For many people, proteins are almost a synonym for meat. It is true that it represents the most common source, but there are also plenty of other foods where we can find them. Eggs, milk and dairy products are the first alternatives that come to mind. It’s almost always that vegetables are the ones overlooked as sources of protein. While widely known for their vitamins and minerals, it is important to acknowledge their other nutritional values as well. If you are wondering why proteins are important, here is a simple explanation.
Proteins are essential molecules that ensure the good functioning of cells, tissues and organs. They also transport oxygen through our bloodstream. Our antibodies, hormones and enzymes are essentially proteins. Proteins are not only useful if you want to build muscle. They are crucial for the good functioning of the body and even if you are a vegetarian, there are still alternatives to meat.
Here are some vegetables that are an excellent source of protein:
As the most protein-rich vegetable, it is no wonder that soy is used as a vegetarian alternative to meat. They also contain calcium and fiber, which ensure bone health and play a major role in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Soybeans are also used to make soymilk, which is used as a general ingredient and source of protein in gastronomy. Other nutrients found in soybeans are carbs and fats. All in all, this makes them a very satiable food and a very good vegetable for your protein intake.
Edamame is another vegetable suited to fill your protein needs. It is basically made of soybeans harvested and consumed before they reach maturity, so having similar nutritious values as in their standard form comes as no surprise. Edamame is especially popular in Asian cuisine. Besides protein, these beans also contain iron and calcium, ensuring good muscle and bone health. It also helps promote skin and hair strength. Other benefits that have been found are protection against obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
All in all, edamame is a good source of protein and, in combination with its other nutrients, provides an excellent source of energy.
Broccoli is quite a popular vegetable and for good reason. Meat consumers and vegetarians alike agree on the importance it has in a healthy diet. As expected from this list, broccoli is a good choice for your protein needs. It also contains vitamin C and K, potassium and fiber, among others. In practice, this means it boosts your immune system, digestion and heart health.
Another solid source of protein, this vegetable can be a tasty and nutritious alternative to meat or simply a beneficial food for everyone. Lentils have a high content of fiber while being low in fat. This helps with digestion and weight loss.
Proteins are a crucial part of our daily nutrition yet, as you can see here, that does not necessarily mean we are limited to meat. There are many vegetables that can be just as good at covering our health needs.