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Proteins, also known colloquially as proteins, are literally on everyone’s lips. One hears and reads in numerous programs, specialized magazines and blogs how important an adequate supply of protein is for the human organism. Protein foods are also an important part of most diets and are part of any he althy diet. No less interesting is the question of whether animal or vegetarian proteins should be preferred. In the following lines we deal with the importance of proteins and recommend 9 vegetarian protein sources if you want to avoid fish and meat.
Proteins - the building blocks of life
Recent studies in nutritional medicine are shedding more and more light on the vital role of proteins, which are not called the "building blocks of life" for nothing. Our vessels, organs, muscles, skin and hair are built from it. Proteins consist of the so-called proteinogenic amino acids, which are involved in all metabolic processes in the body. These vital substances are also responsible for the development of numerous enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain and are therefore of fundamental importance for our physical and mental fitness. There are 23 such amino acids in total. Some of these are made by the body itself and 8 are those that can only be obtained externally through food and supplements. These amino acids are called essential. These are: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
And this is precisely where the main difference lies when it comes to the quality of the protein sources. Because not all contain absolutely all essential amino acids that the body needs. So one speaks of complete and incomplete sources of protein. The complete ones contain 100% of all 8 essential amino acids and the incomplete ones don't. In the second case, it is about a so-called 100 percent biological value of the protein.
9 vegetarian protein sources for body and mind
It should be mentioned from the outset that many protein sources that are of vegetable origin have the disadvantage of containing incomplete proteins. It is therefore advisable to combine such protein sources with each other, either in one dish or in different ones, but on the same day. Below we present 9 valuable vegetarian protein sources that not only provide your body with plenty of protein, but also have many vitamins, minerals and trace elements to offer.
1 Soy products
With their significant protein content (35 g per 100 g), soybeans are one of the most important plant sources of protein for humans and animals. You can enjoy this valuable source of protein in the form of tofu, soy milk and soy yoghurt and conjure up delicious dishes with it. However, people with gout should consume soy in moderation because it contains purines. People with cross allergies could also be sensitive to soy. For a long time, soy protein was considered unsuitable for male athletes and postmenopausal women because the isoflavones it contained were considered plant estrogens. Now there should be a scientific all-clear. If you want to learn more about this, check out this article on estrogens in soy.
Beans, lentils and peas in particular should be eaten more often as a vegetarian or vegan. These have a lower fat content and plenty of fiber. Those with a sensitive stomach can make the legumes more digestible by soaking them in water overnight and changing the water before cooking.
3 dairy products
In addition to valuable proteins, milk, yoghurt and cheese provide us with plenty of energy and calcium. Low-fat quark in particular, with its 14 g protein per 100 g portion, is the ideal breakfast idea or a he althy snack for in between.
With their protein content of 12.8 g, eggs in different preparation variants are the perfect vegetarian protein source. It contains all 8 essential amino acids. In addition, eggs are rich in potassium, calcium, zinc, folic acid and phosphorus, as well as vitamins A, D, K, B2, B6, B12.
Peanuts are definitely the richest source of protein among nuts, with 26 g of protein per 100 g, but almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and hazelnuts should not be underestimated either. All are ideal as a small snack or as a tasty addition to salads, soups, dishes and smoothies. One should Nevertheless, be aware that nuts are generally very high in calories and should therefore be consumed in moderation.
For kernels and seeds, the protein content also varies depending on the variety. Pumpkin and pine nuts contain 24 g of protein per 100 g, sunflower seeds 23 g and sesame 21 g. Chia seeds as a superfood are considered the richest and most valuable source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. These also provide the body with the important omega-3 fatty acids, many antioxidants and much more calcium than the same amount of milk.
This popular food needs little introduction. So many of us eat breakfast too often and too happily, and rightly so. Because oats are not only good for the stomach, they also contain quite a lot of high-quality protein (12 g per 100 g). The good flakes are also gluten-free and rich in fiber and important vitamins and minerals.
This South American pseudocereal contains many essential amino acids as well as unsaturated fatty acids. It is often used as a substitute for rice, but is also enjoyed by many for breakfast. Quinoa also contains no gluten at all and can be safely consumed by people with celiac disease.
With 3.5g of protein per 100g, broccoli is a significant vegan and vegetarian source of protein. Minerals such as iron, magnesium, chromium, potassium and calcium are included here. All important reasons to enjoy the miracle vegetable more often.
We hope you now have a better overview of vegetarian protein sources. If you wish, find out more and try out which of them work best for you. Don't forget: it's all about the right combination! Therefore, make sure you eat a balanced diet and eat high-quality organic food.