Best Sources of Veggie Protein
By: Robin Reichert
High cholesterol, heart disease and obesity are serious health problems that may be associated with eating a high fat diet. Fatty meats, such as beef and pork, can increase the fat in your blood and higher levels of cholesterol, which can lead to coronary artery disease and heart disease. One way to cut the fat in your diet is to eat less meat. Meat is a great source of protein, but you can also get sufficient protein from vegetables. Protein is an essential nutrient, but you don’t need a large amount of it in your diet to be healthy. The recommended daily allowance of protein for most people is about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight. For the average adult, this is about 50 grams of protein per day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov), women need about 46 grams and men 56 grams of protein each day. You may be concerned about getting enough protein if you eat less meat to help reduce cholesterol and fat in your diet. With some planning, even vegetarians and vegans can get enough essential protein by eating vegetables and grains.
The avocado is one of the richest vegetable sources of protein. Technically a fruit, avocado contains about 4 grams of protein per cup. Avocado also contains all the essential amino acids to build muscle tissue and make the additional proteins your body needs. Amino acids are not only important for building and repairing muscle tissue, but also critical to a healthy immune system. When you eat avocados, you get the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy heart. Fresh, raw avocado is the best choice for protein. Eat it raw, sliced on a salad, a sandwich or lightly sautéed in avocado oil. Try adding some avocado oil to your salad for a delicious, nutritious alternative to high calorie, high fat, and bottled dressings.
All legumes are high in protein and peas are no exception. One cup of peas contains almost 8 grams of protein. Peas are a great option as a side dish, in soups, or eaten raw in salads. Peas can also be blended into a dip or pesto. Add fresh peas to fruit smoothies. Peas are also delicious prepared a hummus. Other beans to add to your diet for protein include kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans. Two cups of kidney beans can contain more than 25 grams of protein, or about half of the daily recommended amount of protein for the average adult male. Beans can be eaten alone, as a side dish, or added to soups, stews and salads. Black beans are delicious added to whole grain rice. If you buy dry beans, soak them overnight in plain water. Rinse and then cook them until tender.