One of the most frequently occurring concerns about following a vegan or vegetarian diet is whether they contain a sufficient amount of protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient. Amino acids are the basic building block of proteins. There are eight essential amino acids that the human body cannot synthetase, therefore, you need to make sure that you consume all of them throughout your diet. Are plant-based dishes adequate sources of essential amino acids? Can you provide your body with enough protein to gain muscle and perform well in your athletic activities? What are the most delicious high-protein, vegan dishes? Our article is presenting some of the best plant-based protein sources for vegans and vegetarians. Read our article and find your new favorite plant-based protein source!
Protein intake for vegans and vegetarians
The daily protein requirement of your body depends on factors like your age, gender, weight, physical activity and athletic goals. Let’s see the exact numbers!
|Recommended daily dietary protein intake (protein per kg body weight.)||Physical activity||
Recommended daily dietary protein intake for an average adult (70 kg)
|0.8-1.0 gram||Minimal physical activity||56-70 gram|
|1.3 gram||Moderate physical activity||91 gram|
|1.6 gram||Intense physical activity||112 gram|
|2 gram||Safe for long-term consumption||140 gram|
|3.5 gram||Tolerable upper limit||245 gram|
(Source: Dietary protein intake and human health1)
According to a study that was published in 2013 a plant-based diet “can easily meet human dietary protein requirements as long as energy needs are met and a variety of foods are eaten.”2 The key to providing all the essential amino acids for your body is eating diverse sources of high-protein plants. Your diet should contain a variety of high-protein plant sources, including legumes, soy products, grains, nuts, and seeds.
Can athletes perform well on a vegan diet?
Nutrition plays a crucially important role in the success of your athletic career. In order to build and maintain your lean muscle mass, you need to consume a sufficient amount of protein. Many people falsely consider animal products as the only source of high-quality protein. Plant-based dishes can provide your body with the exact same amount and quality amino acids as meat, dairy, and egg. The American Dietetic Association, which is one of the most reputable nutrition focused health-organization in the world, conducted a study and came to the following concussion.
“Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”3
Plant-based protein sources are apparently can fulfill the nutritional needs of athletes based on the findings of the above-mentioned study. We have some empirical pieces of evidence if you are still not convinced yet. Believe it or not, some of the best athletes in the world cut out all animal products from their diet and their dietary changes had no negative effect on their sport performance at all.
Plant-based protein sources
- Chickpeas: chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans, were originally cultivated in the Middle East regions of the world. Besides offering plenty of health benefits due to their high vitamin and mineral content, they have tremendous amounts of protein. 100 grams of chickpea has 19 grams of protein. Boost your daily protein intake with some delicious hummus! Follow our blog for some creative vegan recipe ideas!
- Soy products (tofu, tempeh, and edamame): more and more food contains soy as an ingredient. It is almost impossible to find meat substitutes, plant-based, and cheese without soy content. Soybean has an outstandingly high protein content. 100 grams of soybean provides your body with 36 grams of plant-based protein. It is almost twice as much as the protein content of chicken breast.
- Lentils: Lentils are one of the most versatile ingredients. Would you like to get a protein dense dish without spending hours and hours in the kitchen? Here is what you are looking for! Lentils not only offer a reasonably high protein content, they also have high amounts of dietary fiber.
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What are your thoughts on veganism? Have you ever considered switching to a vegan lifestyle? Which animal products would you miss the most? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!