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Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

Vegan and Vegetarian Protein food sources

Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

Adequate levels of protein help with muscle development this is common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they might lack sufficient protein.

And higher-protein diets can promote muscle strength, satiety, and weight loss

Good source of plant based foods that contain a high amount of protein per serving.

Where does Tempeh originate? Tofu, Tempeh and Edamame all originate from soybeans.

Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled prior to consumption and can be eaten on their own or added to soups and salads.

Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheese making process. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans prior to pressing them into a patty.

Tofu has little taste, but easily absorbs the flavour of the ingredients its prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavour.

Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups and chilis.

All three contain iron, calcium and 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) .

Edamame are also rich in folate, vitamin K and fiber.

Tempeh contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus.

Tofu, Tempeh and Edamame all originate from soybeans, a complete source of protein. They contain good amounts of several other nutrients and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Tempeh Facts

Eating Tempeh could help maintain healthy gut bacteria.

In a recent study the effect of bean tempeh on the growth of Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus paracasei bacteria was investigated.

Antibacterial activity was observed only in relation to the bacteria Bacillus subtilis (mostly good) too much can be bad.

Bean and soy tempeh were culinarily processed and next digested in conditions simulating the human digestive tract one of the digestive tracts was equipped with a mechanism simulating absorption.

Soy tempeh stimulated growth of bacteria of the genus Bifidobacterium (good bacteria).

Bean tempeh was shown to stimulate the growth that of Escherichia coli (E.Coil)

(not so good Bactria).

Most strains of E. coli are harmless to humans.

Some strains of E. coli infection can include nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Using simulation of absorption for the digestion of fried soy tempeh resulted in a higher rise in the bacteria count of the genus Lactobacillus, while after digestion of fried bean tempeh the highest increase was recorded for Bifidobacterium and E. coli.


Providing 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), lentils are a great source of protein.

They can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from fresh salads to hearty soups and spice-infused dahls.

Lentils also contain good amounts of slowly digested carbohydrates, and a single cup (240 ml) provides approximately 50% of your recommended daily fiber intake.

The type of fiber found in lentils has been shown to feed the good bacteria in your colon, promoting a healthy gut. Lentils may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, excess body weight and some may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

Lentils are rich in folate, manganese and iron antioxidants, and other health-promoting plant compounds.

Lentils are nutritional powerhouses. They are rich in protein and contain good amounts of other nutrients. They may also help reduce the risk of various diseases.

Chickpeas and Most Varieties of Beans

Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein per serving.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another legume with high protein content.

Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). They are also excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds.

Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and even reduce belly fat.

Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chilli, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas.

Beans are health-promoting, protein-packed legumes that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.


Hempseed comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, same family as the marijuana plant.

Hempseed contains trace amounts of THC and has no psychoactive properties, the compound that produces the marijuana-like drug effects.

A study found that eating hemp seeds had little effect on a person's THC levels

Hemp seeds are cultivated from the hemp plant, which is grown predominantly for its seeds and fibers.

The hemp plant looks a bit like the marijuana plant and it actually come from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L, but there are major differences between the two.

For one, the marijuana plant is stalkier, while the hemp plant is taller and thinner. But more importantly, the hemp plant contains low levels (less than 0.3 percent) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of Cannabis Sativa. Marijuana can contain anywhere from 5 to 30 percent.

Hempseed contains 10 grams of complete, easily digestible protein per ounce (28 grams).

Providing 50% more than Chia seeds and flaxseeds.

Hempseed also contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium, is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio considered optimal for human health.

Interestingly, some studies indicate that the type of fats found in hempseed may help reduce inflammation, as well as diminish symptoms of PMS, menopause and certain skin diseases.

You can add hempseed to your diet by sprinkling some in your smoothie or morning muesli added to baked goods. It can also be used in homemade salad dressings or protein bars.

Hempseed contains a good amount of complete, highly-digestible protein, as well as health-promoting essential fatty acids in a ratio optimal for human health.

Green Peas

Green peas often served as a side dish contain 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), which is slightly more than a cup of milk perhaps that’s the Hulks secret.

A serving of green peas covers more than 25% of your daily fiber, vitamin A, C, K, Thiamine, Folate and Manganese requirements.

Green peas provide a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and several B-vitamins.

You can use peas in recipes such as pea and basil stuffed ravioli, thai-inspired pea soup or pea and avocado guacamole.

Green peas are high in protein, vitamins and minerals and can be used as more than just a side dish.


Spirulina is a Blue-green algae is definitely a nutritional powerhouse and as protein sources go it ranks high on the environmentally friendly scale.

If you can brave Spirulina`s acquired taste you will be rewarded.

I recommend adding it to a shake to mask the taste.

Two tablespoons (30 ml) provide you with 8 grams of complete protein, in addition to covering 22% of your daily requirements of iron and Thiamin and 42% of your daily copper needs.

Spirulina also contains useful levels of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium and small amounts of most of the other nutrients your body needs, including essential fatty acids.

Phycocyanin, a natural pigment found in Spirulina that is responsible for its green appearance and powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Furthermore, studies link consuming Spirulina to health benefits ranging from a stronger immune system and reduced blood pressure to improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Spirulina is a nutritious high-protein food with many beneficial health-enhancing properties.

