Proteins are essential for the body. Humans derive most proteins from eating meat and seafood. Vegetarians are at high risk of developing proteins deficiency since they avoid meat and meat products. Protein rich diet for vegetarians and people who avoid taking meat for other reasons is enlisted below.
Proteins are the building blocks of our body
As we all know that a vegetarian diet does not include meat, seafood, or any food product that contains meat. This dietary pattern has been linked to a lower risk of ischemic heart disease, lower LDL levels, reduced body mass index, and decreased risk of cancer.
It has been practiced in many regions of the world. Managing protein intake in a vegetarian diet is crucial, most of the essential amino acids are obtained from the animal protein source.
Most essential aminoacids are derived from meat
So, in a vegetarian diet combination of different plant protein sources must be consumed to get the essential amino acids. Protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance, as well as strong and healthy skin and hair. It also aids in maintaining satiety.
People sometimes question where vegetarians obtain their protein, but it’s not difficult to get enough on a vegetarian diet. According to Dietary Recommendations, men require 56 g and women require 46 g of protein (but this does vary depending on your activity level, age, and more).
Vegetarian Eating Patterns
Eating patterns vary among vegetarians. Some people include eggs in their vegan diets while others include milk. According to this, the eating patterns vary.
Lacto-vegetarian diets: These diets restrict the consumption of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, as well as foods containing these products.
Ovo-vegetarian diets: Meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy items are not allowed on this diet however eggs are allowed.
Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diets: These include both milk and eggs but exclude meat and poultry.
Why is protein important?
Consuming enough protein is a regular issue for vegetarians, especially newer vegetarians. Protein is the most important of the three macronutrients since it plays many roles in our daily activities.
Protein should be on the top of your priority list if you have an active lifestyle and want to reach your best potential in terms of growth and recovery.
Protein is essential for muscle repair, development, immune function, and a variety of other bodily activities. If we don’t eat enough protein on a regular basis, we risk losing muscle mass, which can lead to a slew of additional problems.
If dietary protein is insufficient, it can lead to muscle wasting, decreased strength, and slowed metabolism.
Best Protein Rich Diet for Vegetarians:
These protein-rich sources can help vegetarians achieve their daily protein goals.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein as it contains 23 grams of protein per cup. Greek yogurt is delicious and can be a good breakfast choice for vegetarians.
The recipe to make Greek yogurt is simple as that of regular yogurt, you just need to strain the yogurt in order to make it thick. Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for sour cream in people who restrict it in their diets.
Lentils are another good source of protein. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, one cup of cooked lentils has roughly 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, with nearly no saturated fat or salt.
Given the abundance of daals we consume in Pakistan, we are no strangers to lentils. These can be a to rice or can be cooked alone. In both ways, they are an excellent source of protein.
Even in surgery patients, boiled lentils or daal water is a good source of protein for vegetarian patients receiving a clear liquid diet.
One study suggests that adding lentils and pulses to your diet reduces the risk of chronic diseases and helps in maintaining a healthy body weight. [Ref]
Beans such as kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, and most other types have a high protein content per serving.
Chickpeas which are also called garbanzo beans are another high-protein legume. Both beans and chickpeas include roughly 15 grams of protein. Beans and other legumes are also high in complex carbohydrates, iron, fiber, folate, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, and a variety of beneficial plant compounds.
Several studies have shown that eating a diet rich in beans and other legumes can lower cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and even reduce belly fat. [Ref]
Protein-rich grains include oats, wheat, barley, and bajra (millets). Other ancient grains including Amaranth and quinoa contain 8-9 grams of protein. The best way to add a substantial amount of protein to the diet is to use composite flour.
Composite flour is a modified type of flour that contains flour from different cereals and grains. The best type of composite flour for vegetarians is barley, black chickpeas, and whole wheat flour.
Seeds are also protein powerhouses. For example, sunflower seeds provide 3.3 g protein, flaxseeds 1.3 G, basil seeds 5.4 g and chia seeds contain 4 g of protein.
They’re also extremely adaptable. You can add them into oatmeal, cornflakes, or cereals, toast them lightly and sprinkle them on soups, or add them to salad dressings, just like nuts.
Seeds are extremely beneficial for health, daily consumption of seeds only in small amounts provides essential fats, fibers, and protein. They reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity and treat constipation.
Nuts and nut butter:
Nuts have a bad reputation since they are rich in fat, but they are also high in protein and unsaturated fat (the good fat).
This means they fill you up sooner and for longer, contributing to a lower BMI, greater life expectancy, and even blood sugar stabilization.
Cashews, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts have more protein than other nuts like hazelnuts. Nuts can be added to milkshakes and smoothies to make them protein-rich.
Soybeans and Soy Milk:
Soybeans are the best meat alternative for vegetarians as they provide complete protein. Soybean is the only plant-based food that provides all the essential amino acids. One cup of cooked soybeans provides 18 grams of protein. These can also be added to salads and soups.
Soymilk is an excellent alternative to cow milk for vegetarians. 1 cup of soy milk provide 7 grams of protein. It is also high in calcium and vitamin D.
One study suggests that increased consumption of soy protein lowers blood cholesterol and lipoprotein levels, it may also alleviate menopausal hot flashes, and may assist postmenopausal women to maintain bone density and reduce fractures. [Ref]
Green peas provide 9 grams of protein per cup. They can be added to salads and vegetable soups. They are also a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and B-vitamins.
Fruits and vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables also contain little amounts of protein. Some vegetables that have considerably more protein than others include leafy greens such as cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, and sweet potatoes. Among fruits, berries, guava, and bananas contain 2-4 grams of protein.
Vegetarians must increase the intake of the above-mentioned protein-rich diet to avoid the deficiency of these essential components of the human body.