A quick look at a number of magazines and the internet is enough. Consciously and mindfully eating “green” is a growing trend in our society. This means that more and more people are trying to eat more vegetables and legumes and less meat. The current nutrition report 2017 by the Institute of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Vienna shows that Austrians clearly exceed the recommendation regarding the consumption of meat and meat products. Is it even possible to meet the need for protein with plant proteins? We’ve put together a few ideas on how it could be achieved.
One thing before we continue: we’re not suggesting one must be vegetarian or even vegan, because dairy products and meat also play an important role in a healthy lifestyle. However, a plant-based diet definitely has the advantage of increasing the consumption of vegetables, grains and legumes, and thus the intake of fibre, which most of us eat too little of anyway. This, in turn, is an added benefit of a balanced diet and general health.
DAILY PROTEIN NEEDS
The daily protein requirement for adults is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight. Demand is strongly influenced by various factors, such as gender, age or extent of exercise, and may vary from person to person. A simple rule of thumb is 1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
An important catchphrase when talking protein is its biological value. Animal protein has a higher biological value (BV) than vegetable protein. The biological value indicates how well the body can utilise the protein in food and turn it into the body’s own protein. An egg, with a BV of 100, is used as the reference value. By combining different foods, the biological value can be increased and be even higher than 100.
With these tips, more protein can be added to the diet. Simply add a few of them regularly.
There are many different types of legumes, including lentils, beans and peas. One serving (about 80 g uncooked) contains approximately 20 g of protein. In addition to high quality protein, legumes provide a high amount of fibre, B vitamins, iron, potassium and magnesium. Beans are ideal as a side dish, in salads or as a spread. They are also suitable for baking.
2. Cereals and whole grains
Cereal products, such as wheat, rice, millet, rye, oats and barley are also good sources of protein. Two slices of wholegrain bread contain about 10 g of protein. The group of pseudocereals includes quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, which are also rich in protein. The high-quality protein can be found mostly in the outermost shell of the grain i.e. the whole grain. Wholegrain products also contain valuable fibre and numerous vitamins. An excellent example of a protein bread is Night Bread®, which scores highly in biological value through a combination of wheat and soy protein.
3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts are also a wonderful source of plant protein. There are so many different kinds of nuts that there’s nothing to stand in the way of a bit of variety on the menu. Furthermore, they have a high proportion of B vitamins, magnesium and unsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 fatty acids). Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds or chia seeds, can also pep up salads, bread/rolls and soups.
As so often, a varied diet is crucial. Through a variety of combinations of various foods, it is possible to nourish oneself with high-quality proteins and to have a nutrient-rich diet. Plant proteins should increasingly be included in the diet, not least because of the high proportion of fibre and minerals.
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