Amaranth and Quinoa

Referred to as Gluten-free grains, Amaranth and Quinoa do not grow from grasses like other cereal grains do.

For this reason, they are technically considered "Pseudocereals."

Nevertheless, they can be prepared or ground into flours similar to more commonly known grains.

Amaranth and Quinoa provide 8–9 grams of quality protein per cooked cup (240 ml) and are complete sources of protein, which is rare among grains and Pseudocereals making this food a great addition to a balanced diet an alternative to rice.

Also, Amaranth and Quinoa are good sources of complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium .

Amaranth and Quinoa are Pseudocereals that provide you with a complete source of protein. They can be prepared and eaten similar to traditional grains such as wheat and rice.

Ezekiel Bread and Other Breads Made From Sprouted Grains

Ezekiel bread is made from organic, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These include wheat, millet, barley and spelt, as well as soybeans and lentils.

Two slices of Ezekiel bread contain approximately 8 grams of protein, which is slightly more than the average bread.

What is Ezekiel bread?

It’s a type of sprouted bread, made from a variety of whole grains and legumes that have started germinating (sprouting).

Compared to white bread, which is made of refined wheat flour, Ezekiel bread is much richer in healthy nutrients and fiber.

Sprouting grains and legumes increases the amount of healthy nutrients they contain; studies show that sprouting increases their amino acid content. Lysine is the limiting amino acid in many plants, and sprouting increases the lysine content. This helps boost the overall protein quality.

Similarly, combining grains with legumes could further improve the bread's amino acid profile.

Sprouting increases the bread's soluble fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene content. It may also slightly help reduce the gluten content, which can enhance digestion in those sensitive to gluten.

Ezekiel and other breads made from sprouted grains have an enhanced protein and nutrient profile, compared to more traditional breads.

Soy / Soya Milk

Milk made from soybeans and fortified with vitamins and minerals is a great alternative to cow's milk.

Soya Milk contains 7 grams of protein per cup (240 ml), provides an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Soy milk and soybeans do not naturally contain vitamin B12, buying fortified variety is recommended as they contain added B12.

Soy milk is found in most supermarkets. It's an incredibly versatile product that can be consumed on its own or in a variety of cooking and baking recipes.

It is a good idea to opt for unsweetened varieties to keep the amount of added sugars to a minimum.

Soy milk is a high-protein plant alternative to cow's milk. It's a versatile product that can be used in a variety of ways.

Oats and Oatmeal

Oats are an easy and delicious way to add protein to any diet.

Half a cup (120 ml) of dry oats provides you with approximately six grams of protein and four grams of fiber magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and folate.

Oats are a slow release energy food source and can make a great breakfast.

Although oats are not considered a complete protein, they do contain higher-quality protein than other commonly consumed grains like rice and wheat, mixing milk, seeds, or nuts to porridge is a great way to increase your protein intake.

Tip Try over night oats soak oats overnight with milk or milk substitute, slice s of apple a dash of nutmeg.

You can use oats in a variety of recipes ranging from oatmeal to veggie burgers. They can also be ground into flour and used for baking.

Oats are not only nutritious but also an easy and delicious way to incorporate plant protein into a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala.

No other seed possesses such hydrophilic properties. (hydrophilic: attracted to water) The micro fibres on the outer coating of the seed allow it to absorb nine times its own weight in water.

At 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per 1.25 ounces (35 grams), chia seeds definitely deserve their spot on this list (58).

What's more, these little seeds contain a good amount of iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various other beneficial plant compounds.

They are incredibly versatile Chia seeds have a bland taste and are able to absorb water, turning into a gel-like substance. This makes them an easy addition to a variety of recipes, ranging from smoothies to baked goods and chia puddings.

Tip for chia seed

Try popping 2 Tsp Chia seeds in a bowl add a little water in the fridge over night with some blueberries with a freshly squeezed lemon juice. Or try it mixed with yogurt for that added thick texture.

Made a curry that is too watery? Add a few tsp of chia to thicken it up.

Chia seeds are a versatile source of plant protein you can use them while baking, making jelly sprinkled on salad, pretty much anything. They also contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts, seeds and their derived products are great sources of protein.

One ounce (28 grams) contains between 5–7 grams of protein, depending on the nut and seed variety

Nuts and seeds are also great sources of fibre and healthy fats, in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E and certain B vitamins. They also contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds.

Choose natural nut butters to avoid the oil, sugar and excess salt often added to many household brand varieties.

Nuts, seeds and products mad into butters such as peanut butter, are an easy way to add plant protein, vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables contain a small percentage of protein.

Vegetables that contain protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Contain about 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup.

Fresh fruits generally have lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most include guava, cherimoyas, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines and bananas, which contain approximately 2–4 grams of protein per cup.

These are just a few suggestions and there are thousands of non meat alternatives for you to try, even if you are not a vegan or vegetarian trying a varied range of food groups will keep meal times interesting, always aim for a balanced diet.

Challenge yourself to find and experiment with a food that you have not tried before, don’t be discouraged by alien looking fruit or vegetables if you never try new things you could miss out on the best thing you never had.

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