A person on a vegan diet does not eat meat, eggs or milk. While some people may think this severely limits their protein sources, there is still an abundance of vegan-friendly proteins that they can consume.
Having a vegan diet means that a person cannot get protein from the same sources as a person with an omnivorous diet. An omnivore is a person who eats both animal and non-animal products.
However, there are many sources of plant-based proteins that a vegan person can consume. Nuts, whole grains and legumes are sources of protein, and they also contain additional nutrients that are beneficial to the body. Some vegetables and seeds also contain good amounts of protein.
This article will cover how much protein a person needs, why it is important and which vegan foods are good sources of that protein.
A person’s protein requirements are based on several categories, including age, gender, weight, and physical activity.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), protein is required in the following daily amounts for different groups of people:
These RDAs are for guidance only, and a person may find that their personal requirements vary. Overall, the RDA for a young and healthy person who does not do much exercise is
A person who is quite active, or who wants to build muscle, may find that they require more protein per day. An article on Journal of the International Sports Nutrition Society recommends 1.6-1.7 g / kg / d for strength athletes and 1.2-1.4 g / kg / d for endurance athletes.
Furthermore, a person who is pregnant will need to consume more protein daily. According to an article in the online magazine Nutrients, a pregnant or breastfeeding person should increase their daily protein intake by 10%.
There are many foods that are good sources of vegan protein, such as:
A whole grain is a grain that contains the entire grain of wheat, which means that the grain is intact. Many cereals are good sources of protein, including:
When cooked, quinoa contains
Raw oats contain a high amount of protein, with
Although not a whole grain, seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten. The high gluten content from Seitan means that it is not suitable for people who are gluten intolerant or celiac.
When blushed, seitan has
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is very high in protein. One tablespoon of spirulina, which is about 7g,
Some vegetables are good sources of protein, such as:
Although it is not rich in protein per se, when used as part of a meal, broccoli can increase the protein content. Raw broccoli contains
When cooked with oil, the mushrooms contain
Furthermore, mycoprotein is a source of protein derived from fungi. People often use mycoproteins in meat substitutes. Mycoprotein contains 11g of protein per 100g.
However, certain products that contain mycoprotein also contain eggs, which makes them non-vegan. A person should be careful to check the ingredients in a mycoprotein dish before eating it.
Pulse and legumes
Some pulses and legumes are good sources of protein, such as:
When cooked, lentils contain
Chives, also known as garbanzo beans, contain
There are many dishes that use chickpeas as ingredients, such as curry and hummus. Hummus is also a good source of protein, which it contains
Peanuts are very rich in protein, which they contain
Moreover, peanut butter contains
People use soy to make many products, such as tofu and tempeh. These products make protein-rich ingredients for many dishes.
Soy itself contains
Fried tofu contains
When cooked, tempeh contains
Nuts and seeds
Many nuts and seeds are valuable sources of protein, including:
Chia seeds are very rich in protein, which they contain
Raw and salted almonds are another protein-rich food it contains
Almond butter contains 20.96g of protein per 100g, and 6.71g per 2 tablespoons.
Hemp seeds are a good source of protein, with
Protein is an important nutrient present in various foods. Protein provides the body with energy and is necessary for:
- proper growth and development
- building and repairing cells and tissues of the body
- hair, skin, nails, muscles, bones and internal organs
- almost all body fluids
- many body processes, such as blood clotting
Proteins contain chains of smaller units called amino acids. The order of amino acids determines the function and structure of proteins.
There are 20 types of amino acids, which are divided into two categories:
Essential amino acids: These are amino acids that the body needs but cannot produce. There are nine essential amino acids that the body can only get through food.
Non-essential amino acids: The body can produce these amino acids through the consumption of essential amino acids, or through the breakdown of proteins in the body.
Proteins obtained from different foods also fall into special categories:
Whole proteins: These foods contain all the essential amino acids in acceptable amounts. Foods like quinoa, soy products and mycoproteins are complete sources of protein.
Incomplete proteins: These are foods that contain only a few of the nine essential amino acids. Nuts, beans, seeds and vegetables are incomplete proteins.
Supplemental protein: These are incomplete sources of protein that, when eaten together at one meal or overnight, combine to provide all nine essential amino acids. When people eat peanut butter with whole wheat bread, they form a complete protein.
Click here to learn about the difference between animal and plant proteins.
It is possible for a person to have too much protein in his diet. Research suggests that for most people, eating more than 2g / kg / day can cause long-term health problems.
A person with a lot of protein in his diet may have the following symptoms:
- intestinal discomfort
- excess amino acids in the blood
- excess ammonia in the blood
- high insulin levels
- liver and kidney failure
- increases the risk of cardiovascular disease
Excessive protein consumption can also increase a person’s risk of developing:
There are many sources of protein available to a person on a vegan diet. It is important for a person to eat a good mix of protein sources. The amount of protein a person needs may depend on their age, gender, and activity level.