Protein is an essential part of our diet and one of the main components of our body. Plant foods are a great source of protein and when it comes to a vegan diet, muscle mass, and endurance, many athletes are proof that, although they are vegans, they can endure their training and still build muscle well.
Vegan athletes get energy, protein, and iron from grains, fruits, and vegetables – cooked or raw. Nutrition plays a big role in building muscle. If you have not managed to develop muscle mass even though you train hard, it is certainly related to the intake of calories you consume and the energy you expend. When it comes to a plant-based diet, the key to getting the right amount of protein and all the necessary amino acids is to combine various vegetables, legumes, beans and grains. Diversity is crucial here.
Let’s take a look at which plant foods you can consume to build your muscle.
Quinoa is a seed and can be found in different varieties. There is a white, red, black or mixed variety. 100 grams of cooked quinoa can provide 4 grams of protein, and it is also known as a complete protein, which means that it contains 22 amino acids. Quinoa is also an alternative carbohydrates source to things like rice or couscous.
Tofu comes from soy and 100 grams of this food provides 8 grams of protein. Tofu is very versatile because it can be cooked in many ways, including baking and frying and it is very popular in the East.
3. Oats and rice
Although oats are complex carbohydrates, which provide a slow release of energy, this food is also a decent source of protein because 100 grams provides 10 grams of protein. Like oats, rice is primarily a source of carbohydrates, but brown and wild rice may contain adequate levels of protein. We get 4 grams of protein per 100 grams of these foods. They are also a great source of fiber. Тhere are many different types of rice in nature, so make sure you consume the healthiest rice to ensure your body has the necessary nutrients.
4. Nuts and seeds
Here we come across another variety of foods rich in protein and can be used with meals or as a snack. Some of the best ones are hemp seeds (5 g in one tablespoon), flax seeds (3 g per tablespoon), almonds (3 g protein in 6 almonds), walnuts (3 g protein in three nuts), pumpkin seeds (4 g). per spoon), cashews (3g per ten cashews), Brazil nuts (4g per six Brazil nuts). Also, there are peanut and walnut butter, but you should be careful and check the label if you buy them in the store, make sure that they do not have additional oils, salt, and sugar.
5. Chia seeds
One tablespoon of chia seeds provides almost 2 grams of protein and can be used at breakfast, as a dressing for salads, or as a healthy dessert rich in protein. Chia seeds are also a great substitute for eggs, the seeds are hydrophilic and will expand if we leave them in the water for about twenty minutes.
Hemp contains a good ratio of omega 6 and omega 3, it is one of the richest source of essential fatty acids, but also a rich source of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Hemp is composed of protein (47%) and contains a total of 20 amino acids of which 9 amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. A suggestion is to mix hemp seeds in your smoothies or oats.
7. Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils should usually be soaked in water for a few hours before cooking. There are several types of bean and lentils, but each type contains a lot of wonderful nutrients, fiber and protein. Thus, colorful beans contain as much as 28.1% protein, red beans slightly less (27.6%), while the share of black beans is 26.1%. Beans also contain a very small percentage of fat, while colorful beans do not contain them at all.
There are many varieties of lentils to also choose from and most are relatively high in protein. Chick peas are also another hidden gem for a vegan diet.
A common misconception is that plant based foods do not have sufficient protein for building muscle, but as you can see there are plenty to choose from. Through research and experimentation you are bound to find a lot more vegan food sources and add variation to your diet!