The protein are macronutrients fundamental that are in charge of executing the essential functions for life. In other words, they are the nutrients of the organism, which develop elementary functions such as: forming fabrics, transport vitamins and defend ourselves from disease.
The protein They are present in all the cells of the body and participate in all the biological processes that take place. They can be found mainly in the food of animal origin such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk.
Although they are also found in vegetarian food, but in a smaller proportion.
Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids, of which there are two types:
- The non-essential amino acids, which are twelve and are manufactured by our body, among them are: aspartic acid, cysteine, glycine, glutamic acid, hydroxylysine, glutamine, serine and tyrosine.
- The essential amino acids, which are eight and our body acquires them through food, among which are: lysine, threomine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine and phenylalanine.
In conclusion, amino acids are compounds that come together to create proteins and thus restore tissues, digest food, and allow the body to grow and develop. When a diet is recommended where the necessary proteins are obtained, it is talking about obtaining the essential amino acids.
Basically, the functions of proteins are:
All these functions are elementary to live, hence the importance of the presence of the protein in the human body.
Plant proteins have appeared in the area of healthy eating as a natural alternative to animal proteins. These alternative proteins come from a wide variety of foods, so it is important to know what these sources of plant protein are in order to have a balanced diet.
In particular, vegetarians and vegans seek access to proteins with great nutritional value that do not come from an animal origin. Some of these foods that provide protein of plant origin are cereals, nuts and legumes. Whose advantage more clear and evident is that these foods of vegetal origin do not contribute cholesterol, but if they are rich in fiber.
It is therefore advisable to combine the various food groups of plant origin to achieve the appropriate levels of essential amino acids that the body requires to function properly.
The combinations of plant foods that provide us with complete proteins can be: legumes and cereals or legumes and nuts or cereals and nuts.
Foods that contain more plant proteins
Legumes are an important part of the “new” vegetable proteins, because in the search for a healthy diet they have been claimed due to their high protein value. This family of foods is also rich in complex carbohydrates and high-quality fiber, which provide countless benefits.
The legumes that have the most vegetable proteins are beans, chickpeas and lentils, all with similar characteristics. Lentils stand out for their high percentage of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals.
For their part, chickpeas stand out for their proteins, potassium, vitamins C and B6, as well as the fiber they contain, all of which are beneficial for the health of your heart. Likewise, they help maintain bone health due to the content of iron, calcium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc they have.
Beans, on the other hand, stand out for being rich in iron, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, and folic acid.
Within foods of plant origin, one of the main providers of carbohydrates are cereals. But they are also a source of fiber and vegetable protein, among which are oats, amaranth, rye, spelled, quinoa, buckwheat and millet, among others. All with a high biological value when found in whole grains and that are an alternative to rice, the most common of cereals.
Other options that are also a source of plant protein are tofu, soybeans and seitan, which contain calcium, potassium and sodium.
If you do not want vegetable proteins or quality fiber to be lacking in your diet, your solution is nuts. They are versatile foods that you can easily consume, with or without seasonings, with a high caloric intake, so a small amount is enough and covers protein needs.
The most common nuts are almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts, among others. There are so many varieties of nuts that it is easy to make them part of a balanced and healthy diet.
The seeds have been earning a place in our diet, as they are 100% plant-based foods, rich in protein and healthy fats. Among the most common are sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flax, chia, hemp and poppy seeds.
These seeds have a large number of nutritional properties, as well as antioxidants, calcium, iron, Omega3, potassium, and fiber.
Algae are vegetables that provide protein and among them, algae stand out: nori, wakame and spirulina.
Nori Seaweed has a high content of minerals, such as iron, iodine, calcium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as a high proportion of vegetable protein. Likewise, it stands out for containing vitamin A, Vitamins B1, B2 and B3 and in small amounts vitamin C.
It does not contain fat, but it does contain a lot of fiber, that is to say that its carbohydrates are slowly assimilated.
For its part, Spirulina Alga is a blue-green microalgae, whose body, like that of nori seaweed, is almost entirely a vegetable protein.
Wakame Seaweed is one of the superfoods that contains a high level of vegetable proteins, as well as chlorine, sodium, phosphorus and potassium.