By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Protein is a key molecule found in every single cell of the body.
Proteins are derived from two primary groups: complete and plant proteins. Being a vast part of all our body’s cells, proteins ensure everything functions optimally and helps with tissue growth, maintenance, and repair. Proteins transport messages between cells, keep our immune system strong, regulate organ function, and more.
We have to consume two or three small portions of protein every day. As long as we provide our body with the recommended daily amount, our cells do not care if the proteins are complex or plant-based. The daily recommended amount of protein differs for every person, depending mainly on lifestyle. The more active you are, the more protein your body requires.
It is generally calculated as:
0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. It equates to 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average passive woman. It is important to note that this rule does not apply to children. Children ages 1 – 18 have different daily protein intake requirements:
The following lists the top protein-rich vegetable sources:
Hemp Seed - Protein content: 31g per 100g serving. Hemp seed is an absolute winner for plant-based protein, containing all 22 known amino acids. It includes nine essential amino that our body cannot produce independently and must take from dietary sources. It also boasts an excellent 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are also high in magnesium, which helps with relaxation, blood sugar control, and blood pressure.
Organic Tempeh - Protein content: 20g of protein in 100g of tempeh. Tempeh is a rich source of complete protein. It is made by fermenting cooked soybeans and shaping them into a dense cake that can be sliced and pan-fried like tofu. Tempeh contains more fiber and protein than tofu, which is easier to digest because it has been fermented.
Lentils – Protein content: 18 g of protein in each cooked cup. Lentils are a rich source of dietary fiber, iron, and folate. These attributes make lentils supportive of digestive health, an ally against anemia, and a contributor to overall wellness. They naturally come with a low fat and calorie count, aligning well with weight management goals.
Soybean - Protein content: 18g per 1 cup serving (cooked) = equivalent to a 75g portion of salmon or 180g of cottage cheese. Soybeans provide nearly as many essential amino acids as animal proteins do. They are available as fresh beans, called edamame. The yellow beans are the mature soybeans. If you have an option, always try to choose organic soy. Apart from being a source of protein, soybeans also provide us with a good amount of B vitamins.
Black Beans - Protein content: 15g protein in 1 cup serving (cooked). Black beans contain fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and many phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemicals produced by plants. Plants use them to stay healthy and protect themselves from the damaging environment. Black beans also boast antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Butter (Lima) Beans - Protein content: 14g protein in 1 cup serving (cooked). Delicate in flavor, butter beans are an excellent ingredient for many dishes with their starchy yet buttery texture. They are an excellent source of minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, calcium, and magnesium and have more potassium than other beans.
Almonds / Almond Butter - Protein content: 12g protein in ¼ cup serving of almonds, or 1 tbsp of almond butter is equivalent to 1 cup of milk. Almonds are energy-rich (574 calories per 100g) and contain nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins essential for optimum health. Almond butter provides protein as well as calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Quinoa - Protein content: 8g for 1 cup serving (cooked). Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein, and one of a few plants that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin E, and many crucial antioxidants. Quinoa also has a low glycemic index, suitable for blood sugar control.
Hummus - Protein content: 8g of protein per 100g serving. This simple dip offers good proteins and heart-friendly fats. Hummus is also a great dietary fiber source and a low-glycemic index food.
Buckwheat - Protein content: 6g per 1 cup serving (cooked). Contrary to its name, buckwheat is a fruit seed unrelated to wheat. Energizing and nutritious buckwheat is widely available throughout the year and can be served as an alternative to carbs such as white rice. Buckwheat is a gluten-free power food source of easily digestible proteins. With a low glycemic index and many nutrients, it is a superfood that should be a regular ingredient on our plates. Buckwheat contains an impressive range of minerals, including manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and more.
Whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian, or a meat eater looking for more health-conscious dining options, these plant-based protein substitutes are a great way to add diversity and nutrients to your daily meals.
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