Vegetarianism and veganism is a growing lifestyle choice, but obtaining a healthy amount of daily protein can be a challenge for many non-meat eaters. While plant-based protein powders can be the answer, but you don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of these superfood energy drinks.
Good Sources of Vegetarian Protein
Protein is essential for repair and restoration of muscle tissue, bones, blood, hair and nails. It is also an important source of energy. The easiest sources of complete proteins are meat, fish and dairy products, but there are other sources available for non-carnivores to include in their diet.
Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas and kale contain some protein. Avocadoes are one of the highest protein providers with 10 grams of protein per fruit compared to 5 grams in a cup of broccoli or spinach. These greens are commonly used in plant-based protein powder products.
Legumes are even richer in protein with one cup of soybeans typically delivering 28 grams of protein. Lentils and refried beans provide about half that amount in a one-cup serving. Garbanzo beans, commonly used to make hummus; and pinto, black, or kidney beans are also high in protein.
Nuts and seeds can be a staple for vegetarians. One ounce of peanuts provides 6.5 grams protein while cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts and pistachios are also good sources. Butter and spreads made from peanuts, almonds, and cashews provide a steady supply of protein which can be supplemented with plant-based protein powders for a varied diet.
Related: Why Amino Acids are Important
The Importance of Amino Acids
Protein is broken down in the digestive process into amino acids which have specific functions within the body. As well as being an important part in the body's metabolism, amino acids are the building blocks of tissue, muscle and other body parts.
The body can produce 10 of the 20 essential amino acids it needs, but the rest must be provided regularly from the diet. The body cannot store amino acids and if any one of the essential amino acids is unavailable, the muscles and tissue in the body can begin to decline.
Plants have the ability to make all of the amino acids, making plants an ideal source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It also makes them an important ingredient within any plant-based protein powder.
Health Benefits of Plant-based Protein Powders
Many plant foods have a selection of the complete proteins the body needs, but they may be high in one of the essential amino acids and low in others. The best way to ensure you get a balance of all 20 amino acids is by eating a variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to provide for the body's essential protein needs.
The easiest way to get the supply you need without having to shop for and prepare so many different foods is by enjoying one or two daily energy drinks made from plant-based protein powder. Easy to mix and drink at home, or on-the-go, these protein-rich sources of energy and vitamins are ideal for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike.