– by Panchali Moitra
You probably already know that getting enough protein in diet is imperative for tissue growth and repair. Proteins are also a good way to feel fuller faster and on fewer calories- a bonus for those trying to lose weight. You may also know that a good way to add proteins in the diet is through animal derived sources such as eggs, fish, dairy and meat. But did you know that there are many veggie protein sources which not only provide you with enough protein but also help to cut down on the saturated fats and cholesterol- notoriously abundant in animal proteins?
Add these Top 5 vegetarian proteins in your daily diet to perk up your protein quotient and also overall health.
1. Beans- There might be many varieties of beans but the common factor which binds them together is their high quality protein content. A cup of rajmah beans and mung beans provide about 25 gm protein. Packed with calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and iron; low in fat and calories and abundant in antioxidants; the beans are readily available, inexpensive and easy to prepare-a perfect protein choice for all.
2. Nuts- Almonds, cashew and walnuts qualify as excellent protein dense foods. 100 gm of almonds provide approximately 20 gm protein, 12gms of dietary fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals. These nuts are rich in B complex vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium. Though quite high in fat content, research shows that most of the fats present in nuts are the heart friendly unsaturated fatty acids. However it would be best to go for dry roasted and unsalted variants and consume not more than 6-8 almonds per day as a part of a balanced diet.
3. Soy Products- When it comes to protein content, soybeans are clearly the leaders. With exceptionally high 35.9 gm of proteins in 100 gm (enough to meet most of our daily protein requirement), the soybeans fare much better than fish (approx 20-25 g or protein per 100gm) and meats. Enjoy as soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy nuts, soya khakras and chapattis.
4. Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds- Seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower, sesame or til and pumpkin seeds belong to the unique category of veggie protein foods which are low in glycemic index, loaded with fiber and healthy fats and also the health supporting lignans, B vitamins and magnesium. Approx 23 gm of protein is found per 100 gm sunflower seeds. Sprinkle seeds on cereals, salads, soups or add to smoothies, milk shakes and porridges.
5. Millets- Millets, also known as nachni or ragi offer a remarkable way of adding protein in any diet. Millets also contain phyto nutrients (fights cancer), niacin, copper and magnesium (keeps blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check) and iron. These versatile whole grains can be easily made into rotis, porridge with milk, khichdi with dals, soups and stews with vegetables and nachni laddoos with raisins, nuts and jaggery.
Also adding low fat milk, curd, cottage cheese, multigrain and whole wheat breads, unsweetened protein cereal bars, oatmeal, brown rice and vegetables like spinach and broccoli will ensure an optimum intake of healthy proteins while on a vegetarian diet.
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