Well, protein needs no introduction — you might be aware that it is one of the three major macronutrients required by our bodies — the other two are carbs and fats.
There are hundreds of proven benefits and the importance of having protein in your diet. Proteins are synonyms with weight gain and weight loss but get the least attention when it comes to intake and exercise.
Howbeit, proteins are famous for all the meats and eggs, and vegetarians, on the other hand, feel more anxious.
But we are here to tell you that… no need to worry, you also have a ton of options to choose from and start our health journey.
Stick around and find out the best protein sources for all the veggies out there.
What is the Need for Protein?
Protein is considered to be the most essential nutrient as it helps the human body in a plethora of different ways. But what is protein?
Protein is a macronutrient which is composed of amino acids. It is necessary for building muscle mass and fueling the body. Amino acids are crucial for our cell growth as well as development during our lifetime.
Therefore, you will find individuals emphasizing BCAAs as a part of their daily diet, as they provide all the necessary amino acids for better functioning and growth.
Not only does protein is the base of our vital organs but also important for other parts of our body. If we do not consume adequate amounts of protein we can become weak and lose muscle strength as well as mass. (Source:- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872778/)
As a matter of fact, protein enhances immunity and hence is more critical. A high protein intake can coincide well for ceratin medical patients recuperating from illness as it might speed up the recovery or develop some resistance towards the infection.
Some Benefits of Protein
Since protein assists our bodies for fast recovery, it is considered to be essential for all ages. Even if you are not working out and living a sedentary lifestyle, you will still need some amount of protein. Here are some more reasons why you should consider getting a high-protein intake.
Out of all the other macronutrients, protein is famous for keeping you satiated for prolonged periods so that you don’t gorge on unhealthy snacks — leading to health problems. It reduces the hunger hormone or otherwise known as ghrelin levels.
This is especially important for individuals looking to reduce weight, you can replace some fats and carbs from your diet with some protein source, whey protein, for example, can prove to be excellent.
As mentioned before, protein is proved to be helpful for fighting against infections and leading to faster recovery. Our immune system produces antibodies to fight bacterias and our immune system cells rely on protein.
A decent protein intake helps to reduce blood pressure levels. This also helps with lowering the risk of coronary diseases like stroke and heart attacks. In the same way, higher protein intake can also lower Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) or otherwise known as Bad Cholesterol.
Consuming protein-rich foods can help to maintain as well as improve bone mass a lot better. Not only that, but it also reduces the risk of fractures and osteoporosis especially for women who are prone to osteoporosis after menopause. Staying active and consuming protein-rich foods can forestall that.
When you eat something your body boosts the metabolism for a short time. This happens because your body utilizes the calories for digestion while using the nutrients in the food. This process is symbolised as the Thermic Effect (TE) of food.
In fact, protein has a higher thermic effect than other fats and carbs, thus intaking protein-rich foods will significantly boost your metabolism. Some studies show that it also lowers the chance of cardiometabolic risk factors.
Since the protein intake burns your calories and keeps you satiated for a long time as well as boosts your metabolism, it tends to help with weight loss.
Some studies show that individuals consuming calories from protein intake lead to weight loss even though the diet was not regimented. Besides that, it also works well to maintain your weight, as losing weight is easy but maintaining it, is what proves to be the most difficult.
Be that as it may, you can even take protein with some fat burners if you are desperately willing to cut off those extra pounds.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, it has many benefits like improved skin and hair health, boosted energy levels, muscle recovery, muscle strength, and so forth.
Top 10 Veg Protein-Rich Foods in India
Now that you have many — many reasons to choose a protein-rich diet, we are here to make that task simpler. Well, meat and eggs are the first doors people tend to knock for whenever excellent protein sources are mentioned.
However, there is a huge misconception that vegetarian meals come up short — when talking about proteins. This leads to vegetarians feeling low as they have poor choices to consume protein, but that’s not true.
Even in a vegetarian meal, there are enough options to give all the necessary protein and other important nutrients to keep you running on the track. Here are some top protein picks for veggies.
Note:- All the mentioned nutritional values are per 100 Grams.
Sprouts are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians looking to start their day.
|Protein:- 25g||Carbs:- 55g|
|Fats:- 1g||Calories:- 27|
They are loaded with multivitamins, fibre, mineral, and proteins. Moreover, sprouts contain some vital organic compounds that improve digestion, lower blood sugar levels, and have anti-cancer properties.
