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Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein From?

From being considered one of the best protein sources to facing a period of turmoil during lockdown, the meat industry might just be preparing for a state of permanent downfall. Globally, even China is concerned over the links between meat and viral diseases and are now making shifts toward meatless, plant-based sources of protein. With veganism now holding an even stronger stance than ever, one can’t help but wonder what the best sources of plant-based protein are?

Despite popular belief, there are several ways to get sufficient protein from a vegan diet. Proteins are built from a set of 20 amino acids, most of which are made by our bodies, but 9 of them have to be attained through what we eat. Plant-based protein sources tend to lack one or more of those 9 essential amino acids, which is why they are deemed incomplete protein sources compared to their animal counterparts which contain more than enough of each one. For example, grains like rice are too low in lysine to be considered a complete source of protein. However, by accompanying it with lentils or beans which are higher in lysine, you can be sure to obtain all nine essential amino acids. Ahead, we’ve listed some of the most popular vegan sources of protein that can easily be teamed together for a wholesome protein-rich dish;

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is a protein-rich whole grain that makes for a great base to cook-up a variety of meals with like hearty salad bowls and veggie burger patties. A serving of cooked quinoa can give you upto 8 grams of protein in a meal. It can also provide more magnesium, iron, fibre and zinc compared to many common grains.

2. Chickpeas

One of the main reasons most nutritionists encourage eating hummus is chickpeas. Providing a good 7 grams of protein for each half-cup serving, also known as garbanzo beans, they are additionally high in fibre, good carbohydrates, folate, phosphorus and iron while also containing healthy fats. 

3. Edamame

Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans, that can offer you a whopping 18 grams of protein per 1 cup serving (shelled). A staple in Japanese dining, they can be easily consumed straight out of their shell once lightly boiled. These green pods also contain dietary fibre, vitamin K, and B vitamins such as folate, thiamine and riboflavin and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and calcium. 

4. Amaranth

Similar in look to quinoa and considered a ‘super grain’, amaranth was a staple food for the Aztecs making up a whopping 80% of their dietary intake. In addition to being able to provide 9 grams of protein per 1 cup (246 grams) of serving, amaranth is naturally gluten-free and has more calcium, magnesium, iron, carotenoids, and fibre than most vegetables or grains. 

5. Lentils

Lentils are legumes that are found either whole or split into halves that contain a generous 18 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. Toss them over a salad or add it to your soups, they are equally a great source of soluble fibre, which helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels and keeps you satiated for longer. 

 

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-05-26

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