Since the historic time of Home Sapiens, the human species is used to getting their dose of nutrients and proteins by feeding on other animals and creatures. But over the years, things changed. We, humans, became more aware of our health and the food we intake to keep our bodies fit. Due to our concern for the environment and other species, and our love for animals, vegetarianism and veganism are becoming increasingly popular among the masses. However, a lot of critics claim that a purely meatless diet is not as nutritious, one of the major reasons being the lack of proteins in it.
Protein as a nutrient is essential for the human body. Having healthy hair, skin and muscles all depends majorly on the amount of protein your body receives. A deficiency of protein in the body can lead to various problems such as fatigue, muscle weakness, hair loss, etc. So how can we stick to our personal food preferences and yet ensure that we achieve optimal health for our body? Worry not, because this is definitely possible even without including meat in your diet! As opposed to the popular myth that vegetarians will always face a lack of nutrients for their body, choosing the right kind of food can keep you healthy. Here are some of the food items that are purely vegetarian and still contain high amounts of proteins and vitamins:
The easiest answer for proteins for vegetarians is nuts. Right from almonds and cashews to peanuts and hazelnuts, all kinds of nuts can be consumed at any time of the day and are rich in nutrients. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein with 4 gm per tablespoon. All you need to do is watch the salt if you consume these on a regular basis. Choose regular instead of salted to keep the sodium intake low.
Lotus Seeds or Makhana
A food item which is catching up on the popularity meter is Makhana. With tasty versions of it being introduced in the market, Lotus seeds are a great source of nutrients for the body. Along with being rich in protein they are anti-inflammatory and act as a great antioxidant. You can eat them raw, roasted, ground or boiled and can also add them to soups, salads, and also desserts.
If you are a vegan, this section will not be applicable to you but if you are not, CHEESE is the answer to everything! Cottage cheese, cheddar, parmesan, they all are high in protein and can be eaten in all forms. Low sodium parmesan makes it to the protein heavyweight category with 42 gm in a 100 gm serving. Other products falling in the dairy category such as milk and ice cream also provide the body with a lot of protein, along with calcium.
Rajma chawal or beans on a pile of cheese nachos, whatever be the form, as long as you’re having beans, you know that your body is receiving a wealth of proteins. Black beans have the most proteins so try to include them in your diet as often as possible. Low in cholesterol and high in magnesium, half a cup of beans yields up to 7.5 gm of protein.
Soy is another food item packed with protein and is considered as a great alternative for meat by a lot of chefs. Tofu, tempeh, natto or soy milk, whichever form of soy suits your pallet, you know that it is going to be healthy. Tofu contains an impressive 20 gm of protein in every half cup, whereas soy beans have 14 gm per half cup.
Catching up soon into the world of good food, quinoa is another food item which chefs are eyeing and incorporating in new recipes. This tiny little seed is the only seed that provides all the nine essential amino acids which the body needs. It is rich in magnesium, iron and fibre and is a great resort for those suffering from diabetes. It can easily be chosen as a healthy substitute for pasta or rice.
So the next time someone gets to your head about the lack of protein your diet, you do not have to worry about it. With appropriate ingredients in the good proportions in your diet, you know that you are doing it right!