Plant Protein vs Animal protein
More and more people today are choosing a Vegetarian / Vegan diet. And this may be due to various reasons – health concerns, religious issues or simply to avoid cruelty against animals. It is widely believed, even today, however that meat is a ‘complete protein’ which contains all the essential amino acids. So is meat the ideal source of protein for the human body? Does sole dependence on plant proteins make the human body weaker? Let us briefly discuss a few points that can help dispel these myths.
- The human body cannot utilize pure protein such as that which is found in chicken, fish, poultry, etc. This protein has to be further broken down into amino acids which is a very complicated process. This additional effort required to break down proteins is taxing to our bodies and contributes to aging. That is why people who intake a lot of protein always look older because breaking down the additional proteins tires the body’s organs and decays them. It enlarges the Kidneys and the liver as they try to compensate and excrete the extra amount of protein.
- The body does not require proteins, but instead, it needs amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. And every amino acid the body requires can be found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- People do not die from the lack of proteins but instead, they die of malnutrition. So if one is receiving a minimum amount of calories, then he/she cannot be lacking in proteins. Protein deficiency is exceedingly uncommon.
- We have to understand that eating meat does not contribute to growing bigger muscles. This is like saying that eating an animal’s brain will make you smarter. One builds stronger muscles by exercising, and not by eating.
- Consumption of animal protein leads to artery-clogging, saturated fat, obesity, cholesterol, etc It has also been observed that the percentages of osteoporosis are higher in protein consuming societies. It is because their diet with rich proteins causes calcium to be leached from their bones.
- Another misunderstanding that people often hold is that animal protein is of superior quality. This is another myth as we can see that plant protein is enough to raise a large animal such as horse, elephant, or hippo.
Protein Rich Vegetarian Foods
Vegetarian protein sources – Now that we understand the benefits of plant protein, let us try to make a note of such High protein vegetarian food sources.
- Lentils – 100 grams of lentils contains approximately 9 grams of protein. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers and are a great addition to stews, curries, salads and rice.
- Tofu – 100 grams of Tofu contains approximately 8 grams of protein. It is a versatile ingredient and an excellent source of amino acids, iron, calcium and other nutrients.
- Tempeh – 100 grams of tempeh contains approximately 19 grams of protein. Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product that is made from fermented soybeans and is considered to be highly nutritious. It is one of the most prominent of the Vegetarian protein sources.
- Edamame – 100 grams of Edamame contains approximately 11 grams of protein. It is a preparation of immature soybeans in the pod, found primarily in cuisines with origins in East Asia.
- Soybeans – Raw soybeans are a rich source of protein and are widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. 100 grams of soybeans contain about 36 grams of protein.
- Peanuts & Almonds – Both peanuts and almonds are rich sources of protein. 100 grams of peanuts contain 26 grams of protein. While 100 grams of almond contains approximately 21 grams of protein.
- Spirulina – Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria that can be consumed by both humans and animals. It is loaded with various nutrients and antioxidants that benefit the body. 100 grams of spirulina contains approximately 57 grams of protein.
- Chickpeas – Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, making them an appropriate food choice for those who do not eat animal products. 100 grams of chickpeas contain 19 grams of protein.
- Rice and Beans – Together, rice and beans contain all nine essential amino acids to form a complete source of protein. 100 Grams of rice and black beans contain approximately 4.6 grams of protein.
- Barley – Barley, a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It is a rich source of protein. 100 grams of barley contains approximately 12 grams of protein.
- Seitan – Seitan is a meat substitute for Vegans / Vegetarians and is made from wheat gluten and water. It is sometimes also called wheat gluten, wheat meat, wheat protein or simply gluten. 100 grams of seitan contains approximately 75 grams of protein.