Eating enough protein is extremely important not only for female athletes. Because every woman should pay attention to her protein requirements, because without protein in the body nothing really runs smoothly.
In this article:
- That is why you needProtein
- The advantages of vegetable protein
- Do vegan women suffer from protein deficiency?
- The best vegan protein sources
Why does your body need proteins?
Proteins not only form the basis for the development of new muscles, they are also an important component of organs, enzymes, hormones, etc. In order to be able to utilize the protein from food, they must first be broken down into their components, the so-called amino acids.
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There are a total of 21 amino acids, 9 of which are essential (vital!) for your body, so you need to take them in daily through protein-rich foods.
These 9 amino acids are found in both animal and vegetable protein sources, such as legumes or nuts. Meat, fish or eggs are therefore not per se better or higher quality. Nevertheless, they are considered good sources of protein and are always mentioned first in connection with a protein-rich diet. Why? Animal protein has a higher biological value than vegetable protein.
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Vegetable versus animal protein in a duel. © Yulia Furman / Shutterstock.com
The so-called biological value indicates how well your body can use the protein taken in from food to convert it into the body’s own protein.
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The advantages of vegetable protein
Although animal protein has a higher biological value and can therefore be better utilized by the body, plant protein is far from being a “second-class protein”. They even have the nose in other areas, because vegan protein is always:
- rich in unsaturated fatty acids
- and secondary plant substances
In contrast, meat, fish and eggs contain many saturated fatty acids, little fibre, purines (gout triggers) and sometimes a lot of cholesterol. They are nevertheless good sources of protein.
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Ideally, you should always combine the benefits of the various sources of protein on your plate in a colourful way. For example in the form of a bowl of cooked quinoa with broccoli and chicken breast strips.
Do vegans get enough protein in their diet?
If you are vegan, you should always keep an eye on your protein requirements and regularly ask yourself: “Do I eat enough protein during the day? This is not only true for vegans, but also for meat eaters. Most important is the total daily calorie intake. Because if you generally eat too little, you will absorb correspondingly less nutrients.
Vegan women are no more likely to suffer from protein deficiency than meat eaters. © j.chizhe / Shutterstock.com
Sure, you can also just drink a (vegan) protein shake to cover your protein needs, but that should be the exception. Vegans can easily cover their protein requirements through their normal diet – they just need to know which vegan foods contain a lot of protein.
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Feeding different vegetable protein suppliers throughout the day also ensures that the biological value of the food protein increases.
The 10 best vegan protein sources
The only question now is: Which foods contain a lot of vegetable protein and in which dishes do they taste particularly good? We have put together the highest-protein, vegan foods for you:
Oat flakes not only score points with a high protein content of 12.5 grams per 100 grams – comparatively high for cereals – but also have numerous other benefits up their sleeve:
A breakfast with oatmeal and the day can only be good. © Ekaterina-Kondratova / Shutterstock.com
Oat flakes contain complex carbs and fibre, DIE Nutrient dream combination for losing weight par excellence. In addition, the carbohydrates provide plenty of energy for the next workout without being heavy on the stomach. Also top: the high magnesium content.
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With legumes, there is guaranteed to be no boredom when eating due to the variety of varieties. Depending on the variety, the vegan protein content varies:
Pulses are not only real protein bombs, but also rich in healthy fibres that keep you full for a long time. There are further plus points for the high content of the minerals iron, potassium and magnesium, which are especially important for female athletes.
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Uh, pseudo what? You know, cereals that aren’t “real” cereals. But it looks similar and is used in the same way, but is gluten-free. These include… Amaranth (14.6 grams protein / 100 grams), Quinoa (13.8 grams protein / 100 grams) and Buckwheat (about 9 grams of protein / 100 grams).
Quinoa can be prepared similarly to rice. © Elena Veselova / Shutterstock.com
Buckwheat is ideal for vegetarian roasts or as flour for baking. Quinoa and amaranth taste great when popped in muesli and also make a great base for salads.
4. tofu and other soya products
Soybeans form the basis of numerous meat replacement products such as tofu, tempeh and soya shreds. No wonder that Tofu Sausage & Co. are bursting with vegetable protein. Because soybeans are legumes and, as is well known (see point 1), they are rich in protein.
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Tofu (around 14 grams of protein / 100 grams) is available in different varieties, whether pure, as smoked and silk tofu, or already pre-marinated. It is also available as schnitzel, burger patties and soy-based sausage.
5. cabbage vegetables
In terms of protein content, vegetables cannot compete with legumes or tofu, but there are three representatives of the “green fraction” who easily put all other vegetables in their pockets: Broccoli yields 3.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. Kale already yields 4.3 grams and Brussels sprouts even 4.5 grams.
You hate Brussels sprouts? It’s high time you made friends with the miniature sprouts. © Olga-Larionova / Shutterstock.com
By comparison, vegetables normally have a protein content of 1 to 2 grams per 100 grams.
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Nuts are the perfect protein-rich snack for in-between meals. However, a handful of the small calorie bombs is enough per day, otherwise they will quickly exceed their energy requirements. By the way, the protein content differs depending on the variety:
Macadamia and pecans did not make it into our table as they provide less than 10 grams of protein per 100 grams.
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7. seeds and kernels
Chia seeds have experienced a real hype in the last few years. Especially “super” about this small superfood is the high protein content (16.5 grams per 100 grams). Even better: Linseed of 24,4 grams, or Hemp seeds with an insane eight ounces. The little grains all look great in cereal.
Small but powerful: seeds and kernels are small protein bombs. © Ekaterina-Kondratova / Shutterstock.com
Also Pumpkin and sunflower seeds (both around 23 grams of protein) are considered a good, vegan protein source that you can easily integrate into any meal, for example as a salad topping.
Seitan is also a popular and very protein-rich meat substitute among veggies, but unlike tofu or tempeh, it is not made from soybeans. Seitan consists of wheat protein, better known as gluten. The so-called “wheat meat” is somewhat firmer than tofu and sometimes even fibrous, i.e. very meat-like.
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You can buy ready made seitan (also in the form of sausages, burger patties & co.) or make it yourself at home.
9. pasta (without egg)
Pasta’s fattening? Nope! But if you drown the slim pasta in fat sauces, it will absorb a lot of extra calories. Because pasta itself has many carbohydrates, but they are not bad per se. On the contrary: they provide a lot of energy.
Vegan pasta with broccoli: delicious and rich in protein. © nadianb / Shutterstock.com
Noodles (without egg) made from durum wheat as well as wholemeal pasta also contain plenty of protein: around 13 grams per 100 grams in the raw state. Combine a little protein-rich vegetables, such as broccoli, and a few tofu cubes and you have a delicious, vegan protein bomb on your table.
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Tip: Why not try pasta made from legumes, such as lentil noodles or pea spirelli. Some of them have twice as much protein as pasta made from durum wheat semolina.
10. germs and sprouts
With fresh sprouts or sprouts you can pimp soups and salads in seconds. These are simply the germinated seeds of cereals or legumes. The trick: germination increases the protein and mineral content and also improves the body’s ability to use them.
Whether you are on a vegan diet or not, vegetable protein suppliers should definitely be on your menu more often. By combining different protein-rich foods – whether of plant or animal origin – you can ensure that your daily protein requirements are easily met.