Food

5 Superfoods to Maximize Your Plant-Based Protein Intake

There are many sources of protein — and they’re not all from meat and seafood alone. You can get your daily protein intake from plants.

While there are now more and more converts to veganism and vegetarianism, one of the main concerns of an herbivore is having sufficient protein intake.

Protein is the body’s building nutrient, which means it reconstructs the body tissue. It protects the body from aging and regeneration, and having ample protein helps your body repair itself from wear and tear. The body converts protein into amino acids, which then act to produce new cells, enzymes, hormones and antibodies.

Some vegans and vegetarians turn to supplements for their daily dose of protein, but here is something you may not know: There are many sources of protein — and they’re not all from meat and seafood alone. You can also get your much-needed daily protein intake from plants.

So, despite the naysayers who say that becoming vegan and vegetarian will make you age faster and more prone to fatigue due to lack of protein, you CAN get plant based protein! With this, you can still be completely healthy without sacrificing your vegetarian/vegan principles.

Below are the top 5 plants you can include in your diet to maximize your plant-based protein intake:

1. Leafy greens

Load up on leafy green veggies as these contain a relatively high pH, which means that they are less acidic and more alkaline. A diet that is highly acidic will make your body literally stressed and can lead to myriad health problems, such as obesity, indigestion, ulcers and other serious diseases.

By having lots of leafy greens in your diet, you not only get sufficient protein, but you’re also keeping your system protected from toxins and free radical damage as well. These are superfoods and effectively slow down signs of aging. Leafy greens that you can include in your diet are kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, beet greens, baby red chard, radicchio, pea greens, etc. You can opt to have a huge green salad every day, or you can go green with a smoothie for your daily dose of plant-based protein.

For more info, also read: 10 Easy Ways To Alkalize Your Body And Improve Overall Health

Roasted delicata squash with kale. (image: Stacy Spensley/Flickr CC)

2. Chia

Chia seeds are very popular with people who like to run. This is because chia has the ability to provide the essential proteins needed in one’s body and has a very filling effect which lessens your hunger drive.

Miam-Ô-Fruit with chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sesame, pumpkin, apples, peaches, apricots, strawberries and goji berries. (image: Marco Lazzaroni/Flickr CC)

3. Spirulina

Spirulina is becoming more popular in the health and wellness world. Nowadays, you have spirulina in almost any health product and its popularity is evident in that most people automatically view these products as a must-have just because it has spirulina in it. Whether you take it raw or in its processed form as a tablet or a pill, there is no denying that spirulina is a healthy source of protein!

Green goddess smoothie with banana, apple juice, kiwi, kale, coconut oil and spirulina powder. A complete protein containing all essential amino acids, spirulina is superior to typical plant proteins, such as that from legumes. (image: sweetonveg/Flickr CC)

4. Quinoa

There are very few foods out there that can be tagged as a “superfood” and quinoa is one of them. This high-protein grain also has a very low gluten count.

Also read: 10 Health Benefits of Quinoa: The Superfood of the Future

Quinoa with chick peas, chard and currants."As long as the diet contains a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables, protein needs are easily met," according to the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. (image: Keith McDuffee/Flickr CC)

5. Hemp seed

This is perhaps the most controversial of all the food included in this list. Hemp seed is closely related to cannabis and is therefore immediately viewed as a drug. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hemp seed on its own is not addictive and it has more beneficial effects than negative side effects. What’s more, hemp seed is high in protein and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Granola Girl Granola with hemp seeds,pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, goji berries and dried cranberries. (image: sweetonveg/Flickr CC)

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

18 Foods You Don't Need to Buy Organic

Grow Your Own Food Year-Round with DIY Solar Greenhouse

9 Ways to Use Superfoods to Help Yourself Get Healthy

You Probably Throw Away More Food Than You Think

 

Amy Goodrich is a nutrition expert, diet consultant and former plant biologist at the University of Ghent. She is author of The Green Smoothie Lifestyle. Find her at http://www.body-in-balance.org.

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Activism
Drugs
Economy
Education
Election 2018
Environment
Food
Media
World