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7 protein-rich plant foods
7 protein-rich plant foods

7 protein-rich plant foods

Date: October 21, 2022

The state of health of our planet has become a very dear topic to many. To cut emissions into the atmosphere find more sustainable alternatives to the excessive consumption of meat, fish and products of animal origin, alternatives with less impact on the environment, including seas and oceans.


A question arises: how to consume enough protein if I cut down on Protein of animal origin? Even if you play sports consistently, the solution is foods rich in vegetable Protein .



Abroad there are many initiatives to promote a "meatless day" or "meatless day" ideally once a week to reduce carbon emissions.

Let's be clear: what Protein are

In the human body, Protein are essential for many biological processes such as tissue repair, the production of antibodies, the synthesis of hormones and enzymes.

Protein-forming amino acids fall into two types: essential and non-essential.

Our body is not able to synthesize essential amino acids, for this reason it is central to take them through the diet by eating foods rich in Protein . When a protein contains essential amino acids in the right proportions required by the human body it is said to have a high biological value. The difference between foods rich in vegetable and animal Protein lies precisely in their biological value:

  • Foods rich in animal Protein provide Protein of high biological value because, generally, they contain good quantities of all essential amino acids.
  • Foods rich in vegetable Protein provide Protein of low biological value as one or more amino acids are present in insufficient quantities for the body.

According to the guidelines, the recommended level of protein intake for the Italian population is about 1gr. of protein per kg of body weight , with small variations in children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. This contribution can also be achieved with vegetarian or vegan diets, as long as they are well balanced with food with a high protein content and studied according to the needs of the individual person.

Foods rich in protein

1. Tofu

Among the foods rich in Protein, tofu is a sort of very versatile "soy cheese" derived from the curdling of soy bean juice which, in addition to being a food with protein content ( 8-10 gr. Of protein per 100 gr. . ), is a source of mineral salts such as iron and magnesium. Tofu is a very valid vegetable substitute for cheeses, compared to which it contains even more Protein, is cholesterol-free and has a low content of saturated fats. Another good news: tofu is lactose-free .


2. Dried fruit

Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts and pistachios are foods with Protein (present up to 20%) known for their delicious crunchiness and the content of good fats and mineral salts. The daily consumption of dried fruit should be about 10 grams for those on a diet, and about 20 grams for those who are not on a diet , and is especially recommended for those who carry out an important physical or intellectual activity. The ways to consume dried fruit are endless: as a snack it is practical by itself, chopped or cut into flakes it can be added to salads, sauces, gravies, yogurt, baked goods, etc.


3. Pseudocereals

Pseudocereals (quinoa, millet, buckwheat) are plants that produce fruits (grains) similar from a nutritional point of view to those of grasses but, unlike these, they are foods rich in Protein. Among the pseudocereals we find some that in fact guarantee a contribution of vegetable Protein of high biological value of 12-18%. Per example, quinoa has 14 grams of protein per 100 grams !


From the grains of ground pseudocereals it is possible to obtain a flour to produce pasta, bread or other foods with a high protein content with characteristics very similar to products derived from common cereals, such as wheat or rice. Furthermore, to the delight of celiacs, the pseudo cereals are gluten-free!


4. Legumes

Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, broad beans, lupins, soy) as well as being delicious and cheap are a fantastic source of vegetable protein.

The most well-known and appreciated legumes are beans, even in the most precious and sought-after varieties, such as black beans or adzuki beans: they provide 8 gr. of protein per 100 gr. Special mention to yellow soy: provides up to 37 gr. of protein per 100 gr.


Legumes cannot completely replace animal Protein: at the same weight they contain three times less protein than meat and are deficient in methionine and cysteine, two sulfur amino acids important for the growth of hair, hair, nails and for the synthesis of glutathione. a powerful antioxidant.


Attention: the amino acids deficient in legumes are contained in cereals!


Grains, in turn, have insufficient amounts of tryptophan and lysine, an essential amino acid whose deficiency can lead to a vitamin B3 deficiency. To solve these mutual deficiencies, the combination of cereals and legumes is recommended, as the amino acid deficiencies of the cereals are covered by legumes and vice versa , thus obtaining an excellent protein complementation.

An example of a delicious and healthy complement is pasta and beans, or even rice and peas.

The soy drink (often called "soy milk" even though milk is technically not) is prepared from soy beans macerated in water, has fewer calories, carbohydrates and fats than cow's milk and a protein intake of 9 gr. for 250 ml.


5. Hemp seeds and chia seeds

The seeds can make an excellent protein supplement to consume throughout the day, whether eaten raw as a snack, or added to soups, salads, yogurt, centrifuges, or extracts.

In particular, hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and consuming 30 gr. we assume 6 gr. of protein approx.


The protein intake of chia seeds is also quite high: it is 17 gr. in 100 gr. of product, as well as being an excellent source of minerals, fiber, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats.


6. Spirulina, chlorella, kombu

Spirulina is an algae particularly rich in vegetable Protein that can be found dried, in powder or in the form of a food supplement. Together with chlorella and kombu they constitute the main algae with the highest protein content. The chlorella seaweed and kombu provide about 30 gr. of protein per 100 gr. , while spirulina even double: 60 gr. of protein per 100 gr. A true record in the plant world!


7. I argue

Seitan is a vegetable protein food made from soft wheat gluten or other cereals (if you are celiac, unfortunately it is not for you). According to the traditional Chinese recipe, seitan is obtained by extracting gluten from wheat flour, mixing it and boiling it in water flavored with soy sauce, kombu seaweed and other aromas. It has a meat-like appearance, but a milder flavor and softer texture. The vegetable Protein in seitan amount to 35 gr. every 100 gr. of product, moreover it has a low carbohydrate content, is low in fat and does not contain cholesterol.



(Updated article)


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