How to get complete proteins if you’re vegan

A common question amongst the vegan diet is ‘how do I get the right sort of protein?’ It’s easy to say that beans, pulses and nuts give you protein, and they do, but there’s much more to it than that. Our bodies need a whole array of different proteins which an omnivorous can provide. For a vegan diet, it’s important to be in tune with what kind of protein you’re eating.

Why do we need protein?

Protein is essential to us because of the amino acids it provides. These are required for a range of different processes, hormones, neurotransmitters and a lot more! Protein is turned over in the body more times than it is consumed, which indicates it is essential to the metabolism, too. Unfortunately our body cannot synthesise all essential amino acids, which is why it is crucial we get them from our diet. (1)

What proteins do you need?

There are 9 amino acids which cannot be synthesised by the body, but all of these are found in meat or fish. When looking at a vegan diet, however, grains are low in lysine and legumes don’t have much methionine which are both essential amino acids. This means that when eating plant-based, you should combine legumes with vegetables or grains. (2)

What’s the easiest way to get them?

To be sure you are getting the right proteins, aim to eat a variety of different healthy foods, such as grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. There are two types of protein which together combine the full set of essential amino acids: pea protein and hemp protein. These are plant-based proteins which we use in our Zaggora breakfast smoothies. Making sure you have these in your diet, along with other nutrients, vitamins, carbohydrates and fibre, you will have a very healthy, balanced diet and all the amino acids you need!

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