Protein For Vegetarians

What are your protein needs as a vegetarian? Its obvious that your body needs protein but how much is considered enough? The answer varies between individuals and in general men need more than women.

The Basics

One of the key components of a healthy diet is protein. Ensuring you get your daily recommended dose of protein is sometimes a little tricky as a vegetarian, especially if you're not sure which are the best sources or how you can incorporate consuming enough. There are a number of key sources of protein-rich foods as a vegetarian.

What Is Protein?

Found in a range of foodstuffs, protein makes up the building blocks of your body. This includes your vital organs, your muscles, skin and hormones.

Proteins are made up of lots of different amino acids that are linked together. A 'typical' protein has 300+ amino acids and for each protein, the actual number and order of those amino acids is unique.

Your body actually needs protein in order to maintain and repair the tissues and organs. As you are growing, you also need it to help your growth.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

In short, a very rough estimate is 50g for adult women and 63g for men per day.

But this doesn't tell the whole story, as you can't just take that amount in a single meal to fulfil your needs.

Pregnant women or those that are breastfeeding have greater protein needs than women who are not. Another easy rule of thumb is to use your personal weight as it is estimated that you need .75g per kilogram of body weight. If you are exercising a great deal, you may require more.

However a regular balanced diet usually provides enough even for the keenest athletes.


The Best Ways To Get Proteins

You'll find protein in lots of different forms, however the ideal is to look for the healthier, low-fat sources if you can. Make sure you avoid any saturated fats and highly processed options.

The best way to consume is throughout the day, with an increased concentration after extreme exercise. You can keep up your fruit and vegetables as well, ensuring you get vitamins, minerals and fibre.


What Sources?

Good sources include fish and lean meat if you're not a veggie! But for vegetarians and meat eaters, you can look to foods like :

  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Soya
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Peanuts

Vegetarians need to be particularly careful to make sure theyre getting what their body requires. Skimmed milk, cheese and yoghurts are good if you eat dairy products. Otherwise nuts and seeds also have a high content. Soya, tofu and quorn are nutritious alternatives to meat that can help you meet your daily intake. It is essential that you do so in order to keep your bodys metabolism functioning properly as well as to help muscle and tissue repair.

Most of your skin, hair, muscles and cartilage are made from these building blocks of life. They also help form enzymes, hormones and antibodies, all of which keep your bodys systems running smoothly. If youre not getting enough, you will find yourself lacking in energy, more vulnerable to illness and generally suffering from poorer health.

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