If you are a vegan or just a newly converted vegan, the thing you will worry most is, which vegan foods are high in protein since not all plants or vegetables contain enough protein to sustain your body’s needs. There may have been articles online debunking beliefs that vegan lifestyle is healthy. This diet is not everyone’s cup of tea as utterly discussed by many since going vegan is a choice. So choosing this strict diet means you have to be aware of the consequences when you fail to consume foods that are rich in protein; you are also equally responsible to research on plants that can give you protein abundantly.
Can Vegans have protein?
Yes, this is an important issue most especially when doing this strict plant-based diet. It is easy for a vegan diet to meet recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. (Vegetarian Resource Group).
What happens when your body is low in protein? To begin with, there are two kinds of protein deficiency: Kwashiorkor, which happens when you eat scanty protein but enough calories, and Maramus, where your protein and general calorie consumption are both near to the ground. So in order for these symptoms not to show, a responsible vegan should know which vegan foods are high in protein to avoid these:
- Fatty Liver
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Low blood pressure and low heart rate
- Failure to absorb nutrients
- May compromise your immune system
- Constant food cravings – Protein evens out blood sugar highs and lows
- Muscle and Joint pains
- Slow recovery from injuries
- Unhealthy hair, skin, and nails
- Brain fog
Can You Survive Without Protein?
When your protein intake is not adequate to sustain your body’s needs, the simple abrupt eating of protein rich foods in a day may not make up for the loss you have sustained. The answer to the question posted is no. One cannot survive without protein because the lack of it can do serious harm to your body; your health will definitely be compromised making you at risk of getting serious illnesses if not treated at an early stage.
How Common Is Protein Deficiency?
According to Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Protein deficiency is almost unheard of in the United States. It’s easy to get all the protein you need without eating meat, dairy, or eggs. An average woman needs about 46 grams of protein per day; the average man about 56. But most Americans consume about double the amount they actually need. And when it comes to protein, more isn’t always better. One study found that people eating large amounts of animal protein have 23 times the risk of death from diabetes and 5 times the risk of death from cancer as those consuming less protein. Foods rich in animal protein are often packed with saturated fat and cholesterol.”
Which Vegan Foods Are High In Protein
Below is a list of which vegan foods are high in protein:
- Seitan – Made from gluten and can be commonly found in wheat. It contains about 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
- Edamame and Soybeans – Edamame are immature soybeans. Both are rich in iron, calcium and 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
- Lentils – It contains 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). Lentils are commonly used and eaten in salads, soups and dahls.
- Chickpeas – Containing around 7.25 g per ½ cup. Chickpeas are most commonly known in making hummus.
- Spirulina – Containing around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. Spirulina is a blue or green algae that is rich in nutrients such as iron and B vitamins.
- Almonds – Containing 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. It also holds a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.
- Quinoa – Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup. This famous grain can fill you up since it is rich in magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese.
- Nutritional Yeast – Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, it looks like a yellow powder that resembles the taste of cheeses. Contains 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams).
- Spelt and Teff – grains that contain 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), making them higher in protein than other ancient grains.
- Hempseed – Comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, which may be classified as belonging to the family as the marijuana plant. Hempseed contains 10 grams of complete, easily digestible protein per ounce (28 grams).
- Green Peas – Contains 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml).
- Soy Milk – Containing 7 grams of protein per cup (240 ml).
- Oats and Oatmeal – Half a cup (120 ml) of dry oats provides you with approximately 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
- Chia Seeds – From the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala. Contains 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per 1.25 ounces (35 grams).
- Wild Rice – contains approximately 1.5 times as much protein as other long-grain rice varieties, including brown rice and basmati. One cooked cup (240 ml) provides 7 grams of protein, in addition to a good amount of fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and B vitamins.
- Nuts, Nut Butters and Other Seeds – An ounce (28 grams) contains between 5–7 grams of protein, depending on the nut and seed variety.
- Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Fruits with high protein are: guava, cherimoyas, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines and bananas.
How Much Protein Do I Need To Survive?
According to an online article published by Harvard Health Publishing, “the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So a vegan must take note of this amount. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements.”