While becoming a vegetarian can undoubtedly prove to be a great way to live a healthier lifestyle, those who don’t eat meat have to make sure they take in the proper nutrients and supplements to help their bodies function at their best, and that’s especially true when it comes to protein. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways for vegetarians to ensure they get enough protein without going to drastic lengths.
Legumes, Lentils and Beans
Some of the best sources of protein can be grouped together in lentils, beans and legumes. Because there are so many different types of beans, vegetarians are bound to find more than a few different kinds they like. And even better is the fact that beans are so inexpensive, which makes it more affordable to get enough protein.
Take Popeye’s advice! Many might not realize just how healthy spinach is. Not only is it a source of protein, the vegetable is also packed with several vitamins, antioxidants and folate, which is good for the heart. Vegetarians, carnivores, pescatarians and everyone in between are much better off steaming spinach before eating it. That way, the body can better absorb all the nutrients and vitamins. Much like beans, there’s a lot of variety involved with spinach, meaning it can be quickly and easily added to a number of dishes.
Sun-dried tomatoes are not only a great source of vital protein, they’re also packed with antioxidants that help decrease a person’s risk of a number of cancers, including prostate, skin, lung and bladder. What’s more is sun-dried tomatoes are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamins.
Vegetables aren’t the only food that contains protein. Guava is a fruit packed dense with protein as well as fiber. It’s also touted for its low-calorie count and vitamin C content.
Grains are a classic source of protein, but one grain that’s the reigning champion when it comes to overall protein content is the super-grain known as quinoa. Besides quinoa, other grains that serve as a solid source of vital protein include barley and brown rice. In addition, combining such grains with beans is a great way to obtain all of the essential amino acids for optimal tissue rebuilding.
Vegetarians who want to feel full while getting their protein should turn their attention to artichokes. The vegetable contains both protein and fiber, and it tastes great either boiled and enjoyed by itself or added to pizza, bread or with goat cheese crumbles.
Seeds, Nut Butters and Nuts
One surprising source of protein are nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, and there are also nut butters, like peanut butter. One thing to bear in mind with nuts and seeds is that they can contain a high number of calories, and in some cases, high saturated fat content. So, one should be aware of how much they are consuming to ensure they are not eating excess calories.
A classic source of protein, eggs nonetheless deserve a spot on the list. Much like beans, eggs are a versatile and inexpensive source of protein. Eggs also serve as a great way to get the body’s daily requirement of antioxidants, amino acids and iron. Even though egg whites are commonly praised for being healthier, egg yolks have countless benefits as well. It’s best to opt for organic eggs that are free of hormones, antibiotics and vaccines that can offset the eggs overall healthy contents.
Vegetarians who can’t bring themselves to give up cheese and other foods that contain dairy to make the transition to being vegan can rejoice at the fact that some cheeses are a great source of protein. For instance, gruyere cheese actually has more protein than eggs, which can make them both a great combination for vital nutrients.
Greek yogurt serves double duty as a good source of protein as well as a great way to lose weight. Not only that, but greek yogurt contains good gut bacteria, which helps promote overall better gastrointestinal health and a strengthened immune system. To get the most out of yogurt without any negative health effects, vegetarians should be sure to check and see that the yogurts they choose don’t contain a lot of sugar.
There are plenty of non-meat sources of protein everyone should know about no matter their diet. Not only are these foods healthy, they’re tasty as well.
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