Protein is the building block of body and they need to be consumed sufficient for a healthy well being. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and there are a variety of amino acids the body needs. Women should get about 46 grams of protein per day, and men need about 56 grams. A non-vegetarian would get variety of amino acids from their foods but a vegetarian or vegan might need to eat variety of foods to get the full benefit. Here is a list of 13 best protein sources of vegetarians.
13 Best Protein Sources For Vegetarians
1. Mixed Seeds
Mixed seeds such as sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are rich in protein and healthy fats. These seeds can be added to porridge, raita, cereal or baked foods. Protein content in 100g of seeds are:
- Chia seeds: 16.5 g
- Flax seeds: 18 g
- Sesame seeds: 18 g
- Pumpkin seeds: 19 g
- Sunflower seeds: 21 g
Chickpeas are one of the most versatile plant-based protein source and fiber. It helps in promoting weight loss, appetite control, blood sugar control, aids digestion and fights against diseases. Chickpeas are cheap, nutritious and delicious substitute as a plant-protein source. Protein in 100 g of chickpeas are 19 grams.
Pea protein offers a good profile of micronutrients such as manganese, niacin, folate, phosphorus, copper, vitamins B2 and B6, and molybdenum. They are also rich in fiber, which can aids digestion. A 100 grams of peas contain 8 g of protein.
5. Kidney Beans
Beans are the richest source of plant-based protein, sometimes even referred as “poor man’s meat”. Kidney beans are rich in protein, in fact 100 grams of kidney beans contains almost 18 grams of protein. They also contain other proteins like lectins and protease inhibitors.
Almonds are edible seeds that can be used to produce milk, oil, butter or flour. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, fiber, iron, calcium and zinc. Protein in 100 grams of almonds are 19 g.
Cashews with all their delicious buttery tasting goodness are a great option for snacking. It provides plant-based protein and healthy fats. They can also be incorporated as an ingredient in meals like stir fry or curry recipes. A 100 g of cashew contains 18 grams of protein.
Quinoa is technically a seed, but it provides more protein than most cereal grains like barley, rice and corn. It is high in amino acid lysine, methionine and histidine, which are usually lacking in plants. Quinoa is also gluten-free, hence suitable for people sensitive or allergic to gluten. A 100 g of quinoa contains 4.5 grams of protein.
While usually nuts are high in calories, pistachios are lowest-calorie nuts. Pista contains higher ratios of amino acids that are essential and semi-essential for the well being. It contains L-arginine, a semi-essential amino acid that is converted to nitric oxide in body that helps in dilating and aiding blood flow among blood vessels (1). A 100 grams of pistachios contains 18 grams of protein.
Soy is a complete protein that helps control blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. A 100 g of boiled soy contains 17 grams of protein. The main proteins in soy are glycinin and conglycinin, which contribute to 80% of total protein content. Some people might be allergic to these substances, so make sure you are not allergic to soy.
Yogurt is a rich source of protein. A 100 g of curd or yogurt contains 10 grams of protein. Protein in yogurt is either whey or casein, both of which are nutritionally excellent, rich in amino acids and digests easily.
A 80% of protein in yogurt comes from caseins. It helps in absorption of minerals like calcium, phosphorus.
Whey accounts for 20% of the protein in yogurt. This is really popular among athletes and body builders which helps in promoting weight loss, building muscle mass and lowering blood pressure.
Lentils are low-fat plant-proteins rich in iron, folate and fiber. A cup of lentils cooked contribute approximately to 18 grams of protein and as little as 0.8 grams of fat.
Indians mostly use lentils like archer, urad or moon, which can be served along side a bowl of rice or a roti. You can also add lentils in dishes like meatballs, stews or lasagna.
13. Whole Grains
Traditional grains such as oats, barley, wheat, ragi and jowar is loaded with protein. A 100 grams of these grains contributes almost 13-16% of your everyday protein goals. Millets are a great substitute for rice. These grains can also be used as easily incorporated into your meals in several ways.