Do vegans need protein?
Everyone needs protein, including vegans. Protein is made up of amino acids which are used in our body for muscle growth and repair. Protein is a vitally important nutrient for those wanting to grow muscles and increase strength. It is also important for those that give themselves a beating during training and need to optimise recovery. Amino acids play other essential roles in the body including the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Amino acids are also a source of energy during intense exercise. Put simply, protein is vital to maintaining health.
How much protein do vegans need?
Sedentary adults need around 56g of protein per day for men and 46g of protein per day for women. This amount of protein is relatively easy to obtain from food. This requirement increases significantly for those that want to optimise their body composition or who have a heavy training load for who daily intakes of 1.2-2g of protein per body weight per day is recommended.
What are good sources of plant based protein?
Seitan, also known as gluten, is a wheat-based source of protein. Containing up to 70% protein, consuming only 100g can provide more than your daily minimum requirement of protein. Setian is low in sodium, cholesterol, and carbohydrates, high in iron, and is an adequate source of calcium. It’s important to note that seitan is not an appropriate protein source for coeliacs or those following a gluten free diet.
While the term superfood is thrown around way too often and often attached to over-priced trendy foods, lentils probably deserve the title! Containing 28g of protein per 100g serve, lentils are also high in fibre. Fibre is essential for maintaining gut health, acting as a food for the community of good bacteria within our guts. Lentils also contain iron, magnesium and potassium. Lentils rank almost on par with chicken, which offers 25g of protein per 100g. They are an ideal plant based protein source for those that prefer to keep their diet based on whole foods only.
Black beans, like lentils are highly nutritious foods, being high in fibre and protein, and having an adequate amounts of minerals. They provide 20g of protein per 100g serve. Black beans also maintain healthy blood sugar levels due to their low GI level, meaning they are digested gradually by our bodies keeping us fuller for longer.
Hemp seeds provide a high amount of easily digested protein, with around 25g of protein per 100g serve. Another amazing benefit of hemp seeds are their anti-inflammatory effect due to their omega 3 and omega 6 content. They also contain good levels of magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. With a slightly nutty taste, and soft but firm texture they are a great addition to any meal.
Derived from soy beans, tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting soy beans. With 20g of protien per 100g serve, tempeh is often used as a meat substitute in recipes including burgers or chillis. Tempeh is also a source of B vitamins, magnesium and phosphorous and gut friendly probiotics.
Who does not love peanut butter? About 1/4 of a peanut butter is protein, about 25g out of 100g. Peanut butter also contains Vitamin B6 which is useful for those on a vegan diet. Be aware that peanut butter is also high in fats, so best to keep your intake portion controlled.
Quinoa has 14g of protein per 100g
Quinoa is a pseudocereal that can be used as you would use grains like rice or couscous. Containing around 14g of protein per 100g serve is a great gluten-free alternative. Like most meat based proteins, quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need.
VPA Premium Plant Protein Powder
Not all plant based protein powders are created equal. Single source powders are not complete proteins as they do not provide all of the essential amino acids. Instead, the best plant based proteins should blend proteins from different sources to ensure the complete amino acid profile is met. VPA Premium Plant protein powder is a certified vegan product. Containing a blend of pea, rice, pumpkin seed and sacha inchi proteins it provides the complete range of nine essential amino acids. Containing 71.4g of protein per 100g serve, it is en excellent and convenient source of protein. Available in four delicious flavours (with two on the way!) in both 1kg bags and sample packs, VPA Premium Plant is also one of the best value plant based proteins on the market. You can find 1kg bags here, and sample packs here.