According to a common belief, it’s really tough to have appropriate protein in your diet if you are a vegetarian, but that is not true.
There are plenty of vegetarian foods that are rich in proteins and are very helpful in maintaining protein requirements in your body.
The market is full of protein powders. You can easily get the required amount of protein by consuming them. But the problem is that these kinds of health supplements are very expensive and contain tons of chemicals.
Plus, if you are a vegetarian, then it is impossible to find 100% vegetarian protein powders.
As a result, your best bet is to consume protein-rich foods and vegetables available in the market at affordable prices.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What is Protein?
Protein is a nutrient, actually, a macronutrient that is essential for the body. It helps in building muscle mass.
But whenever we think of protein, what comes in our mind is non-veg foods like meat, fish, etc. That’s not true. There are many natural sources of proteins that vegetarians can easily consume.
A human body requires various nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, etc. They provide calories and energy, which keeps a person going for a long day.
Taking protein in our diet helps in repairing body cells and make new ones also. Protein is vital for the development of teens, children, and pregnant women.
Each gram of protein contributes to creating four calories. Now let’s see some benefits of having a protein-rich diet:
Benefits of a Balanced Protein Diet
We have discussed what protein is and its importance in our daily diet. Now let’s discuss some of the benefits of taking a proper protein diet:
People these days are getting very possessive towards their bodies and want to have well maintained and well-shaped body.
Males especially dream about having colossal muscle mass. A protein-rich diet helps in building tendons, ligaments, and other tissues that are required for muscle buildup.
Increases Bone Metabolism
Protein helps in increasing your bone strength by increasing calcium and magnesium in our bodies.
It also helps in healing bone diseases like osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Prevents Heart Diseases
According to many studies, it is noted that protein helps in preventing high blood pressure. It also lowers the cholesterol level of the body if the carbohydrate-rich diet is replaced by a protein-rich food.
Almonds and walnuts are a good source of protein for preventing heart diseases.
Slows Down The Aging Process
Amino acids present in protein helps in the detoxification process and also help in generating glutathione which helps in reducing the chances of getting cancer.
Thus it helps in slowing down the aging process in our body.
If you are a vegetarian, then soybean is a beneficial protein to slow down aging.
Prevents Hair Damage
If you want healthy hair, then protein is a must for you. Hair damage is one of the most common problems faced by people today.
The solution to hair fall lies in our homes itself in many forms of protein. Keratin is a protein that is present in almost all hair products, which helps in reducing hair loss.
Eggs are also rich in protein and are inexpensive complete diets. So, these are some of the benefits of having protein-rich foods.
Vegetarian Foods Rich in Protein
Now let’s talk about vegetarian foods that are rich in protein and readily available in our surroundings.
Soybean & Soy Products
Soybean is an edible seed that has numerous qualities. Soya is rich in proteins and is a perfect substitute for meat and dairy products.
It contains dietary minerals and other vitamins which are helpful for the body. As it is a starch-free protein, a diabetic person can easily consume it without affecting the sugar level of their body.
Quick facts about soybean
- The oil present in soybeans provides environmental friendly fuel for diesel engines
- Soy ink is used to print books and newspapers
- Soybean can be used in plastics and textiles
- It alleviates menopausal symptoms
- Soybean and soy products contain almost 21 grams of protein.
- Steamed soybeans contain 4-gram protein per ½ cup.
- Soy milk contains a 2-gram protein per ½ cup.
- Tofu contains 10-gram protein per ½ cup.
Chickpea, also known as Garbanzo beans, are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proteins.
Chickpeas are a cure for health problems such as indigestion.
It also helps with weight management and reduces the risk of getting any chronic diseases like cancer, heart diseases, etc. It is readily available in the market and is affordable for everyone.
Quick facts about chickpeas
- Chickpea is the world’s first cultivated legume
- Chickpeas were linked with the goddess Venus by Ancient Romans
- Chickpea has ten different names
- Chickpea plants can restore depleted soil
- Chickpea contains about 7.3 grams of protein per ½ cup of serving
- Chickpeas can be boiled and taken as a salad, or it can be cooked in red gravy made of tomatoes
Kidney Beans (Rajma)
Kidney beans, also are known as Rajma, are one of the favorite dishes in North India. It is composed of carbohydrates and fibers but also serves as a good source of protein.
It contains some vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, magnesium, Vitamin K1, copper, etc.
If a person is on weight loss training, then kidney beans are highly recommended.
Benefits of kidney beans
- Cures acne
- Lowers diabetes risk
- Prevent congenital disabilities
- Improve digestion
Kidney beans contain about 7.5 grams of protein per ½ cup of serving
- It can be boiled and taken as a salad
- It can be cooked and paired with steamed or boiled rice (one of the favorite dishes in Indian households)
Cottage Cheese (Paneer)
Paneer in India is cheese for the rest of the world. Cottage cheese is a fresh, soft, creamy cheese that does not undergo any aging process.
