they also have a high level of calories.
Among the nuts with the highest protein content are raw peanuts, roasted almonds and pistachios (they have between 8 and 9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup). In addition, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and walnuts also have protein but to a lesser extent (4 to 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup).
It should be noted that although there are many industrialized products with nuts, especially in the form of energy bars, it will always be better to consume them in the most natural way possible, to avoid the consumption of added sugar and artificial preservatives that do not provide health benefits.
Foods such as soybeans, lentils, peas and dried beans are grouped under this name. They have in common a high fiber content that helps to generate a feeling of satiety, reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve intestinal transit. They can be prepared in stews, soups or creams.
For every 100 grams of any of these legumes, the protein contribution is 15 grams, except for soybeans, which can reach 30 grams of protein per 100 grams, which explains why it is so widely used in vegetarian diets. In fact, the power of soy as a food rich in plant protein has created a whole market for products “analogous” to meat, such as textured vegetable protein, tofu or vegetarian “ribs”. For its part, soy milk is also a good source of protein, since it has 50 grams per liter, not counting that many brands offer it fortified with calcium.
It is a meat substitute (in the style of soy “meat”), made with wheat gluten and is frequently used in preparations that require chicken because its texture is very similar. It can be prepared in batter, stew or fried, but it cannot be consumed by celiac. Every 100 grams of seitan contains 24 grams of vegetable protein.
It is one of the so-called “super foods” for its properties and benefits, among which its low cholesterol levels and its high fiber and protein intake stand out. Quinoa grains are used as substitutes for rice, but also in salads and even in desserts and drinks. Every 100 grams of quinoa contains 20 grams of vegetable protein, hence its consumption has become as popular as soybeans not only among vegetarians, but also among those who want to lead a healthy life.
Other foods that provide plant protein
Although its protein intake is much lower, that does not prevent its regular consumption. In fact, they can complement a varied and healthy diet:
- Artichokes, asparagus and broccoli: they are low in fat, contain vitamins of complex B and C as well as antioxidants, they can be included in multiple preparations and each one of them provides 3 grams of protein per 100 grams.
- Tender corn: it is rich in fiber, as well as iron, calcium and antioxidants. It is usually used as a companion in some preparations; however, its consumption should be moderate since it has a higher caloric intake. Every 100 grams of baby corn contains 3 grams of protein.
This article is merely informative, here we do not have the power to prescribe any medical treatment or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.