Protein is incredibly important for everyone, but especially for us vegans and vegetarians. So, how much plant-based protein is the right amount? The answer depends on several factors, including age.
Symptoms of Protein Deficiency
Vegetarians and vegans often hear the question, “where do you get your protein from?” We may be at an increased risk of low protein consumption, but there are many sources to get the protein from. When your body doesn’t get the protein intake it needs, muscles and other tissue deteriorate to obtain the amino acids the body requires. Often, doctors notice symptoms of lowered immune system functions, resulting in catching illnesses quicker. Protein also invokes satiety and lack of the nutrient will cause one to crave foods high in sugar and carbs.
In general, many protein-deficient people have poor immunity, unhealthy body compositions, and low energy levels. But, us vegans and vegetarians can address this by eating nutritiously, and staying knowledgeable on plant-based protein sources.
Some exercise researchers say more protein is often better – even in amounts well above the 56 grams, daily (and 46 grams for women) recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). It’s filling, beneficial for appetite suppression and losing weight, and also helps prevent loss of muscle mass and strength as people age, says Dr. Stuart Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at Canada’s McMaster University, in a statement to Time Magazine.
For all these reasons, he says that adults, sedentary or active, should consume a lot more protein than they likely do. He says up to .75 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day is sufficient. For example, for a 150 lb person, that works out to roughly to the amount you’d find in a chicken breast , a cup of beans, six ounces of Greek yogurt and eight ounces of soy or almond milk, according to the USDA’s nutrient database.
There are many options from plant-based ingredients for those who want to avoid meat and fish. You don’t have to eat meat to get your daily intake of protein!
Top 20 Surprisingly Protein-rich Vegan Ingredients:
Some nutrition experts say that us humans don’t actually have to seek out complete proteins with every meal we eat, because our bodies can assemble them efficiently when given an array of amino acids building blocks from a well-balanced diet. However, it doesn’t hurt to seek out some of the plant-based complete proteins listed above, including soy foods, quinoa and more! What are some of your favorite plant-based protein sources?