We have often dealt with vegetarian diets and the food choices of those who prefer to avoid eating meat and fish, recommending recipes, solutions and restaurants suitable for vegetarians and vegans. One of the most widespread concerns is the risk of not taking the correct protein requirement daily to keep the body healthy and in shape. This a problem that can be overcome creatively on the one hand by combining vegetable proteins of different origins, on the other, because many cruelty-free foods are very rich in the precious element. So what are these foods? We have prepared a list of foods rich in plant proteins for you without underestimating the risks associated with a low-protein diet.
Vegetable Proteins: Properties And Characteristics
Proteins are essential elements for the functioning of our body. They have a fundamental energizing and structural function, so much so that, as we have seen by listing foods rich in proteins, they are often compared to the building blocks of the human body. They perform multiple functions. In particular, they support us in everyday physical and intellectual activities, thanks to the fact that they are responsible for the movement of substances in the body. The main difference between animal and vegetable proteins lies in the quantity and type of amino acids, i.e. the molecules that make up the structural unit of the protein.
The former contains all nine essential amino acids to respond to individual needs; in the latter, on the other hand, one or more may be missing, with the sole exception of quinoa. For example, in legumes, there is no amino acid methionine. In cereals, the amino acids tryptophan and lysine. This characteristic causes vegetable proteins to be defined as having “low biological value.” However, this label should not scare us. You need to match and balance vegetable proteins in a balanced way to provide your body with everything it needs, also integrating with foods rich in vitamin B12. An example of the most classic and nutritious? Pasta and beans, but there are also many other creative strategies to replace meat proteins, as we have already seen in this article.
Excess And Lack Of Protein: What Are The Risks?
Providing our body with the correct protein intake is essential because, otherwise, we face various health problems. The crucial point is represented by carefully evaluating where the “golden mean” is and, therefore, our real needs since both the excess and the lack of proteins can cause damage. For this reason, it is helpful to know how to consume them responsibly, even for those who do not consume meat or other animal derivatives and therefore derive their protein needs from these foods of plant origin. If excess protein consumption can lead to problems such as transformation into adipose tissue or excessive strain on the kidneys, the lack of protein in the diet also affects our bodies. The effects can also manifest themselves in a pronounced way, such as through:
- a decline in the immune system;
- weight loss and decrease in muscle mass;
- loss of memory and libido;
- difficulty concentrating;
- hair loss;
- more fragile and thinned nails.
In summary, paying attention to the signals and not neglecting protein intake through food are fundamental actions for our health that we must pay attention to daily. But what are the elements richest in vegetable proteins that we must bring to the plate?
Foods Rich In Vegetable Proteins: The List
- Chickpeas and chickpea flour
- Green beans
- Fava beans
Seeds And Dried Fruit
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts
- Cashew nuts
- Soy flour
- Chickpea flour
Fruits And Vegetables
- spinach (raw)
- Hamburgers and vegetable meatballs made from cereals and mixed vegetables
- Brussels sprouts