Protein is one of our body's three existing macronutrients. These are multi-component compounds found in all living organisms. They are involved in all critical chemical processes that are necessary for all living creatures to survive. They are essential for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs and also do the majority of the work in cells.
Image 1: Sources of proteins
I'm sure you all wondered how and where they are produced. The process by which they emerge is known as synthesis. This process is consists of two separated processes – transcription and translation. We can surely talk thoroughly about these two but for now, leave it aside. What is important is that protein synthesis takes place in the ribosome of cells. Additionally, they are found as a part of the endoplasmic reticulum and organelle’s cells. As well they are contained within eukaryotic cells as free-floating particles.
But, where is protein stored, and can humans store those molecules? Regrettably, NO! That is not the case. The human body cannot store them in that form because of a lack of specialized cells to store them properly (which is not the case with carbohydrates and fats).
But it can break down its muscle tissues into amino acids. What happens is that the proteins we consume through food are converted into fats and those fats are key to storing energy reserves. In theory, interrupting protein intake would be harmful to our bodies. Our body would have a strong need to compensate for the lack of the same, which would result in decomposing its tissue, which primarily refers to the muscles. In extreme cases, the deficiency of proteins can lead to gradual muscle death.
Not only proteins are essential for our body functions, but there are also tiny molecules that proteins are made from and those are called amino acids. I believe you heard about them many times, but what is their function?
Amino acids are organic molecules composed of basic amino groups (NH2), carboxyl groups (COOH), and organic R groups that are different for each amino acid. These molecules are the components of protein.
As we have already said, protein is one of the most important substances needed for human survival. The first amino acid isolated in history is glycine, which is also the simplest one. Later, 21 kinds of amino acids were discovered.
Those 21 amino acids are divided into three groups:
Non-essential amino acids are those that our body can produce on its own but we still get them through food; alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. Conditional amino acids are important in times of stress or trauma, such as injury, surgery, or sepsis; arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine. The last group is essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine, which are not produced by the human body, So we must ingest them through food.
As we all know, some of the best sources of protein are eggs, meat, and poultry, such as chicken or turkey, but we will discuss foods with pure essential amino acids later. Each essential amino acid has a special aspect in the human body. We will not discuss them separately, but proper intake of them can improve mood and sleep, improve sports performance, reduce fat and increase muscle. These amino acids can also be helpful in hormonal and digestive balance and can also improve the look of your skin due to their role in the production of collagen and elastin.
Many individuals are switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet these days, and there are many reasons for that. The trigger can be the desire to repair the general condition of the organism while the others are concerned about the treatment of animals produced for human consumption, as well as the environmental impact. It is also not uncommon for religious reasons to be involved in making decisions such as this.
It is not a joke to switch to this sort of diet. If you are not well educated, there is a good chance that you will not consume enough protein, essential vitamins, and minerals if you do not consume meat or animal products. By making that decision, it is recommended to see a nutritionist who can provide you with sound guidance on how to maintain a healthy protein, iron, and vitamin B-12, and many others even though your diet does not include intake of animal products.
In this article, we will be your guide and introduce you to some plant-based proteins that can be your substitution for animal proteins. Like we mentioned earlier, some plant products contain all nine amino acids such as soybeans and quinoa. The lack of amino acids in the other plant-based food conditions the various diet so the intake of all nine can be fulfilled.
So let’s start with the queen of the plant-based proteins, and mother of all vegans and vegetarians, soy!
This legume is the richest source of protein in the plant-based diet. Soy products can provide a wide range of health advantages. The most known are tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, and miso. Intake of this food made from whole soy grains can have a good impact on your body and reduce the chance of several types of cancers, also the risk of heart diseases, and relieve menstrual symptoms.
The most known one is tofu, also known as soybeans curd. It s high-protein, low-fat soy product that usually comes in blocks. Cooked soybeans are added into the water to make soy milk witch is combined with a coagulant such as salt or acid which separates the soy milk into the curds. Also consuming tofu can increase your inventory of calcium and iron. This foodstuff can be a versatile addition to a meal considering its ability to assume the flavor of the dish it is prepared.
The second soybeans product is edamame. It contains 11 g of protein per 100 g. Like tofu, edamame is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and iron, also low in calories. Another reason to add it into your diet is the richness of antioxidants (vitamin C and A) and fiber that can lower your cholesterol levels. Also compare to tofu, edamame has 47% more protein than tofu. Consuming these beans can improve your overall health and prevent cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and also some studies have shown that it can help prevent depression because of the certain amount of folate it contains.
