Research suggests that healthy individuals should eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes and bodybuilders need approximately two grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Vegetarians have a difficult time getting the recommended amount of protein. Even though there are plenty of meat substitutes on the market, most of them are highly processed and contain harmful ingredients. The best vegetarian protein sources are minimally processed or unprocessed. Protein supports the proper functioning of the body, stimulates the production of red blood cells, and promotes the growth and repair of body tissue.
Here are some of the best protein rich foods for vegetarians:
Quinoa is a complete protein, which means that is contains all of the nine essential amino acids. One cup contains about eight grams of protein. Its texture is much like that of rice. This food has almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. It is also a great source of magnesium, iron, lysine, manganese, and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Vegetarians can use beans as their main source of protein. The most popular and healthiest types of beans include black beans, lentils, haricot beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, butter beans, and split beans. They also contain high amount of fiber, antioxidants, and complex carbohydrates. You can get seven to 10 grams of protein per half cup of cooked beans. These vegetables are comparable to meat when it comes to calories. They support weight loss and improve digestion.
This popular meat substitute is processed from wheat gluten. You can marinate it at home or buy it already seasoned. Seitan contains over 31 grams of protein per three ounces. This protein rich food is also referred to as wheat meat. In both quantity and quality, the protein in this food is similar to that in beef.
Nuts are rich in protein and healthy monounsaturated fats. 100 grams of nuts contain 25 grams of protein. This nutritional power food is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Regular consumption of nuts lowers cholesterol levels, prevents coronary artery disease, and reduces the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Dried seaweed contains more protein than milk, meat, chicken and other sources of animal protein. Studies have shown that seaweed is a complete protein, unlike most edible land plants. This plant is primarily composed of unsaturated fatty acids and contains up to 55 percent dietary fiber. Seaweed is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians.