Many people around the world are turning to a vegan diet and studies suggest it can provide a range of benefits such as better heart health, stable blood sugar, weight loss and lower cholesterol. Vegan foods also have a rich nutritional profile. They contain fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds, plus they’re a storehouse of potassium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins. (Also read: ‘Protein hunger’ drives overeating in a large-scale population: study)
People following a vegan diet are ditching animal-based dairy products and opting for plant-based alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, or tofu. It also contains all vegetable proteins like legumes, nuts and seeds. People switching to or following a vegan diet should include dense protein sources in their diet and not settle for legumes, grains or nuts which may not be enough to meet their protein needs.
“It is impractical to supplement protein intake solely from legumes/cereals or even solely from nuts/nut butters. There is a need for dense protein in the diet. So here are some good vegan protein options to add to your diet,” writes nutritionist Bhuvan. Rastogi in his latest Instagram post.
Here are 5 protein dense options for vegans suggested by Rastogi.
1. Soy milk
Soy milk is a filtered mixture of soy and water with additives. Of the vegan milk alternatives available, only soy milk provides comparable protein. It is also low in carbohydrates and low in fat. Soy milk typically provides 8g of protein and 4-5g of fat per 250ml, which is very comparable to skimmed milk.
Please note that these are some common brands, nutrition may vary, so always check the label. Some brands usually contain soy protein + lots of additives instead of soy, so always check the label.
Tofu is just curdled soy milk that is taken. This is a low fat, low carb, protein dense option. 100 g of tofu contains 7-9 g of protein with only 3 g of fat and 4.5 g of carbohydrates and no fiber (in the most common brands)
The protein can vary with the amount of water in the tofu. Therefore, the protein content can be as low as 4g of protein with silken tofu and as high as 16g in the super firm variant.
What is tempeh? It is a fermented soy bean compressed into cubes or strips. It is denser in protein than soymilk and tofu, and due to the presence of fiber and fat, satiety in tempeh is also high, just like paneer. 100g of tempeh provides 19g of protein, 7g of fat, 8g of fiber and 2g of non-fiber carbs.
4. Soy Chunks/Pellets
Also known as soy textured vegetable proteins, these are defatted soybeans. It is a very low fat and low carbohydrate protein option. 100 g of soy granules or pieces contain 52 g of protein. Even though the total amount of protein is high, because it consumes a lot of hot water, the amount of protein in 1 serving is lower than other options. A convenient 1/2 to 3/4 cup serving of cooked chunks contains only 6-10g of protein. It is therefore good to weigh them to be sure.
5. Vegan protein supplements
They are the densest source of vegan protein. The most common are soybeans and peas. It is a very good source of protein with no fat and very few carbohydrates. Most vegan protein supplements are heat stable. If you buy pea protein, try to get an option that contains only grain protein, as this improves protein quality.
Follow more stories on Facebook & Twitter