Trendy biscuit industry grain has a high protein content, and such as soy, it is pure protein because it contains all nine amino acids. Quinoa contains 16.5g of protein per 100g. Also, quinoa is a portion of gluten-free plant food, with a high amount of fiber and it is also high in magnesium, vitamins B complex, calcium, vitamin B, and many other beneficial antioxidants. There are numerous ways to incorporate this food into various dishes. It can serve as a staple in a variety of dishes like stews and pasta in a soup. Also, it is not bad as an addition on salats. However, do not exaggerate with this grain because excessive intake can lead to stomach aches, diarrhea, and a feeling of bloating. So be careful during its consumption.
Low in calories, high in fiber and protein (17g/100g), chia seeds are an ideal plant-based protein source. A quite cheap and easy way to add additional nutrients to your meals. Adding chia seeds into your overnight oats, homemade bread, in some plain yogurt or smoothie is the perfect way to start your morning.
Another great source of protein is chickpeas, which have 19g of protein per 100g. It is a very versatile grocery which you can eat cooked in a stew, curry, or baked in the oven, spiced with your favorite seasoning and eaten as a snack, or simply throw some into your salade.
But if you want an extra „kick“ of protein, you could make hummus, a creamy spread made out of chickpeas, tahini, and spices. The extra „kick“ of protein comes from tahini, a paste made out of sesame seeds that contain 18g of protein per 100g.
One of the highest plant-based protein sources is spirulina (57g/100g) an alga that is known for its green or blue color. It also contains nutrients such as iron, vitamin B, and the mineral manganese. It can be found in health shops or pharmacies in the form of a dark green powder, capsules, or as a supplement. It can be added to smoothies, water, sprinkled over salads, or mixed into your açaí bowl.
When it comes to comparing plant and animal proteins, there are many available researchers on the internet that explain their dissimilarity. These two kinds of proteins of different origins have a similar but not identical impact on the human body. Their differences are manifested through glycaemic response, appetite, and body weight, and in turn on metabolism and cardiovascular and muscle health.
Foods rich in animal-derived protein such as:
So, proteins of animal origin are called complete proteins. Animal protein sources such as these we mention are similar to the protein found in the human body. These proteins are typically high in nutrients that are not commonly found in plant foods such as; vitamin B12, vitamin D, heme-iron, zink, and DHA.
The incomplete source of protein is one or more proteins with a low content of the essential amino acids. For example, the content of methionine, tryptophan, lysine, and isoleucine in some plant proteins is usually low. Plant protein itself is considered to be an incomplete protein, but some groceries like almonds rice, soybeans, peas, lentils, beans, and other plant-derived proteins contain high-quality amino acids. Also, some studies have shown that protein extracted from hemp and peas can have a positive impact on muscle and strength on humans. It is not uncommon for some people to be deficient in certain amino acids, but amino acids combined with various foods, especially other protein sources, can be a good dietary supplement.
Study participants who ate plant-based protein had a considerably lower risk of heart disease, despite researchers finding no link between eating animal protein and heart disease. It's recommended that we combine plant-based foods in a healthy way to ensure that we get the entire protein intake our bodies need, according to experts.
Fortunately, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods can prevent all of these negative effects. All of our body's necessary amino acid requirements can be supplied by consuming proteins derived from animals and plants.
In one of our previous articles, we had a subtitle named „Fit is Trendy, Fit is Tasty: Learn How To Include Proteins Into Baking Biscuits“ . Our mission is to dispel the myth that cookies are unhealthy food. Read about plant-based delicious cookies that you could maybe eat for breakfast or after the gym. Or read their ingredients and make some of your own high-protein cookies!
Each serving of our Complete Cookies contains up to 16g of plant-based protein and 10g of fiber, making them a nutrient-dense snack. They also have a holiday collection, check it out!
Munk Pack Protein Cookies are gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, non-GMO, and filled with 16g protein for a satisfying and well-balanced meal.
No Cow Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough vegan protein bars are gluten-free and kosher, as well as Non-GMO Project Verified, soy-free, and low in sugar.
Who doesn't enjoy a good original Chocolate Chip Cookie? Non-GMO, Vegan Cookies are high in protein and fiber, making them an ideal snack. No cholesterol, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, or sugar alcohols. There are no artificial flavors or colors in this product.