Vegetable Protein: All You Need to Know

When we talk about protein, we rarely think of vegetable proteins. But it’s worth it start to give more value to these protein sources!

Vegetable Protein All You Need to Know

Protein is a macronutrient that most of the times, we associate the foods of animal origin such as meat, fish and eggs.

However, protein is not only coming from the animals. There are foods of plant origin with a protein content quite interesting, being these proteins are called vegetable proteins.

Are animal or vegetable proteins are directly involved in some of the main vital functions of the body, such as the maintenance and growth of tissues, transport of substances in the body (for example, oxygen), role of enzymes in metabolic reactions, function of the hormonal, immune function, among others.

These proteins are macromolecules formed by the joining of hundreds or thousands of smaller units, the amino acids, which are joined by peptide bonds and form long chains.

There are about 20 amino acids that can be used to form protein. Some of these amino acids can be produced by the body, but others do not. The amino acids that the body cannot produce we call amino acids “essential” or “indispensable”.

BIOLOGICAL VALUE OF THE PROTEINS

The quantity and quality of the amino acids that comprise the protein and the digestibility of the same determines its biological value.

Are considered to be proteins of high biological value, or complete the that contain the 9 essential amino acids in its composition and have a good digestibility.

Sources of protein animal (such as meat, fish and eggs) and some plant proteins such as soybean, feature profiles of essential amino acids more similar to those that we need, and in greater quantity, being, therefore, considered to be proteins of high biological value.

The remaining vegetable proteins, such as usually do not contain the proper proportions of at least one essential amino acid, are not considered to be high biological value proteins, having an amino acid limiting. In the case of legumes (excluding soy) is the amino acid limiting is methionine, while in the cereals in general, is the lysine.

However, it should be alert to the false idea that the vegetable protein that is not soy are completely devoid of at least one essential amino acid. In fact, all plant proteins have some amount of all essential amino acids, although there is at least one that is much more reduced.

Soy protein, as already referred to, presents a complete profile of amino acids and, therefore, being practically at the level of protein (high biological value), such as egg, dairy or meat.

10 SOURCES OF PLANT PROTEINS

  1. Legumes: Soybean, beans (all types), chickpeas, lentils, peas, broad beans, among others, are the sources of protein the most important plant.2. Tofu:Also called bean curd, is a food produced from soy beverage, with a huge versatility, and very rich in protein.

    3. Seitan: made from wheat and is, essentially, wheat gluten; it has a texture similar to meat and therefore a lot of people the dub of meat vegetable. Should be avoided by people with celiac disease.

    4. Drink (Milk) of Soy: Although it has less protein than cow’s milk, being a food very interesting.

    5. Seeds: Pumpkin, chia, sunflower and linseed, especially, are sources rich in this macronutrient.

    6. Quinoa: This pseudocereal is of the plant foods richest in protein, being also very versatile to prepare.

  2. Mushrooms:Contain two times more protein than other vegetables.8. Oleaginous fruits: walnut, almond, peanut, hazelnut, cashew, pistacho, pinion. Also the folders (butters) peanut or almond are very rich in protein.

    9. Whole grains: mainly oats, but also barley, rice, wheat (pasta and bread) integral is a much more balanced and complete than the same cereal in its refined version, where they lose the majority of the protein content.

    10. Vegetables (Legumes):Although it does not contain a protein significant, are always foods to be privileged together with the other sources.

ADVANTAGES OF THE CONSUMPTION OF VEGETABLE PROTEINS

  1. DOES NOT CONTAIN LACTOSE

The vegetable proteins are ideal for people with lactose intolerance or allergies to milk or eggs.

  1. DO NOT CONTAIN SATURATED FAT OR CHOLESTEROL

Unlike animal proteins, including beef protein, vegetable proteins are virtually free of saturated fat and are free of cholesterol, which contributes to a better lipid profile and, consequently, a better cardiovascular health.

  1. HELP CONTROL THE WEIGHT

As they are more rich in fiber promote a greater satiety and help regulate the intestinal transit, something that does not happen in the animal proteins. In addition, as have the levels of fat significantly lower, usually have a energy value (calories burned) bottom.

  1. BEST FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

As they have greater amount of the amino acid arginine, vegetable proteins promote a greater effectiveness of the immune system in disease suppression.

  1. MORE ECONOMIC

Legumes, whole grains, tubers, vegetables, are all foods that are cheaper than meat or fish.

  1. MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

The production of meat, in particular beef and pork, is responsible for a large emission of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide and methane, responsible for the worsening of the ozone hole and climate change.

DISADVANTAGES OF PLANT PROTEIN

  1. HAVE AT LEAST 1 AMINO ACID, LIMITING

As already mentioned, most of the vegetable protein is not complete. However, a diet that includes sources of plant proteins varied, such as leguminous plants, cereals, oleaginous fruits and products derived from the soy, it is able to provide all the essential amino acids, due to the “complementary proteins”.

A good example of complementary proteins is the combination of rice and beans, seen that the amino acid limiting in rice (lysine) is present in large amount in the beans and the amino acid limiting beans (methionine) is present in rice.

  1. HAVE A LOWER DIGESTIBILITY

The occurrence of so-called “anti-nutritional factors” influences the digestibility of vegetable protein. In fact, the presence of trypsin inhibitors and lectinas in the case of soy and beans, tannins in cereal, or the phytate content of cereals and oilseeds, interfere with the digestion of the protein in our digestive system, reducing the bioavailability of amino acids and some micronutrients, such as iron and calcium.

  1. DO NOT CONTAIN VITAMIN B12.

The vitamin B12 is considered to be a vitamin animal, since that is only provided by foods of animal origin, in particular meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. With the exclusion of these food items and ingest only vegetable proteins, as happens in some vegetarians, it will be necessary to supplement with this vitamin to does not occur the lack.

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