Many people believe that animal meat is the most abundant source of protein for our diet. But this belief can be proven wrong because a healthy vegetarian diet can adequately provide our daily requirement.
Why do we need protein?
Proteins carry out a great number of tasks in our body. This very important nutrient builds and maintains muscles, organs, skin and blood. The right amount of protein intake helps maintain the immune function and supports in energy metabolism and cell processes. It is also partly responsible for making us full after a meal.
What you need to know?
The amount of this nutrient required in your diet depends on your weight, age and health. However, the recommended dietary intake of protein for adult women is 0.75 grams/ kilogram of body weight, 0.84 grams/kilogram of body weight for adult men and around 1 gram/ kilogram of body weight for pregnant and lactating women including men and women over 70 years old.
The proteins in our body are actually made up of 20 amino acids, the chemicals within the body takes care of the production of the 11 “building blocks”. What we need to be concerned about is to get the 9 amino acids that our body cannot produce.
The disadvantages of getting it from meat products
Protein can easily be sourced from meat products but studies reveal that getting it from this source alone poses some health dangers. High-blood pressure, stroke, atherosclerosis and heart disease are some of the diseases associated with animal proteins due to the high-cholesterol deposits in meat products.
Unlike fruits and vegetables, meat products require much more energy to digest and generally take longer to break down leaving you feeling exhausted after eating steak. Since meats are often not easy to digest they stay in the body for up to four days, making them toxic in your blood stream.
Furthermore, meats have more proteins than what the body needs and if they are not eliminated in a timely manner they turn toxic. There are actually a lot of other negative disadvantages in relying on meats alone for proteins.
How a vegetarian diet plan meets your protein needs
If you are a vegetarian, you can get adequate amount of this nutrient from these easy to digest plant-based sources:
Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup is equivalent to 14 grams, 6 oz. of yogurt contains around 6-10 grams and 1 oz. cheese can yield up to 6-10 grams of protein.
Whole grains and quinoa
Instead of eating pasta, consuming 1 cup of brown rice can give you 4.5 grams and 1 cup of quinoa can yield up to 8 grams of the nutrient.
Beans and lentils
Incorporating 1/2 cup of beans and/or lentils in your meal can supply 7-10 grams of proteins.
Soy products and tofu
1/2 cup of soybeans and and/ or tofu can give you around 8-10 grams of proteins.
Healthy vegetarian recipes
Now that you know some of the plant-based protein sources and the amount they provide, it will be easier for you to plan your healthy vegetarian recipes.