The myth and truth about protein in plant foods

Protein is the building block for our cells, muscles and tissues. It is responsible for many functions in the body, and therefore each of us must receive a sufficient amount of protein with food every day.

Unfortunately, there is still a very widespread belief that people who limit themselves to meat and animal products cannot get the required amount of protein … I hear about this quite regularly in relation to my diet. Is it true?

The answer is that a well-planned diet can have more than enough protein to keep you healthy and active. Eat a variety of foods and get all the nutrients you need. With the transition to a plant-based diet, I began to use many new products, some of which I had never even heard of before! And, of course, I had no idea that they can be an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals, for example:

– nuts: 45 grams of nuts, depending on the type, contain from 4 to 7 grams of protein,


– seeds (for example, hemp): in 30 grams of grains, depending on the type, there can be from 5 to 10 grams of protein,

– green soybeans: 150 grams of cooked beans contain 17 grams of protein,

– chickpeas: 160 grams of finished chickpeas contains 14 grams of protein,

Lentils: 200 grams of cooked lentils = 18 grams of protein

– legumes: again depends on the type of legumes, for example, in 150 grams of boiled black beans, 15 grams of protein,

– my favorite cereal is quinoa: 185 grams of boiled quinoa has 8 grams of protein,

– millet: 170 grams of boiled millet contains 6 grams of protein,

– amaranth: 240 grams of finished amaranth contains 9 grams of protein,

– tofu: in 120 grams, 10 grams of protein,

– Spirulina and other algae are very rich in protein, two tablespoons of dry spirudin powder contains 8 grams of protein.

Here are some of my recipes based on these plants: amaranth with vegetables, red bean lobio, quinoa, rice with beans, hummus, lentil soup.

And spirulina and hemp seeds can be added to smoothies and juices.

In general, many plants have small amounts of protein, which is why nutritionists say that by eating varied meals throughout the day, you can get enough protein. For example, 180 grams of cooked spinach contains 5 grams of protein, and 140 grams of cooked broccoli contains 3 grams of protein.

Protein must be prioritized in any diet, especially plant-based diets. Try to include a plant-based protein source with every meal to ensure you have a complete set of amino acids throughout the day.

Ahead of your question about how much protein a person needs per day, I will say that this is very individual and depends on many factors: your lifestyle, goals, digestion, weight, type of protein consumed. In general, the RDA, according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. Because athletes have higher protein requirements than non-athletes, the Canadian Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that they calculate their daily protein intake as follows:

– practicing power sports (Power athletes): from 1,2 to 1,7 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight;

– practitioners of sports “endurance” (Endurance athletes): from 1,2 to 1,4 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight.


Sources of:

Self Nutrition Data

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


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