FIVE OF THE MOST SURPRISING MEAT-FREE PROTEIN FOODS
BY GAINZ STAFF
Getting enough protein in your diet is essential for several reasons. From helping you build muscle and maintain healthy hair and nails to ensuring enzymes are functioning properly. It’s also important because it provides necessary amino acids that the body can’t synthesize on its own.
Consequences of a diet too low in protein include muscle wastage, general weakness, and a reduced immune system, to name a few. We all know meats are high in protein, but perhaps for health, ethical or religious reasons you are looking for an alternative source. Equally, you might just be tired of chicken breasts and egg whites. Fitness circles have long been aware of whey and other dairy sources of protein. So, they’ve been left off the list. Here are some lesser-known foods that may surprise you.
Spirulina is a natural water-based plant. While some consider it seaweed, it is a form of blue-green algae. What’s more surprising though, is that this plant contains a whopping 57 grams of protein per 100 grams. Several times more than chicken, beef or any other meats.
It’s also high in vitamins and nutrients. If the thought of munching on algae doesn’t do much for you, then don’t worry. You can take spirulina in tablet, flake or powder form for easy consumption.
You’ve probably heard of this one, or seen it at the local health store. But, you may have thought of it as more of a side dish, when in fact it’s high in protein on its own. With a very high nutrient content and twice the protein content of rice or barley, quinoa offers an excellent way to bump up your daily protein intake and improve your health at the same time.
Popeye wasn’t wrong after all. Proportionally at least, spinach has a high amount of protein. In fact, from a caloric perspective, fresh baby spinach contains 12 grams of protein per 100 calories compared to ground beef. Of course, since spinach is low in calories, you would have to eat a lot of it, but there’s always the convenient option of blending it into a smoothie. Coupled with its rich nutrient profile, this makes it a perfect addition to your diet.
#4 SOY BEANS
Soy beans, and other legumes, are an excellent source of protein. At an impressive 36 grams per 100, they’re even higher in protein than
the rest of the foods in their family. Not to mention meats and dairy. While they have a high fat content, much of this is from healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids which can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Add to this the fact that they’re high in calcium, iron, and zinc, and you’ve got the makings of a snack your muscles will thank you for. Just keep it in moderation because of the fat.
If you’re wondering which cereal to opt for in the morning, you can’t go wrong with a bowlof porridge. With 17 grams of protein per 100, oats are far superior to the competition. Even more so if you add some milk (vegans can use milk alternatives or water) and offer a much better alternative to sugary breakfast options.
If you’re willing to get creative, you can also use oats in many other tasty yet nutritional recipes, such as cookies, for a guilt-free snack.
Now that you’ve discovered these under-the-radar protein sources, why not start integrating them into your diet? Not only will they help from a fitness or bodybuilding perspective, but they’re also full of nutrients to aid a healthy lifestyle and stave off illness or disease.
While perfect for vegans or vegetarians, these foods are also ideal for those looking to switch things up and keep their meat intake at a reasonable level, while prioritizing their health. Adding some variety to your diet is sure to result in you looking and feeling better than ever. So, give these foods a try today! GAINZ
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