The misconception that vegans can’t get enough protein has been well and truly disproved, and there are lots of great sources of protein for vegans. A few of these include lentils, quinoa, chickpeas and beans, and chia seeds, and this article will tell you why they are some of the best sources.
Not only are lentils packed full of protein, with 18g per cup of uncooked lentils and 9g per cup of cooked lentils – making them a great source of protein for vegans – they are really versatile and can be used in lots of recipes. Lentils are also a great source of magnesium, fibre, folate and iron. The former of these (magnesium and fibre) mean that lentils are beneficial for your heart, improving circulation. Lentils are also a form of slow-release carbohydrate, meaning that they will provide you with energy over a long period of time – so they are great in your pre-workout meal. Additionally, they can help to stabilise your blood sugars, which is helpful for people with diabetes or hypoglycaemia.
Quinoa also has around 9g of protein per cup (cooked) and are a complete source of protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice or pasta, and people also use it to replace the oats in porridge. It is full of fibre, magnesium and potassium, the latter of which is great for easing cramps. They are also beneficial for people who have a gluten intolerance as quinoa is gluten free.
Chickpeas and beans are one of the best vegan protein sources, and chickpeas have a whole 15g protein per cup. They are beneficial for heart health, the regulation of blood sugar, and colon health. Chickpeas also have lots of folate in them, which helps to prevent the formation of cancer cells due to DNA mutation. Beans also contain around 15g protein per cup, and are an excellent source of complex carbs, iron, potassium, and fibre. Eating beans regularly also helps to decrease cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Because they are full of fibre (both soluble and insoluble), beans help to keep the digestive system running smoothly.
Overall, chia seeds are a superfood for four reasons: they are full of antioxidants, have high plant-based omega-3, are full of fibre (around 37%) and are a source of complete protein. Considering that 2 tsp of chia seeds contain 4g of protein, they are an easy way to add extra protein into your diet – just throw a few teaspoons into your meals for an extra boost – making them a great and efficient source of protein for vegans. They are also a source of ALA which is known to reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), decrease the risk of heart disease, and help to prevent cancer. They also have lots of iron, calcium and magnesium, which will benefit your overall health and wellbeing. Because they are so versatile, you can also mix them with water to create a gel-like substance which can be used to substitute eggs in baking.
These are four of the best sources of protein for vegans, and each one is pretty versatile, meaning that getting a healthy amount of protein each day doesn’t have to be boring.