In recent years, we have seen a huge increase in people who follow a vegan diet. Veganism is a diet that eliminates animal protein products like meats, seafood, eggs, and milk products. Vegans follow this diet for different reasons like environment, better health, and religious beliefs. Studies have shown that a vegan diet can be the most healthy diet in the world. Many companies are going into business to create artificial meat and cheese from plant-based materials like soy and seitan to make this diet convenient for everyone.
While a plant-based diet has tons of health benefits the major concern about this diet is it causes nutritional deficiencies. People often argue about the lack of protein and other essential nutrients in a plant-based diet.
Protein is an important component as it is responsible for the growth of your body. Protein is made up of amino acids that your body requires for building muscle and taking out other important functions.
According to health experts, a plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients that your body requires, including protein.
In a vegan diet, different types of food provide different amounts of protein. All you need is a good diet plan consisting of all the foods that’ll keep you healthy and provide all the vitamins and minerals. In this post, we’ll learn about the 6 best high-protein plant-based foods. You can add all these foods to your diet or select the most suitable ones.
Tofu is one of the best high protein foods that are made from soy milk. This food is prepared by pressing the condensed soy milk into solid white cubes. The process is quite similar to cheese. Tofu was originated in China more than 2000 years ago. According to some people, a Chinese cook discovered tofu by accidentally mixing a fresh batch of soy milk with nigari.
Nigari is harvested during the extraction of salt from the seawater. It is high in minerals and helps in solidifying tofu and maintaining its form.
Currently, most of the world’s soybeans are grown in the United States Of America. A large proportion of these soybeans are genetically modified (GMO). There are many controversies on the harmful effects of GMOs. Although, researchers have not found these controversies true.
Tofu has a high amount of protein with all the essential amino acids. 100g of tofu has around 8g of protein. A cup of tofu has almost 18g of protein which is around 30% of your daily requirement. It is a nutrient-dense food with only 70 calories per 100g. Tofu also consists of a good amount of fats, carbs, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. The content of micronutrients in tofu depends upon the coagulant used. The high amount of nigari increases the magnesium content in tofu whereas precipitated calcium increases calcium content.
Lentils are edible seeds of the legume family that are well known for their circular lens shape. They are mostly used in Asian and North African cuisines. Currently, most amount of lentils are produced in Canada.
Lentils are grown in a variety of colors, the most widely consumed are brown, green, yellow, and red. Different colors of lentils have different compositions of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Lentils are mostly overlooked, but they contain a wide variety of nutrients.
Lentils are made up of 25% protein which makes them a great meal alternative. 100g of boiled lentils contains 9g of protein. A cup of boiled lentils has almost 230 calories, 15g of protein, 40g of carbs, 0.8g of fats, and 15.6g of fiber. They’re also a great source of essential minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
Lentils are rich in health-promoting phytochemicals known as polyphenols. These phytochemicals are known to have high antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotection. Some studies have found that polyphenols can improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cancer.
Chickpeas are legume plants that are grown and eaten for thousands of years in Middle Eastern countries. The nutty taste and grainy texture of chickpeas make them an excellent pair with other foods and ingredients.
Chickpeas are loaded with many health benefits like weight loss, better bone health, immunity, and digestion. This legume is high in protein and fiber which makes it a perfect replacement for meat. Chickpeas also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B folate, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium, and thiamine.
100g of chickpeas has 9g of protein. A cup of chickpeas has 14.5g of protein, 45g of carbs, 4g of fat, 12.5g of fiber, and a moderate number of calories, around 270. Around 67% of these calories come from carbs while the rest are from protein and fats.
The amount of protein in chickpeas keeps your appetite under control which lowers your calorie intake and keeps you full for a long time. According to a study, the people who consume chickpeas regularly are 53% less likely to become obese than those who don’t eat chickpeas.
The glycemic index (GI) in chickpeas is low which makes this food healthy for diabetic patients. The Glycemic index is the marker of how rapidly your blood sugar spike after eating food. Foods with a low glycemic index help in the management of blood sugar levels.
Peanuts are the legume from South America that are commonly eaten roasted or as peanut butter. They’re also known by different names like groundnuts and earthnuts. Despite their name, peanuts are not related to tree nuts but as legume to beans, lentils, and soy.
Studies have shown that peanuts promote weight loss and reduce the risk of gallstones. Despite being high in fats and calories, peanuts don’t increase your weight. Adding peanuts to your diet will help in weight management and lower the risk of getting obese.
Peanuts are rich in high-quality protein, fats, and other important vitamins and minerals. 100g of peanuts contains around 24g of protein. A cup of peanuts is packed with around 40g of protein, 30g of carbs, 15g of fiber, 80g of fat, and a fairly high number of calories, around 700. The high amount of fats in peanuts consists of mono and polyunsaturated fats which are healthy for your body and reduce the risk of heart diseases.
For vegans, the best way to consume peanuts is by making peanut butter sandwiches. This will help you to keep a note of all the micronutrients per serving of peanut butter.
Almonds are one of the most popular tree nuts that are very nutritious and contain a high amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are native to the Middle East but currently, 80% of the world’s supply of almonds is grown in California.
The high amount of antioxidants in almonds protects your cells from oxidative damage which is a major cause of aging. Almonds are also high in magnesium, a mineral that is hard to find in many foods. Magnesium helps in improving metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, high blood pressure, and chronic diseases like cancer.
Almonds are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and a variety of essential nutrients. 100g of protein has 21g of protein. A cup of almonds contains almost 35g of protein, 70g of fat, 18g of fiber, and 800 calories. Almonds are among the best sources of vitamin E, with just 1 ounce containing around 37% of the daily requirement. Studies have shown that a higher intake of vitamin E can reduce the risk of cancer, heart diseases, and Alzheimer’s.
Eating a handful of almonds every day can lower bad LDL cholesterol in your body, keeping your heart healthy.
6. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are tiny black and white seeds that are native to Central America. Centuries ago, these tiny seeds were a staple in the diets of ancient Aztec and Maya. Historically, the Aztec and Maya civilizations viewed chia seeds highly nutritious and used them in their food, medical purposes, religious rituals and cosmetics.
The high protein and fiber in chia seeds helps in losing weight and keeps you full for longer periods of time. Most of the fiber in chia seeds are soluble fiber that lowers the LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood. Low levels of LDL reduces the risk of diseases and high blood pressure.
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, protein, omega-3, vitamins and minerals. 100g of chia seeds contain 17g of protein. 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons of chia seeds has 5g of protein, 12g of carbs, 8.7g of fat, 9.8g of fiber and a moderate number of calories, around 130.
The versatility of these seeds makes them easy to be used in variety of recipes.