Natural Sources of Protein for Vegetarians and Vegans

Robin Reichert By Robin Reichert, 18th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

Vegans and vegetarians can avoid the need for a protein supplement and get enough dietary fiber by eating a variety of beans, grains and vegetables. Living meat-free does not mean boring lettuce and raw carrots. There are many delicious vegetables and grains that provide adequate protein as well as many other essential vitamins and minerals.

Natural Sources of Protein for Vegetarians and Vegans

Protein is essential to a healthy body, and every cell in the body requires protein to function properly. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of cells. Protein is found in the greatest quantities in meat, fish and poultry. Vegetarians can get enough nutrition from animal products, such as milk, cheese and eggs. Vegans need to be especially careful to eat vegetables that provide enough nutrition for their bodies. Dried beans and peas, nuts, seeds, tofu and many grains and some vegetables provide adequate nutrition for a healthy body.

Adults generally need at least 35 percent protein of their daily caloric intake. Vegetarians who do consume eggs, milk and cheese will probably get enough protein in their diet. Vegans, on the other hand, who only eat plant-based foods may not be getting the nutrition they need for good health. A variety of vegetables, beans and grains can provide all the protein necessary for a healthy diet. Too much protein in the diet may lead to kidney disease, calcium stones in the bladder and urinary tract, osteoporosis and even cancer. Therefore, it's important to get enough protein in the diet by eating 5 or more servings of grains every day, 3 servings of vegetables including at least one serving of raw vegetables, and 3 servings of bean protein daily.

Beans are a very good source of nutrition, and they are low in fat but high in fiber content. Lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, pinto beans and red beans are all rich sources of plant protein. Red beans contain the highest amount of plant nutrition. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, corn, spinach and tomatoes are abundant in plant protein. Nuts and seeds, such as flax, walnuts and pecans also provide essential fatty acids to the diet. Vitamin E and protein are plentiful in almonds and hazelnuts.

Vegans can get enough nutrition from plant foods as long as their diet includes a variety of beans, vegetables and grains. Too little or too much protein in the diet can cause serious health problems. The key to a healthy vegan and vegetarian diet is to eat a variety of meatless foods that contain protein.

Tags

Vegan Diet, Vegan Protein Recipes, Vegetarian Food, Vegetarian Protein Sources

Meet the author

author avatar Robin Reichert
I'm an AFPA certified nutrition consultant, AFPA certified personal trainer, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, as well as an online fitness coach and a professional freelance writer.

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Comments

author avatar WOGIAM
18th Jun 2014 (#)

I wish I had the will power to become a vegetarian, I love my fruits and veggies but also my meat. Thanks for this informative article.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
18th Jun 2014 (#)

THANKS Robin- very great protein alternatives...

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author avatar C.D. Moore
18th Jun 2014 (#)

Good ideas here!

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author avatar Robin Reichert
18th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks everyone! Appreciate the feedback.

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