Protein is one of the essential nutrients required for our muscles, tissues, and brain to function, which is why many diet conversations tend to revolve around whether or not there is adequate protein content. And this is particularly true for vegetarians and vegans alike because our society tends to see animals as the best source of protein. The truth is, there are plenty of plant-based protein sources; they’re not only healthy for you, but also better for the environment.
Did you know that pulses have been deemed by the United Nations as the food that can help feed the world? They are highly nutritional and sustainable foods that fix their own nitrogen, an essential nutrient for soil. And many of them are also very rich in protein. Pulses like lentils, black beans, and chickpeas are some of the best sources of protein, offering up to 9 grams of protein in just half a cup. They also provide many other important nutrients including antioxidants, B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and fibre.
Soymilk, tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all products of soybeans. Soybean is sometimes mistaken as pulses because they also fix their own nitrogen and grow in the same way, but the difference is that their seed is not dry. Nevertheless, soybeans are still incredibly rich in protein. Soymilk not only tastes great in smoothies, it is also helpful in promoting good heart health. Tofu and tempeh are even richer in protein, and always comes in a wide selection of texture, firmness, and flavours to appeal to varying preferences. Edamame is a young green soybean, and because it’s essentially a whole food, it has the highest content of protein—8.5 grams in just half a cup—compared to the soymilk and tofu.
3. Chia seeds and Flaxseeds
It seems like there’s always some sort of battle between two similar superfoods, and there’s definitely a debate on these two superseeds. Both chia seeds and flaxseeds pack a tonne of protein—5 grams in just two tablespoons. Beyond protein, they are also tremendously nutritious, with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium. They also both contain lignan, a powerful chemical compound that may help against certain forms of cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, as well as alleviating hormonal symptoms of menopause.
4. Ancient grains
What are ancient grains exactly? Amaranth, buckwheat, millet, chia seeds, quinoa, amongst many others are all ancient grains. Ancient grains have been around for thousands of years, and were once consumed by Aztec warriors who were offered to the Gods. To this day, many of the grains remain unchanged in the form that we eat them in today. Of course, to fuel the Aztec warriors, ancient grains are highly nutritional and also high in protein.
5. Vegan Protein Powder
If you’re still worried you’re not getting enough protein, then why not add vegan protein powder to your food? They’re not only good for pre-workout or smoothies; you can add them to pancakes, baked goods, oatmeal, and even yoghurt. One of our favourite brands is Vega. They create premium, clean, plant-based nutrition and supplement suitable for any diet. There are products that are performance-based, nutritional-based, and recovery-based, and all of them come in a wide array of flavours to appeal to all preferences.
It’s no secret that vegans and vegetarians don’t get enough protein is a complete myth. What are your favourite high-protein vegan foods?