Best time to Eat:- During morning breakfast and evening snacks.
Including in your Diet:- You will need to soak them overnight and then boil them. You can slice them thin and add to your vegetable salad or you can fry them with some chat masala and lemon.
Do you still remember your mother forcing you to eat soaked peanuts saying it is healthy for you? Turns out she was right.
|Protein:- 25g||Carbs:- 25g|
|Fats:- 40g||Calories:- 588|
Soaked peanuts are packed with vitamins and minerals, plus have many health benefits. They are a wonderful source of protein, iron, folate, zinc, and calcium all which are vital for your body’s growth.
Best time to Eat:- Soaked peanuts can be consumed before your morning breakfast.
Including in your Diet:- You can consume them as your pre-breakfast meal with water.
Well, broccoli has been touted as the best vegetable to fight cancer.
|Protein:- 2.3g||Carbs:- 6g|
|Fats:- 0.3g||Calories:- 34|
Broccolis are a great source of fibres, especially soluble fibre which regulates cholesterol and forestalls diabetes and coronary disease. What is more, it is also loaded with vitamin K that improves your calcium absorption and bone health.
Best time to Eat:- You can eat broccoli as your salad for a mid-morning snack and even during breakfast. Generally, you can have broccoli anytime.
Including in your Diet:- You can add broccoli to your daily meal and can consume raw broccoli salads. Besides, you can also consume sauteed broccoli, for greater results, it is preferred to eat it in uncooked form.
Asparagus or referred to as Shatavari in India is known for preventing urinary tract infections.
|Protein:- 2.2g||Carbs:- 3.9g|
|Fats:- 0.2g||Calories:- 20|
Asparagus contains plenty of fibre, potassium, thiamin, multiple vitamins, as well as high in folic. In addition to this, asparagus is a natural aphrodisiac — because of vitamin B6 and folate, so that’s a plus.
Best time to Eat:- Anytime
Including in your Diet:- You can cook the vegetable and enjoy it during lunch and dinners. You can steam it and consume with some yoghurt.
Soya Chunks are great for people suffering from high cholesterol, constipation, and type 2 diabetes.
|Protein:- 50g||Carbs:- 30g|
|Fats:- 0g||Calories:- 345|
One of the prominent benefits of soya chunks is their protein content, with many minerals, vitamins, fibres, and other nutrients. Not only limited to that, but they are also rich in calcium and iron whilst not providing any extra sugar and sodium to the body.
Best time to Eat:- You can consume this during morning breakfast and lunch, avoid them late evening and night.
Including in your Diet:- You can consume sauteed soya chunks with roti or chapati for some extra boost in carbs, on the contrast, you can also avoid roti’s if you are on a low carbs diet.
Green Gram or in India known as Moong Daal is another protein-packed superfood for veggies.
|Protein:- 25g||Carbs:- 60g|
|Fats:- 1g||Calories:- 347|
Moong daal is packed with some healthy nutrients and high-oxidants that may lower the chance of chronic diseases. They are rich in fibre, magnesium, and potassium which reduces the blood pressure. Also, they reduce bad cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Best time to Eat:- During lunch, avoid them at night.
Including in your Diet:- You can consume it as daal with some rice and rotis.
Yellow Split Pigeon Peas
Pigeon peas are also referred to as Tur Dal, Arhar Dal, and Tuvar Dal in India. These are another protein-rich lentils that come with many nutritional benefits.
|Protein:- 23g||Carbs:- 61g|
|Fats:- 2g||Calories:- 343|
Pigeon pea is a great source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamins, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. It also provides adequate amounts of folate. Moreover, it maintains blood pressure and aids in weight loss. They are also known to be good for your heart’s health.
Best time to Eat:- Best to eat during lunch and avoid at night.
Including in your Diet:- You can have it as a meal with some brown rice and salad.
Beans or otherwise known as Rajma are the most underrated foods on earth. They are a great source of protein and other necessary fibres.
|Protein:- 23g||Carbs:- 55g|
|Fats:- 1g||Calories:- 347|
Beans boast many healthy vitamins and minerals that are crucial for our health. They can assist in reducing and mainlining your glucose levels while also improving cholesterol levels. Additionally, they are good for your gut as well as excellent for diabetes.
Best time to Eat:- Since they are heavy, it’s probably best to consume them during morning breakfast or lunch.
