Vegetarian Protein Sources
Did you know that plant foods contain the same eight amino acids as animal foods but in different amounts? This page will help you make sense of the different nutrients and vitamins and how to incorporate vegetarian protein sources into your daily diet.
I firmly believe that vegetarian diet is good and good for you. The health benefits are proven and varied. However, that said, it is extremely essential that each individual ensure healthy intake of vegetarian food from vegetarian protein sources. Some "junk food" can be considered vegetarian but at the same time empty, nutrition-less calories.
The American Dietetic Association, the largest organization of nutrition professionals in the U.S., states that vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems.
Hey, it all sounds super – but how do you become veggie without messing up your health and metabolism? Where do you get all your nutrients and vitamins from? What are your vegetarian protein sources? I know. I've been there. People ask these questions all the time! Your Mom, Grandma, Best Friend, Spouse – they're all questioning your sanity and concerned for your health
Well, you should be concerned for your health as well… and now we're going to talk a bit about that…
A healthy, balanced vegetarian or vegan diet rich in beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables —along with a bit of vitamins B12 and D— will give you everything that your body needs.
But if you often eat on the run or go out to eat and don't always have time to plan nutritious meals, you may wish to consider taking a daily multivitamin. I truly believe that if you plan your meals and eat right, you will not need additives. All your needs can be found in vegan and/or vegetarian protein sources.
This is an interesting article submitted by Alesha Wilson at RockwelNutrition.com - it is an interesting read. Going Green and Meatless
So what are nutrients and where do you get them from?
What are good Vegetarian Protein Sources?
What are good Vegetarian Protein Sources?
Keep reading... the answers are here...
Protein: Beans, vegetables, and grains provide great vegetarian protein sources, even if you not intentionally combine them in any particular way (see the Complete Proteins page for more vegetarian protein sources and information). Some especially protein-rich foods are beans, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, and soy products.
Bean Sprouts have even been acclaimed as the “most enzyme-rich food on the planet". Bean Sprouts are an excellent source of protein. (check out my "Sprouting Ideas" page). And they are practically calorie-free!
So what sprouts are good vegetarian protein sources?
Sprouts can be:
Combining protein rich foods increases the protein absorption by about 30%, and so it is important to combine grains, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds and greens in a vegetarian diet. Below are some classic vegetarian high protein combinations, but of course, you can come up with many more options just by using a little creativity:
Great Vegetarian Protein Sources:
Iron: Iron can be found in green leafy vegetables and in beans and other legumes such as green peas, lentils, chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts, mung beans, and beans of all kinds (kidney, lima, aduki, navy beans, soy beans and products made from them; e.g., tofu, textured vegetable protein, tempeh, soy milks), peanuts, etc...
Calcium: Calcium is found in green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, or collards, as well as in beans. Try black, white, kidney, pinto, or any other variety. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and others are loaded with highly absorbable calcium and a whole lot of other nutrients.
One cup of cooked kale, for example, has the same amount of absorbable calcium (100 milligrams) as one cup of cow’s milk with less than half the calories and none of the saturated fat or cholesterol that come from dairy products. Plant sources of calcium are better than dairy products for bones because they provide calcium and avoid animal proteins, to help you reduce bone loss.
Calcium–fortified orange and apple juices, as well as soy and rice milks, contain 300 milligrams or more of calcium per cup. You only need two–thirds of a cup of fortified orange juice, one cup of fortified soymilk to get the same amount of absorbable calcium as an 8–ounce glass of cow’s milk.
Calcium Rich Foods include :
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is needed for cell division and blood formation. Vitamin B12 can be found in fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, fortified soy milk, vitamin B12 fortified meat substitutes such as Tofu and Seitan
Did you know.....? There was a time when vegetarians could get plenty of vitamin B12 from bacteria in drinking water. Since drinking water is now treated with chemicals that kill the bacteria, it's important to make sure that you get enough vitamin B12 from fortified foods or supplements.
Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can't make them -- you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.
Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.
Omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption. Flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, walnuts, rapeseed oil, dark green vegetables like seaweed, broccoli, spinach and kale are reasonable sources of Omega-3 essential if eaten regularly. Other green vegetables, like spring greens, dark salad leaves, cabbage, brussel sprouts and parsley are also good sources of Omega-3.
Clinical evidence for the need for Omega-3 Fatty Acids is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but Omega 3 may also be used for:
High cholesterol, High blood pressure, Heart disease, Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Osteoporosis, Depression, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Skin disorders, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Asthma, Macular Degeneration (a serious age-related eye condition that can progress to blindness), Menstrual pain, Colon cancer, Breast cancer.
I'm no doctor, but I wonder if many of the common, modern ailments that have grown so rampant in recent decades can be improved by proper nutrition and more vegetarian protein sources.
I read that according to experts, our current consumption of Omega-3 fatty acid has shrunk to one sixth of 1850 levels and by comparison, our intake of Omega-6 fatty acids has doubled since 1940. Excess intake of Omega-6 can cause increased water retention, raised blood pressure and raised blood clotting. Hmmmmm…… Food for thought.
Iron Absorption Enhancers: These foods assist your body in absorbing the iron you consume :
Fruits: Orange, Orange Juice, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Grapefruit etc.
Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Tomato, Tomato juice, Potato, Green and Red Pepper
White wine (White wine is gooood!)
Iron Absorption Inhibitors : These foods inhibit proper absorption of iron in foods you consume :
Now, here are some interesting facts.
1. The anatomical equipment of humans, such as teeth, jaws, and digestive system, is built to support a meatless diet. The American Dietetic Association notes that "most of mankind for most of human history has lived on vegetarian or near-vegetarian diets."
2. Swedish scientist Karl von Linne states, "Man's structure, external and internal, compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food."
3. If you compare herbivores and humans, it appears that humans are much more closely related to herbivores than to meat eating animals. Our systems are not designed to digest and ingest meat.
4. The ADA (American Dietetic Association) says that "most of mankind for most of human history has lived on a vegetarian or Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet."
Did you know….? More interesting facts about human anatomy that support the belief that we humans were not built to consume and digest meat.
Meat-eaters: have claws
Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue
Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding
Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly
Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
*Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)
Now, that's food for thought!
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