5 Surprising Vegetarian Sources of Protein

If you’re a vegetarian, you probably have limited options of food to choose from. If your meals are not well planned, you may be lacking in some nutrients essential to your body’s wellbeing. Your body uses proteins to build and repair tissues and it is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. It is also used to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Below are some plant-based protein alternatives that you can opt for.

1. Guava

In one cup of guava, you get about 4.21 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and more than than 3 times the vitamin C of a large orange. It has a unique flavor and fragrance, and has been hailed as one of the super fruits which have numerous health benefits. It is extraordinarily rich in vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants that are beneficial for the skin. Lycopene is an important phytonutrient linked to a decreased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

2. Dried chia seeds

Chia seeds are a whole grain food that is usually grown organically and is naturally gluten-free. Although tiny, they are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, as they are loaded with fibers, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. With two tablespoons of chia seeds, you can add up to about 3 grams of protein to any meal. They have a mild, nutty flavor that makes them great to be added to other meals.

3. Pasta

Pasta is rich in complex carbohydrates that provide energy to the muscles, and are also a good source of proteins. It is generally eaten with nutrient-dense foods like beans, vegetables, fish, monounsaturated oils, tomato sauce, cheese, poultry and lean meats.

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4. Potatoes

Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fibers and pantothenic acid. They also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties. A large potato has about 6 grams of protein and you can try a low-calorie vinegar-based potato salad, or bake your own fries, or make mashed potatoes.

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas provide you with a vegetarian-friendly source of protein, as each cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 15 grams of protein. Chickpeas are affordable for those avoiding meat, and they are also loaded with fibers, which helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Consuming these meals regularly will boost your intake of the nutrients in them. If you are a vegetarian, these foods are great options to include in your diet.

image courtesy of: youtube.com, budwigcenter.com, readersdigest.ca.

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