India is a country where most of its population only consumes vegetarian food.
But this seems to be a huge problem from a nutrition point of view as there seems to be no or minimum protein in a vegetarian diet. Protein is considered as one of the important nutrients and lack of protein can create multiple health issues.
What if we say that a plant-based diet can give you enough protein to keep your body and muscles healthy? Yes, you heard that right! Through this very blog, you will get all the necessary information on plant-based protein sources that are essential for you to eat to gain muscles.
Many vegetarian bodybuilders or athletes worry about building muscles. For them, plants are not a complete source of protein and they have to rely on an animal-based diet forcefully. But there are many who proved this myth wrong and gained muscles without meat consumption. The god of cricket, Virat Kohli, for instance, has gone Vegan.
1. What is Protein? How much does your body need?
Protein, a macronutrient essential for the proper functioning of the body, is the building block for body tissue and a strong fuel source. So the basic structure of the protein is a chain of amino acids which is made up of chains like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, or one or more chains of amino acids. The terms are technical but essential to know.
2. Classification of Amino Acids:
Amino Acids are classified into three types.
Essential amino acids: These are the type of acids that your body cannot create, you have to consume and obtain them from your protein-rich diet.
Non-essential amino acids: These are the type of acids which are useful for the synthesis of protein because they support tissue repair and growth and help in the formation of red blood cells.
Conditional amino acids: These are the type of acids, not essential for your daily diet. But they can come in very handy and useful when you're going through stress, illness, or an injury.
3. Essential Amino Acids:
As the name suggests, Essential Amino acids are the most important ones. They consist of 9 essential acids that your body should compulsorily have which are,
These are the most essential Amino Acids that your body should consume in a day. It is easy for your body to gain muscles with these nine acids. There are one or two acids that might be absent in your vegetarian diet but they are enough to gain muscles.
The next point will talk about the list of foods that you should consume. But do not rely on just one of these and expect results. You have to try and eat a lot of protein in a day to get the expected results. Below mentioned are some of the most important sources of protein.
4. Four must-have protein-rich vegetarian food:
1) Lentils/Pulses and brown rice:
Lentils as we like to call them dal is the most easily available protein source in India. But Lentils miss an Amino Acid called Methionine. However, Methionine is easily available in brown rice. So eating Brown rice and dal in your meal will give you all 9 Amino acids and a heavenly yet filling meal.
Along with lentils, beans, or as we call them Rajma are highly nutritious as they are rich in minerals and fibers that will make your digestion process easier. Beans paired with brown rice are the tastiest and healthy combination but don't pair them with carbs like white rice as that will turn into a meal that is filled with high carbohydrates.
2) Plant protein blends:
Protein powder blends have an edge over whey protein as they contain healthy amounts of fiber which can normalize bowel movements and have shown to reduce the risk of gut inflammation.
Plant proteins are ideal for lactose-intolerant populations. According to recent surveys, nearly 65% of the total population is lactose intolerant. Whey proteins are certainly helpful for your diet.
There are several companies manufacturing plant protein powder. But make sure, you do not buy a highly processed protein powder. Because excess processing of soy-derived plant proteins can cause hormonal imbalance and mood swings. Opt for powders that have a minimum or no added preservatives. (Please consult your nutritionist before opting for one)
3) Chia seeds:
Chia seeds are edible seeds of Salvia Hispanic, a flowering plant in the mint family. They are oval and gray with black and white spots, having a diameter of around 1 millimeter.
Despite their small size, Chia seeds are filled with many important nutrients. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol. Therefore it will protect your body from a heart attack or stroke.
Eat soaked Chia seeds or add it to some other food.
Nuts are valuable sources of protein. They carry a bad reputation for being high in fats and calories. Considering that they are high in protein and other nutrients, we should eat them daily in moderation.
Listed below are some nuts abundant in protein count,
Walnuts provide an impressive 4.5 grams of protein per ounce (which is about 1/4 cup serving). They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid which is an essential fat lacking in most diets. So each ounce of walnut provides an entire day's serving.
Pistachios are loaded with nutrients. In addition, they are very useful for weight-loss because they carry very low calories. It also promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria and is rich in antioxidants.
Recent studies have found that eating pistachios in moderation may lower cholesterol levels. To explain simply, 1 ounce serving of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein. So these nuts make a very healthy snack option.
Other nuts that are high in protein are Almonds, Cashew and Peanuts. Other than these, there's also Tofu that you can consume but make sure it's not processed.
To sum up the entire article, your goal shouldn't be something short term but a healthy lifestyle for a long time to come. Make your human body consume what its meant to be consumed instead of filling it with trash.