Including in your Diet:- If you are on a low-carb diet then make sure to eat them without rotis.
The most important and biggest source of all foods is soybeans, it’s like a god saviour for vegetarian peoples.
|Protein:- 52g||Carbs:- 33g|
|Fats:- 0.5g||Calories:- 446|
If you are looking for a high-quality protein source, soya bean is your best bet in vegetarian meals. Soya beans aid better digestion thanks to the rich fibres that come with it. They also provide better bone health and relieve sleep disorders. Soya beans are rich in vitamin B and folic acid that are very essential for pregnant women.
Best time to Eat:- Since they are less in carbs you can consume them during any mealtime.
Including in your Diet:- You will have to soak them overnight and boil them before you eat. You can have them with regular rotis and rice.
Through this, not the food you were looking for but whey protein is your best source for protein regardless of your fitness goal.
|Protein:- 82g||Carbs:- 4g|
|Fats:- 7g||Calories:- 200|
Whey protein is an excellent source of protein for all the individuals out there. The best part about whey protein is the ability to get quickly absorbed by your body. Furthermore, it is good for all individuals looking to gain weight. It can be mixed with any supplement and drunk at any time with water and milk.
Best time to Eat:- Literally anytime, best for breakfast.
Including in your Diet:- You can mix whey protein with other supplements like creatine to enhance your performance in your gym. Alternatively, you can make smoothies and shakes before and after workout sessions. You can have it before going to bed.
More Protein-Rich Foods
The above-mentioned foods are just a small part of the much larger situation. Here are some more protein-rich foods that you can consider.
Here are some dairy products that are high in protein.
- Peanut Butter
- Swiss Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Soy milk
These foods provide an excellent amount of protein with enough carbs and fats.
Seeds and Nuts
These are the foods that you should surely add to your diet if you want more protein.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
Not only are these foods packed with proteins but they also have healthy fats, fibres, minerals, and multivitamins. They help to regulate food intake and burn energy.
Grain and Legumes
These are the top foods rich in protein when it comes to grains and legumes.
- Kidney beans
- Wheat Gram
- Soba noodles
- Green peas
Grain and legumes are excellent sources of protein, fibre, and antioxidants. Many studies have found that eating whole grains reduces the risk of many major lifestyle diseases.
Fruits and Vegetables
Of course, as a veggie, these foods will be your main priority and primary source of protein every single day.
- Sweet corn
If history is any indication, fruits and vegetables are good for overall health and thus by including these foods to your diet, you are hitting two birds with one stone. Firstly, you are getting naturally rich protein food. And secondly, you are also benefiting with other vitamins, fibres, minerals, and nutrients that have a plethora of health benefits.
Daily Recommended Amount of Protein
RDI or Recommended Daily Intake of protein might differ from age and individuals health. But in general, a man needs around 56 grams of protein and women needs around 46 grams. In any case, for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies the intake is around 71 grams for each day.
- Babies:- 10 grams per day.
- School-aged kids:- 20 to 34 grams per day.
- 19 plus:- 46 to 52 grams per day.
If you are not into workouts and living a normal lifestyle you will still need proteins. Here is a simple calculation to calculate the amount of protein you need on a daily basis.
Simply, you need 1g of protein per kilogram of your body weight per day. Meaning, if you weigh 60 kg then you will need at least 6 grams of protein per day.
How much Protein is Too Much?
Well, as we’ve mentioned the general range of protein that you should be consuming on a daily basis, beyond that is not recommended. You can calculate the amount of protein you need by the calculation we’ve shared above.
Perhaps, you might have heard some scary things about overconsumption of protein and the possible harms to your kidney and liver. But before you go and toss out all the protein powder and foods, you have nothing to worry about.
Generally, the only biggest concern of eating too much protein applies to individuals who have a history with kidney diseases. Besides that, the only real problem with eating too much protein is that our bodies cannot store proteins.
Thus, once you reach the quota of daily protein, the rest of the protein will be converted into either fat or energy. Therefore, you should simply aim to get adequate amounts of protein and shift your focus to carbs and fats for the remaining calories.
In a Nutshell
Now that you are aware of the ins and outs of proteins and are basically protein pro, go grab the mentioned foods and start giving your body the much-needed protein.
Proteins are the necessary macro-nutrients that must be consumed on a daily basis to keep problems at bay. No need to be worrying about too much consumption, but with that being said, like all other things, you should find balance.