Proteins are macromolecules that make up the human body and are formed by long chains of different amino acids that give rise to different combinations and sequences and, consequently, to different properties. Plant-based proteins are contained in foods of plant origin: cereals, legumes, seeds, algae, fruits, and vegetables. Keep reading to find out more.
The importance of plant-based protein
In the human body, during a day, proteins are broken down into amino acids and recomposed to form new ones: this replacement allows to grow, heal and improve the defenses. Proteins play very important roles, including enzymatic catalysis, muscle contraction, protection against harmful agents, regulation, and oxygen transport. Since the organism suffers losses of amino acids and can produce only those it needs, it is necessary to take an adequate amount of proteins to be sure that they contain the “essential” amino acids, that is those that we are not able to produce.
For this reason, in every balanced diet, there must be the right consumption of protein, essential to allow our body to be efficient and to stay healthy. We often tend to think that is important to eat large quantities of meat, tending to neglect plant-based proteins. Instead, more and more studies show that it is often the latter that significantly reduces the risk of developing hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Let us discover food with plant-based proteins.
Food with plant-based protein
Vegetable proteins are found in foods of plant origin: cereals, seitan, legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas), soya and derivatives (tofu, tempeh, miso), wheat muscle, dried fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts), seeds (sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds), algae (spirulina) and in small quantities also fruits and vegetables.
In general, the protein quality of food of animal origin is higher as it contains all the various essential amino acids. The lower quality of plant-based proteins is due to a deficiency of one or more essential amino acids.
Cereals are for example deficient in tryptophan and lysine, an essential amino acid whose deficiency can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B3 (niacin). Legumes, very rich in proteins of good quality, are lacking in sulfur amino acids (methionine and cysteine) important for the growth of hair and nails, and the synthesis of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant able to protect our cells from oxidative stress (free radicals).
However, by correctly matching different plant-based proteins, even alternating and not necessarily in the same meal, the deficiency of various limiting amino acids can be compensated. Pasta and legumes are an example of an excellent combination because the amino acids whose pasta is lacking are supplied by beans and vice versa. The daily protein intake can also be achieved with vegetarian or vegan diets, if well balanced and studied according to the person. Foods with a high amount of plant-based protein?
Legumes are the most protein-rich vegetable source in nature. Just combine them with cereals to get all the missing amino acids compared to meat. Here is how many plant-based proteins contain legumes per 100 grams.
- Chickpeas 19 gr
- Beans 12 gr
- Broad beans 20 gr
- Soybean 37 gr
- Peas 22gr
- Lentils 23gr
Among the cereals, we include those prepared with spelt, wheat (bread and pasta), and soy flour that contain an average of 10 grams of protein per 100 grams. By combining cereals with legumes we can obtain all the amino acids needed for our body. Soft wheat is rich in fiber and free of cholesterol, while durum wheat also contains boast minerals and vitamins.
The richest seeds of protein are those of chia, hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower. Hemp seeds contain very high-quality plant-based protein, consisting of 22 amino acids including 8 essential amino acids. On the other hand, the pumpkin seeds contain 30 grams of protein in 100 grams of product and those of sunflower 21 grams in 100 grams of the product.
Algae, such as spirulina, are an important source of protein with 6 grams of protein per 100 grams of dried algae. Algae contain essential amino acids, enzymes, polyunsaturated fats, trace elements, vitamins, and much more. Spirulina is suitable for promoting bowel health and fighting free radicals.
TOFU, TEMPEH AND SEITAN
They are products derived respectively from soya, yellow beans, and wheat, very rich in vegetable proteins with 8/10 gr per 100 gr. Tofu, by the way, is cholesterol-free and contains few saturated fats.
Dried fruit is a rich source of plant-based proteins, especially pine nuts, here are the values per 100 grams of product:
- Pine nuts 31 gr
- Peanuts 29 gr
- Almonds 22 gr
- Pistachios 18 gr
- Cashews 15 gr
- Hazelnuts 13 gr
Quinoa is a food that looks like cereal but is derived from a plant of the spinach family, it is cooked as millet or couscous and is rich in vegetable proteins with 14 grams per 100. Its benefits are countless it is also very rich in iron, contains 10 essential amino acids, as well as many mineral salts, fibers, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. And it is even gluten-free, therefore suitable for celiacs.
Among the vegetables rich in plant-based proteins, we find broccoli, artichokes, cabbages, spinach, peppers, asparagus, and potatoes. It is well known how fundamental vegetables are to be introduced into the daily diet. And these in particular are also useful from a plant-based protein point of view.
Plant-based protein and ProLon®
ProLon® is rich in plant-based proteins thanks to its meals. It comes in 5 small boxes (one for each day) that include mostly plant-based energy bars, soups, a variety of snacks, drinks, and supplements, all studied and carefully designed to nourish your body and promote positive changes. ProLon ingredients are mostly plant-based and do not contain any additives, preservatives* or chemicals. Try ProLon now.Get in touch with our knowledgeable nutritionists for free.