There is no doubt that protein is an essential nutrient for muscle growth and repair. As we all know animal-based protein sources are known to be high in protein content but plant-based sources are equally effective.
If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you are no less dreadful than people following a meat-based diet. In this article, you will get to know the 11 best vegan protein sources for muscle gain.
Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is an excellent source of vegan protein. It is made from soybeans and is similar in texture to the cheese.
It has a mild flavor, making it versatile, and can be added to several dishes. With approximately 10 to 19 grams of protein per half-cup serving, tofu is one of the commonly used substitutes for meat in vegan and vegetarian diets.
Moreover, tofu is a nutrient-dense food, rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals are essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Additionally, tofu is also low in calories and fat, making it an ideal food for people trying to manage their weight.
Lentils are one of the most popular vegan protein sources, and they are also one of the most cost-effective. They are a type of legume and are high in protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.
With around 18 grams of protein per one-cup serving, lentils are a healthier alternative to animal-based protein sources. Lentils are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins, promoting overall health.
Examples of meals that use lentils include lentil soup, lentil salad, and lentil curry.
Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are one of the most versatile legumes that offer several health benefits. They are an excellent source of vegan protein, with around 15 grams of protein per one-cup serving.
Additionally, they are rich in dietary fibre, which promotes satiety and may help reduce appetite.
Chickpeas are also beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease and promoting healthy digestion. Examples of meals that use chickpeas include hummus, falafel, and chickpea curry.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that has gained immense popularity in recent years. It is a complete vegan protein source, containing all the nine essential amino acids.
Additionally, it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense food.
Spirulina is commonly available in the form of powder, making it convenient to add to smoothies or sprinkle on salads.
It has a unique flavor that is sometimes described as earthy or nutty. Spirulina can also be added to baked goods such as muffins and bread.
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Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is rich in protein, making it an ideal choice for a vegan diet. It is versatile and can be eaten as a side dish or a substitute for rice. One cup of cooked quinoa contains approximately 8 grams of protein, along with a myriad of other essential nutrients.
Quinoa is also an excellent source of dietary fibre, which promotes satiety and may help with weight management. Examples of meals that use quinoa include quinoa salad, quinoa stir fry, and quinoa breakfast bowl.
Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy food that is known for its high nutritional value. It is made from fermented soybeans and has a nutty flavour.
One cup of cooked tempeh contains around 31 grams of protein, making it an ideal choice for muscle gain. Additionally, tempeh is rich in probiotics, making it beneficial for gut health.
Tempeh can be used as a meat substitute and can be added to several dishes, including stir fry, sandwiches, and salads.
7. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a vegan-friendly cheese substitute that serves as an excellent source of protein.
It is made from deactivated yeast and is commonly available in the form of flakes or powder. It contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.
Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, making it an ideal choice for vegans, who otherwise lack this nutrient.
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining healthy blood cells and the nervous system.
Nutritional yeast can be used as a seasoning and can be added to several dishes, including pasta, popcorn, and roasted vegetables.
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8. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense seeds that offer numerous health benefits. They are a rich source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source.
Additionally, they are rich in healthy fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, promoting overall health. Hemp seeds also contain minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Hemp seeds can be added to several dishes, including smoothies, yoghurt, and salads. They can also be used as a coating for chicken or fish substitute.
9. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a versatile seed that is widely used in smoothies, puddings, and baked goods. They are an excellent source of vegan protein, along with fibre, healthy fats, and numerous other nutrients.
Chia seeds contain all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source.
Chia seeds can be used as a substitute for eggs in baking recipes, and they can also be added to several dishes, including smoothies, yogurt, and salads.
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Almonds are one of the most nutrient-dense nuts that offer numerous health benefits. They contain approximately 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving, along with fibre, healthy fats, and other nutrients.
Almonds are also rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Moreover, almonds are beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease and promoting healthy digestion.
Examples of meals that use almonds include almond butter, almond milk, and almond flour recipes.
Peanuts are not just a delicious snack; they are also a great source of protein that promotes muscle gain.
They contain around 7 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving, along with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, peanuts are beneficial in regulating blood sugar levels and promoting heart health.
Peanuts can be added to several dishes, including smoothies, peanut butter, and roasted peanuts.
Following a vegan or vegetarian diet doesn’t mean compromising on essential nutrients required for muscle gain. The above-listed vegan protein sources are nutrient-dense and offer a myriad of additional health benefits.
Incorporating them into your diet can help you achieve your muscle gain goals while simultaneously promoting overall health.
It is essential to consume a variety of plant-based proteins for healthy muscle growth.
Combining different sources of protein, such as lentils and quinoa, can provide a complete set of essential amino acids required for muscle repair and growth.
In conclusion, vegan protein sources are healthy and effective for muscle gain. By incorporating the above-listed foods into your diet, you can reap the benefits of protein without consuming any animal-based foods.
Veganism is a healthy and ethical way of life, and it’s time to embrace consciously consuming plant-based foods for our betterment.