Top 10 Vegan Protein Foods
Protein forms the building blocks of our body, and it is necessary for maintaining and repairing tissues in our organs. It also has a role in other bodily functions, such as building and sustaining hormones and enzymes. That being said, it is one of the most complex nutrients, foundational to everyone’s general well-being.
According to studies, good protein intake can be an effective means to lose weight and gain muscle mass. It can also improve bone strength. In addition, protein decreases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol level, and osteoporosis. This makes protein a suitable addition to your diet or health program.
Protein also manages your immune system by creating antibodies that fight against infection. Overall, protein can provide several health benefits, such as strong bones, robust muscles, fast metabolism, a healthy immune system, and a robust skeletal and muscular system.
No wonder including protein in our daily diet is recommended by all the health and fitness experts worldwide. While there is a misconception that meat and dairy products are your only source of protein, fortunately, that’s not true. Instead, protein can be sourced from a variety of plant-based foods. Here are the top 10 vegan protein foods you can include in your daily diet.
Top 10 Sources of Natural Protein
Beans are a rich source of proteins. A single serving can give you around 15 grams of protein. They are great for your health as they also contain iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and loads of fibre.
There are a lot of varieties of beans like chickpeas, kidney beans, black means, pinto beans, peas, and peanuts. You can simply boil, roast, or sprout them and eat them as is or add them to your soups, wraps, sandwiches, or salads. If you are up for some tasty treats, you can blend them to create yummy dips or mash them up and make flavorful cutlets. Alternatively, you can choose to go for vegan protein bars that are packed with the goodness of these beans along with other delicious ingredients.
Beans are also suitable for bringing down your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, managing blood sugar, and facilitating weight loss.
Quinoa is a seed with proteins in amounts greater than many other grains. It has all 9 of the amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. Consuming quinoa can help you meet your daily requirement of proteins. For example, 185 grams of cooked quinoa can provide you with 8 grams of protein. Quinoa is gluten-free, which makes it safe for consumption by everyone. Apart from protein, it is also high in fibre, magnesium, potassium, iron, and folate.
You can add it to your salad or replace your rice or other carbohydrates with quinoa to make your meal wholesome and yummy.
Soy milk contains high-quality protein, calcium and Vitamin D, which are essential for strengthening your bones. A cup of soy milk has around 6 grams of protein. It's made of soybeans and is an excellent alternative to dairy milk. It has the highest protein as compared to all other plant-based milk. It's so versatile that you can add it to your coffee, tea, or smoothie, as well as have it with your cereals. You can drink a glass of soy milk every night before going to bed to help you feel full and give you a good night's sleep too.
Seeds and Nuts
There are a ton of seeds and nuts that pack high-quality proteins, including squash and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. They are also rich in fibres, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.
They can reduce the risk of heart disease and help you lose weight when consumed in frequent but small portions. However, nuts are fatty and are high in calories, so you might want to observe portion control when snacking on them.
Nutritional yeast is a type of inactive yeast which is also known as nooch. It is generally in powder form and has a cheesy flavour to it. Hence, it is used in various vegan dishes like pasta, mashed potatoes, soups or scrambled tofu.
Nutritional yeast is a rich source of protein, fibre and B vitamins. ¼ cup of nutritional yeast has around 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fibre. The fortified variant contains more B vitamins like vitamin B12 along with zinc, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
This vegan-friendly source of protein provides health benefits, such as boosting energy, supporting the immune system and promoting good hair, skin and nail health.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains in the selection. They are rich sources of protein and complex carbohydrates. In addition, they also contain high amounts of fibre, vitamin B1, and a lot more. A cup of oats has 11g of protein.
Oats are usually eaten during breakfast, but they can definitely be a delightful snack as well. To add some healthy colours and a protein boost to your bowl of oats, you can add fruits, nuts, and peanut butter.
Green vegetables are another great source of protein that many people often overlook. Vegetables like spinach, asparagus, green peas and broccoli have a decent amount of protein, ranging from 3-4 grams per cooked cup. They also help you get enough fibre and are antioxidant-rich.
They are easy to consume as you can eat them with almost anything and the way you like it - steamed, baked, roasted or sauteed. And while other foods have proportionately more protein than vegetables, their availability and flexibility genuinely make them a great source of protein.
Tofu is made of soybean and contains around 8 grams of protein per 100 grams. It is low in calories and high in proteins. This type of protein can keep you full for longer, which can help you with your weight loss program.
Tofu is available in either solid blocks or soft and smooth form and can be cooked in multiple ways. It generally has a very bland taste of its own but nicely absorbs the flavours of the seasoning and sauces prepared in.
As tofu has plant estrogen, it also has a lot of health benefits. For example, it can help reduce your chances of getting coronary heart disease, lower cholesterol levels and slow down or stop the growth of prostate cancer. It also helps women in menopause get fewer hot flashes and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Lentils are excellent sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans. They are a type of legume and are high in fibre, magnesium, manganese, iron, folate, potassium, and B vitamins. Their protein content helps maintain a healthy heart, good digestion, and normal blood sugar levels.
Vegan Protein Supplements
You might wonder how protein supplements became a part of this list of natural sources of protein. Well, because we are talking only about vegan protein supplements and powders that are concentrated sources of plant-based proteins.
Adding organic protein powders to your pre-workout program can give you an instant and clean protein boost. There are different types of protein supplements you can buy from local and online stores. But for the best results, go for natural plant-based protein supplements.
The health benefits of protein are indeed almost second to none. So if you want to achieve a healthier body, adding protein to your diet and pairing it with an appropriate workout can definitely be the way to go.
Check out the wide range of organic vegan protein powders and supplements available at NATURELOVA.