Proteins are the building blocks of your body. They are needed to form all your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood cells, help keep your hair and nails healthy, they also build and repair tissues. Unfortunately, the marketing machine in US has convinced us that only meat and eggs have sufficient protein. There are however several reasons to consume vegetarian alternatives for protein. They are usually cheaper, good for the environment and lower in calories. They promote weight loss while providing you with enough protein to keep your cells happy.
Here are some vegetarian options to protein:
With more protein than any other bean variety, cooked soybeans have about 28 grams per cup, roughly the amount of protein that can be found in 150 grams of chicken. More important, soybeans are one of only two complete plant proteins, the other one being quinoa. Soy also has insoluble fiber and this promotes digestive health, while the unsaturated fat promotes cardiovascular health. If you prefer something softer, try edamame that has 16.9 g of protein per cup (cooked).
Quinoa is an edible seed, eaten as a whole grain, which has fast become one of the most popular health foods. It is gluten-free, high in protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. Packed with nutrition, Quinoa has high quantities of fiber and has a low glycemic Index that keeps blood sugar under control. Quinoa is also high in important minerals like Iron and Magnesium and is filled with antioxidants. Quinoa is high in protein, which increases metabolism and reduces appetite; this means that your body will feel full and you will be provided with all essential nutrients.
Pulses and Legumes
These are economical and plant – based source of protein can be healthy and a perfect choice for vegetarians. They can be added to your salads, soups or pancakes. From string beans to chickpeas, beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. When it comes to legumes, lentils are among the winners. They contain about 18 grams of protein per cup when cooked, and at 230 calories per serving. Lentils are also a great source of dietary fiber and contain a high amount of the micronutrients folate, thiamin, phosphorus, and iron. They contain 17.9 g of protein per boiled cup.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts will add a good amount of protein, and fiber to your diet. These heart nuts are packed with healthy fats along with manganese and Vitamin -E which will protect us from the free radicals and fight against inflammation. There are seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be added to your morning cereal bowl or afternoon yogurt and a post-workout smoothie which will help you shed that extra flab. These protein-rich seeds play a vital role in weight loss by promoting lean body mass, giving you satiety and keeping you full for all day long.
Unlike standard animal-based protein, a cup of these green florets also packs over 100 percent of your daily need for vitamins C and K. Broccoli is also a good source of folate, another important vitamin that has been shown to decrease the risk of certain types of cancer.
Paneer or Cheese
Choose to have a low-fat panner made from cow’s milk that is also a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid also which will also contribute in the fat burning process giving you satiety and maintaining your weight for the long run.
Milk, the most popular dairy product acts as a high biological quality of protein source. This nutrient – dense food is filled with protein along with an exceptional amount of calcium which can help you build stronger bones and lean muscles. Milk is also known to one of best muscle food, and one must not forget to add this to their fitness regime.
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