Making sure you have a healthy and balanced diet is hard enough without any additional restrictions. Whilst vegan diets are great for both the environment and your body, ensuring you are meeting your nutritional needs can be tricky.
In this article, we explain what protein does for your body and how vegans can get more protein in their diet. We’ll also list our top three favourite vegan protein powders – ideal for boosting your protein intake on the move!
What does protein do?
Protein is an essential nutrient and it is made up of long chains of amino acids. Protein is a complex nutrient, aiding and assisting with multiple functions throughout the body.
This nutrient plays a role in maintaining muscles, bones, and tissue. It is required for a wide range of body processes, including:
- Blood clotting
- Immune system responses
- Hormone production
- Fluid balance.
Protein is present in every cell in the body, therefore, adequate protein intake is essential for maintaining your health.
How do vegans get protein?
Out of the 20 amino acids that the body uses to create protein, nine of these are known as essential Amino acids. These cannot be created by the body and must come directly from your diet.
Most people are taught that these proteins come from animal products, such as by eating chicken, pork, or beef. A vegan diet does not include any foods that come from animals, including eggs and dairy products like cow’s milk.
Therefore, for those that do not believe in the consumption of our furry friends, other sources of protein are necessary.
Vegan protein foods
There are plenty of vegan foods that are high in protein. Complete protein foods that contain all of these essential amino acids include soy and quinoa.
Incomplete proteins do not contain all of the essential amino acids but may contain some. Examples of these plant-based foods are beans, nuts, and grains. Sources of complete and incomplete proteins can be combined to provide a protein-packed meal, such as by having peanut butter on whole-wheat bread.
The ultimate list of high protein vegan food includes:
- Chia seeds
Proteins should be balanced with other essential nutrients and food groups including carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Nowadays, vegans also have access to a whole range of other sources of protein that do not use animal by products such as protein powders to supplement their diet.
Vegan protein powders are typically made from plant-based sources, such as pea and hemp protein. Don’t be fooled, these powders still pack a powerful punch! They help to build, restore, and maintain muscle just as well as non-vegan alternatives.
In addition to protein supplements, those that follow a vegan diet should be sure to stay on top of their iron, calcium, and B12 levels. Whilst iron can be ingested from dried fruit, such as raisins, one fail-safe way to ensure you are getting enough iron is to take a daily iron supplement.
In a similar way, B12 vitamin tablets and calcium boosters allow you to easily manage your vitamin and mineral levels. For those with a busy lifestyle and exercise routine, this means that you do not have to waste time in the kitchen or spend extra money on your food bill to achieve your goals.