If you do not eat meat, where do you get the protein from?

If you do not eat meat, where do you get the protein from? – every vegetarian has heard this question at least once in his life. Most people think that a vegetarian diet and building muscle mass do not go hand in hand. This diet is considered to be deficient and low-protein. In any rational diet, protein intake is the lowest of macronutrients because it can not be stored and used as a backup energy source. Varied and well-composed vegetarian diet provides a set of amino acids for protein synthesis. Not only the healing diets that are to lower cholesterol, prevent atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks and tumors, are based on plants. More and more athletes are also deciding to use a vegetable diet, which does not prevent them from achieving excellent results. That’s why if we go to the gym, we do not necessarily have to eat meat. Which products should I provide with protein?

1. Vegetarianism – legumes
2. Nuts
3. Groats and pseudozhoża
4. Hemp sowing

1. Vegetarianism – legumes

Legumes belong to the legume family. Among them, we can distinguish soy, lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas and beans. It is a group of plants particularly important from the nutritional point of view. Bean plants provide such nutrients as vegetable protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Protein is the basic ingredient of seeds. From the available crops in Poland, the most protein is soy and yellow lupine (35-42%), while the most commonly consumed peas and beans contain proteins relatively less, about 21-25%. It is worth noting that the consumption of 100 g soybean seeds provides about 36.5 g of protein, 100 g of white bean seed, 23 g of protein, while 100 g of chicken fillet meat only 19.5 g of protein. As we can see, this ratio is extremely beneficial for legume seeds.

We are often afraid of eating fabaceae, especially soy, due to the isoflavones contained in them, which interact with estrogen receptors. There have been many studies that have shown that phytoestrogens can affect the fertility and sexual development of rats. It is worth noting, however, that in the blood of men who were given isoflavones or soy products containing them, there were no changes in the concentration of estrogen and testosterone. This aspect requires additional analysis and execution of many specialist tests.

The protein of the fabaceae plants differs in amino acid composition from the meat or protein of cereals. It is distinguished by a higher share of lysine and threonine. However, their nutritional value limits the insufficient content of methionine and cystine, which are included in sulfuric amino acids. It is worth noting that the best amino acid composition has soy protein.

Often, after eating legume seeds, we complain about the feeling of bloating and the appearance of gases. To get rid of the flatulence effect after eating the pods and remove the anti-nutritive substances, rinse the seeds before cooking and then soak for about 12 hours, then cook in a fresh portion of water.

2. Nuts
In the diet of both vegetarian and people consuming animal products, it is worth paying attention to nuts, which are used, among others, in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and dyslipidemia. They provide a lot of energy, 100 g of nuts provide an average of 553-718 kcal. They are a rich source of fats, but mainly unsaturated fatty acids. The amount of carbohydrates in nuts is quite low, however, in cashew nuts or pistachios it is about 30%. It is worth noting that the nuts are characterized by a high content of vegetable protein, which is approx. 20%. Its highest content is characterized by almonds, pistachios and peanuts. In contrast, walnuts or hazelnuts contain it relatively less.

Together with buckwheat, they provide all the amino acids in an equal proportion, which will allow you to fully use the amino acids for the purpose of protein construction. Instead of porridge, it is worth trying the leavings with almonds and vegetable milk – then we do not have to worry about protein deficiencies.

3. Groats and pseudozhoża
Groats and grain products are characterized by a high content of carbohydrates, mainly complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as vegetable protein. These products were used in the diet of our ancestors and treated as a valuable ingredient. The best source of protein among cereal products are buckwheat groats or millet groats, which may also appear in the diet of people with gluten intolerance or those suffering from celiac disease.

For example, 100 g of buckwheat give 12.5 g of protein, millet – 10.5 g, amaranth – 13.6 g, quinoa – 14.1 g, rice – 7 g, and sweet Abyssinian (also called tefem) – 13.3 g. For comparison – 100 g chicken legs provide 16.8 g of protein, so the difference is not as big as it might seem. The aforementioned buckwheat with almonds and soy milk supplies 21 g of protein, which is after all only one meal.

4. Hemp sowing
Commonly with the word hemp, we associate Indian cannabis, which gained its popularity thanks to its hallucinogenic and curative effects. However, it is worth remembering that this species also includes flax hemp, otherwise called cannabis. These cannabis are widely used in nutrition. They are a good source of protein, contain about 20-25%. Over 65% of hemp proteins are edestins – they are globular proteins classified as the best absorbed by the human body.

Cannabis is among the superfood products due to the rich composition of seeds. Do not worry, they do not contain THC. But it is this suspicion that this most universal plant in the world has long been forgotten. In addition to protein, it provides in ideal proportions of omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which has anti-inflammatory properties. You can also find pure hemp protein on the market, which is a good alternative to whey nutrients.

Bibliography
Wilk M., Soy, a source of valuable nutrients, FOOD. Science. Technology. Quality 2017, 24, 2 (111), 16-25.
Kaniewski R. et al., Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabis sativa L.) – valuable useful and medicinal plant, Postępy Fitoterapii 2017, 18 (2), 139-144.
Stróżyk A., Pachocka L., Nuts as an important component of athletes’ diet, Problems of Hygiene and Epidemiology 2016, 97 (4), 328-334.
Czupryńska K., Marchlewicz M., Wiszniewska B., The effect of xenoestrogens on the male sexual system, Progress in Cell Biology 2007, 34 (2), 317-333.
F. Cabbage, legumes source of protein for animals and humans, Engineering Sciences and Technologies 2012, 1 (4), 16-32.
Sikora E., Liszka P., Nutrients and non-nutrients in raw and processed peanuts, Bromatologia i Chemia Toksykologiczna 2011, 44 (4), 1047-1053.

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