Protein and the plant based diet

March 2, 2022

The what and why of protein

 

Protein is essential. Not only do we use it to repair and build muscle, but it is also an important ingredient in making hormones and enzymes.  

Sometimes we may need use protein as an energy source.

Unlike the other macronutrients (carbohydrate / fat), protein can’t be stored in the body, so we instead need to make sure we are getting enough in each day.

Protein: Meat-based diet vs plant-based diet

It is a common misconception that protein only comes from animal products. In fact, approximately 45 - 60% of the world's protein is supplied by plants.

Some people who eat meat and animal products (such as dairy) can often get more protein than what's required because these foods are so plentiful in protein.

For those following a vegan / plant based diet, a bit of planning is all that is needed to make sure you get a varied mix and amount of protein.

Vegan / plant-based sources of protein:

Great sources

- legumes (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans)

- soy products (tofu, tempeh, soymilk / yoghurt)

- nuts and seeds  (almonds, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini, nut butters)

Good sources

- some grains (quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat)

- some breads, cereals, and wholegrain products

 

If possible, a variety of plant-based sources of protein should be included by everyone (meat eaters included) as these foods are generally rich in fibre, carbohydrates and other vitamins and minerals.

 

Take a look at our article: ‘How to get enough protein on a plant based diet” to discover '10 easy ways to get  protein into your day on a plant based diet'.

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