It contains almost every nutrient required by the body like vitamins, minerals, proteins, sodium, magnesium, etc.
Cottage cheese is very fruitful in losing weight as it has high protein content and low calories. But it not only helps in reducing weight; it also helps in muscle building if a proper diet is followed.
Quick facts about cottage cheese (paneer)
- It can be easily made at home by adding lemon to the milk
- Also known as chenna in East India
Cottage Cheese contains 28 grams of protein per one cup of serving
- Paneer can be consumed raw
- It can be cooked in gravy and paired with chapati or rice
- It can be grilled with other vegetables and served as paneer tikka.
Lentils also are known as dal is an essential serving in Indians’ daily diet, and it truly is very rich in protein.
It is very affordable and readily available. Lentils range from red to yellow to brown, green, and even black.
All have different nutritious value and are rich in proteins and vitamins and many other nutritions.
Lentils contain 9 grams of proteins per 1/2 cup of serving.
Quick facts about lentils
- There is a National Lentil Festival in Pullman Washington
- It’s been 10,000 years since humans are eating Lentils
- Canada is the world’s largest exporter of lentils
Peanut butter is one of the tastiest diets rich in protein. Two tablespoons of Peanut Butter contains 9.4 grams of protein.
If you are on a weight loss diet, then 10-20 grams of peanut butter is fine, but if you are focusing on weight gain or muscle building, then go for 40 grams of peanut butter with a high workout routine.
Peanut butter is served as a spread on bread, toast, etc.
Quick facts about peanut butter
- An average peanut farm is about 200 acres big
- Two former presidents of the U.S. were peanut farmers, namely, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter
- November is the month of peanut butter lovers
- Peanuts are also known as Groundnuts because they grow underground
- One astronaut Alan Shepard brought a peanut with him to the moon
Almonds for Indians are like natural memory-boosters. They believe that eating almonds can sharpen their memory, and this belief is right to some extent.
Almonds contain many nutrients that help in increasing memory. Not only it helps in boosting memory, but it also includes an adequate amount of proteins.
Low levels of antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium, which almonds have a lot can cause various skin problems. So, to prevent acne and get rid of pimples, consume about a fist full of almonds every day.
Almonds can be eaten raw, roasted, or soaked in water overnight and then consumed.
Here are some facts about almonds
- Wild almonds contain a poisonous toxin, and that’s why sometimes almonds taste bitter
- Almonds help in decreasing cholesterol levels if taken regularly
- The average life span of the almond tree is 20-25 years
- If a person is on weight gain training, then 28-30 grams of almonds daily can help in gaining weight.
Quinoa is a type of grain with high protein, vitamins, fiber, and other minerals. It is often a substitute for rice as it has the same nutrition content as rice does.
Quick facts about Quinoa
- Quinoa is pronounced as “keen-wah.”
- NASA declared quinoa as an ideal food for long-duration space flights
- Humans are consuming quinoa for about 4000 years
- There are more than 100 types of quinoa
One cup serving of quinoa contains 8 grams of proteins
- It is also rich in fiber, iron, and magnesium
- It can be served as a salad, or as the main course
Green peas are also known as Matar in India. It is a good source of iron, magnesium phosphorus, zinc, copper, and of course, protein.
Green peas cover more than 25% of daily dietary fiber and vitamins. These are winter crops and are available from December to April in the local market.
Quick facts about green peas
- Janet Harris broke a Guinness world record by consuming 7175 peas in 60 minutes using chopsticks
- Green pea is green because they are picked when they are immature
- An average pea weighs between 0.1 to 0.36 grams
Pumpkin seeds are edible, flat, oval-shaped seeds rich in protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3 and other nutrients like iron, selenium, and calcium.
It helps in improving diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and gives many other benefits to the body.
Pumpkin seeds can come at rescue if you want to prevent oily skin. The zinc along with natural selenium in pumpkin seeds helps with oily skin and keeps it healthy and clean.
Quick facts about pumpkin seeds
- The word “pumpkin” was first discovered in the fairy tale Cinderella
- The world’s most massive pumpkin weighs 2600 pounds
- Each pumpkin has almost 500 seeds
- There are almost 45 different varieties of pumpkin
The protein value in pumpkin is very high, and it helps in curing many diseases.
It also improves prostate health, bladder health, heart health, and lowers blood sugar.
In 28 grams of pumpkin seeds, there are about 7 grams of protein.
So these were some vegetarian foods that are rich in proteins and are easily available anywhere.
Not only these have high protein content, but they also contain many other nutrients needed in our body.
Protein is required for all body types, whether a person is on a weight gaining program or a weight loss diet.
An adequate amount of protein is always needed and especially for those who are focusing on muscle building.
For a more proper diet plan, consider a dietician.
With all things said, if you want to become a bodybuilder, you don’t necessarily need to be a non-vegetarian!