Following on from yesterday’s first blog on protein, where you can calculate your tailored protein intake guideline, today I’ve researched the nature of protein, why vegetarians and vegans need more and where we can find our requirements naturally!
What’s the difference between animal protein & plant protein?
The science behind protein is that during digestion, it’s broken down into 22 amino acids, eight of which are essential: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine. These all come from food and are necessary in our daily diets, in a certain ratio to one another (find out more here). Food sources containing an adequate proportion of these amino acids are known as complete proteins. And while meat, eggs and milk are complete, there are many complete plant-based proteins to eat!
A list of complete protein food sources suitable for vegetarians and vegans:
- Cashew nuts
- Chia seeds
- Black beans
- Black eyed peas
- Pistachio nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Soy beans
- Soy milk
- Turnip greens
And while increasing your intake of these will benefit you no end, you can also pair up incomplete proteins to ensure you get a complete dose of the eight essential proteins and more! Stick to mixing seeds and grains with legumes to ensure you have a whole, healthy intake.