How To Boost Your Protein Intake In a Plant-Based Diet

In recent years, we have witnessed a huge shift in people’s dietary preferences. An increasing number of individuals are leaving their meat-heavy platter and shifting to a plant-based diet. There are various reasons for this transition. Some of these include environmental concerns, animal welfare and awareness of certain health risks associated with animal protein.

Individuals who have switched to this diet are often concerned about their protein intake. It is a common misconception that a plant-based diet cannot provide your body with a sufficient amount of protein. Here’s a list of 5 plant-based food items that can help you meet your daily protein requirement.

1. Oats: If you want to start your day with a protein-packed meal, then oats are your best option! Oats contain 16-17 grams of protein per 100 grams and are rich in a protein called avenalin which is not present in any other grains. They also help lower cholesterol levels and prevent high blood sugar levels [1].

2. Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is the perfect choice for a protein-rich breakfast. 7 grams of protein are contained in two tablespoons of peanut butter [2]. Peanut butter is high in calories and hence recommended to be consumed in moderation. Peanut butter is high in two kinds of a protein called arachin and conarachin and is low in amino acid methionine. Apart from being a healthy protein option, it is also delicious and can be combined with several other dishes.

3. Tofu: Originating from soybean, tofu is an excellent source of protein. It is made by curdling soy milk and contains 15-20 grams of protein per 100 grams. Like animal protein, tofu is packed with all the nine important amino acids that the body needs for functioning and is considered as a complete protein. It is also rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus and manganese [3]. Owing to its versatility, tofu is a very popular and nutritious meat substitute and can be used with a variety of dishes.

4. Lentils And Beans: Lentils contain 25% of protein making them an ideal alternative to meat. 100 grams of lentils contain 9 grams of protein [4]. Just half a cup of lentils is enough to keep you fuelled for the whole day. It is also high in fiber and folate which helps in the formation of red blood cells and proper functioning of the nerves. Meanwhile, beans too are rich sources of protein. Unlike animal proteins, it also has a high fiber content which keeps your stomach fuller for a longer time. Moreover, both lentils and beans are naturally low in cholesterol.

5. Nuts And Seeds: Nuts are perfect for a light snack and also have an impressive nutrient content. Nuts and its derivatives contain about 5-8 grams of protein per ounce [5]. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Nuts are recommended to be consumed raw without any added preservatives to fully utilize its benefits. Among all varieties, almonds provide us with the most amount of protein. Moreover, nuts are loaded with antioxidants and also aid weight loss. Certain seeds such as flax and chia help reduce the risk of heart diseases and are rich sources of protein and dietary fiber.

6. Green Peas: Green peas contain 5 grams of protein per 100 grams [6]. Often confused as vegetables, peas are actually a part of the legume family and is one of the best sources of plant-based protein. Although peas are not considered as a source of complete protein and lack amino acid methionine, they can be paired with protein-rich food to make up for that deficit. Peas also have high fiber content which makes digestion easier. The high protein content of peas also boosts muscle and bone strength. They also contain polyphenol antioxidants which help in keeping our body healthy.

References:

  1.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/
  2.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711439/
  3.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793271/
  4.     https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172421/nutrients
  5.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17125529
  6.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22916813

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