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Best protein sources for vegans and vegetarians

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Last updated on : 18 Mar, 2024

Read time : 7 min

The vegan lifestyle nowadays is becoming very popular. Each and everyone these days is now switching to vegetarian foods. Be it an act against animal cruelty or a way of a healthier lifestyle. People prefer having vegetarian or vegan foods over non-vegetarian or animal products. A vegan lifestyle is at times necessary for people having weight goals, blood pressure, heart health and liver health issues. It has also been linked to a lower risk of cancer. A vegan lifestyle has also been proven to better regulation of blood sugar levels, and reduce pain in arthritis patients.

The biggest problem one faces switching to plant products is the lack of protein content in this diet. Getting enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals is harder for people who do not eat meat-based products. Such people need a proper diet of vegan products which have more protein content than others.
A well-planned vegetarian diet is a key to a successful and healthier life. A well-balanced diet would include all the foods, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.

What is protein?

Proteins are made of amino acids. There are twenty amino acids found in nature that our body needs for the formation of proteins. Out of these twenty amino acids, nine are considered essential. These nine amino acids cannot be produced by our body and are therefore needed through our diet. The remaining eleven are considered non-essential amino acids since our bodies can produce them.
Animal protein contains all the eleven amino acids but plant proteins at times contain a lesser amount of proteins as compared to animal proteins.

Read more – Protein: uses, function, benefits, requirement

What are the protein-rich food items for vegans?

Since some plant-based products have more protein content as compared to others. Incorporating these foods will enrich your diet and make it better planned.

1) Lentils

Green or red lentils contain large of protein, fiber and key nutrients, including iron and potassium. Cooked lentils contain 8.84 grams of protein per ½ cup serving.
The type of fibers found in the lentils tends to feed the good bacteria in our colon (part of in large intestine). Thus promoting a healthy gut.
Lentils are rich in folate, manganese, and iron. They contain large amounts of antioxidants.

2) Beans

Black, pinto, kidney and most other varieties of beans are among the most important staple foods. They also contain a high amount of proteins per serving. They further contain excess amounts of carbohydrates, fibre, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium etc. Most beans contain 15 grams of protein per cooked cup.

3) Tofu, tempeh

Soya is the ultimate source of vegan proteins in our bodies. The protein content differs in how the soy is prepared.

  • TOFU contains 10 grams of protein per ½ cup. Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheese making.
  • TEMPEH contains 15 grams of protein per ½ cup. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soya beans, then pressing them into the block.

Tofu doesn’t have much taste of his own. It tends to absorb the flavour of the ingredients with which it is prepared. Tofu and tempeh both are used in a variety of recipes.

4) Green peas

Green peas are a good source of protein as well as, iron, magnesium and vitamin A, C and K along with thiamine, folate, zinc copper and several other B vitamins.
Green peas nearly contain 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (160 grams), which is more than a cup of milk.

5) Peanuts

Peanuts are rich in protein healthy fats and improve heart health. Peanut butter contains 3.6 grams per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.

6) Almonds

They also contain a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes. It provides 16.5 grams of protein per ½ cup.

Read moreAlmond nutritional value and its benefits

7) Chia seeds

Chia seeds contain a high level of proteins, iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium, as well as omega3 fatty acids. It is highly rich in antioxidants and other beneficial plant products. They are a complete source of proteins that contains 2 grams of proteins per tablespoon.

8) Potatoes

Potatoes are a high source of carbohydrates along with other nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C. A large potato offers 8 grams of proteins per serve.

9) Protein-rich vegetables and fruits

Dark-coloured leafy green vegetables are a rich source of proteins. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, sweet potato, potato, and sprouts typically contain 4-5 grams of proteins per serving.

Fresh fruit contains comparatively less amount of protein than vegetables. Among fruits, those containing high amounts of protein include Guava, Mulberry, Blackberry and bananas which have about 2-4 grams of protein per cup.

10) Nuts

Nuts and seeds are great sources of proteins, fibers along with calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus, and vitamin E.
Try avoiding blanching and roasting of nuts as it tends to damage the nutrient content.

11) Avocado

It is a protein-rich vegetarian fruit highly popular for bodybuilding and fitness routines.

12) Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a type of bean with having high nutrition profile. The protein content in chickpeas is 7.3 grams per half-cup serving.

Read moreHealth benefits of roasted chana

13) Quinoa

It is one the most popular health food founds rich in proteins, fibers, antioxidants and minerals. The total protein content is 8.14 grams per cup.

14) Oats

Oats are considered to be superfoods. Oats have a rich amount of proteins along with zinc, magnesium, folate and phosphorus. 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber are seen in half a cup of oats.

Read moreHealth Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal

15) Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another source of vegan protein. These seeds are rich in antioxidants and are often seen to reduce stress.

Why is protein important?

Protein is one of the most important nutrients required for our body. Protein is necessary for:

  • Building and repairing body cells and tissues
  • Wound healing, having a diet rich in protein promotes better healing capacity of cells
  • It is a potent growth stimulator for hair, nails, muscle & bone.
  • Hormones are nothing but proteins.
  • They also help in transportation and storage.

Truemeds is the place to go for those of you who are considering making the transition to a vegan diet and adding a vegan source of protein to your diet. You can choose from a wide range of protein powder options by teleconsulting with our expertise on our website. Here you get a wide variety of protein powders. These products are available at discounted prices and are delivered pan India at your doorstep.


Which Indian vegetable has the highest protein content?

Green peas are considered to have the highest protein content among all vegetables.

Which fruit has the highest protein content?

Avocados among fruits are considered to have the highest protein content.

Which pulses/dal has the highest protein content?

Among all dals, moong dal has the highest protein content. It has 24 grams of protein per 100 grams of serving.

Is dairy products rich in protein?

Yes, soy milk & curd are rich in proteins. Curd has 11 grams of protein per 100 grams of servings.

Cooked spinach is better or raw spinach?

Cooked spinach has more protein content as compared to raw spinach. Cooked spinach has 1.7 grams of protein whereas raw spinach has 0.9 grams of protein.

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