protein

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  • Protein is important for most all body functions and is used in the structure of your body's cells.
  • You are supposed to get 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh (0.36 times your weight in pounds).
  • Digestive juices and enzymes are two of the many things protein helps your body produce (i.e. proteins are important for proper digestion!).
  • Protein helps the body transport oxygen, nutrients and other materials through your body.
  • Protein can be found in many low-calorie foods. A lot of people think that protein is most easily gotten from high-calorie meats, but there are many protein-rich foods that have little fat and low calorie content.
  • Protein deficiency can cause anemia, weakness, delayed body healing, decreased immune system, and sprue syndrome (malabsorbtion).

    * The very important complete protein rule (which is especially important for vegetarians): You remember learning that proteins are amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that a healthy body needs. We don't learn too much about this because the majority of people get all 20 from carnivorous diets...however, it's crucial for vegetarians to be aware of the different kinds of amino acids they're getting. You can sort of separate proteins into three groups, based on the different amino acids they contain: beans/legumes, dairy, and whole grains. Each group by itself offers only certain amino acids (i.e. incomplete protein), so it's best to eat proteins from each group (i.e. complete protein). You don't have to eat different proteins at one meal; it's fine to have dairy for breakfast, beans for lunch, and whole wheat for dinner. What's important is that you get all three!

    foodamountprotein (gm)gm per 100 calories
    tempeh 1 cup 31 9.5
    seitan 4 ounces 15-31 21.4-22.1
    soybeans, cooked 1 cup 29 9.6
    veggie dog 1 link 8-26 13.3-20
    veggie burger 1 patty 5-24 3.8-21.8
    lentils, cooked 1 cup 18 7.8
    tofu, firm 4 ounces 8-15 10-12.2
    kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.8
    lima beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.8
    black beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.3
    chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 15 5.4
    pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 14 6.0
    black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 13 6.7
    nonfat cottage cheese 1/2 cup 13 15
    vegetarian baked beans 1 cup 12 5.2
    quinoa, cooked 1 cup 11 3.5
    soymilk, commercial, plain 1 cup 3-10 3-12
    tofu, regular 4 ounces 2-10 2.3-10.7
    bagel 1 medium(3 oz) 9 3.7
    peas, cooked 1 cup 9 3.4
    textured vegetable protein (tvp), cooked1/2 cup 8 8.4
    peanut butter 2 tbsp. 8 4.1
    spaghetti, cooked 1 cup 7 3.4
    spinach, cooked 1 cup 6 11.0
    soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces 6 6
    bulgur, cooked 1 cup 6 3.7
    sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6 3.3
    almonds 1/4 cup 6 2.8
    broccoli, cooked 1 cup 5 10.5
    whole wheat bread 2 slices 5 3.9
    cashews 1/4 cup 5 2.7
    almond butter 2 tbsp 5 2.4
    brown rice, cooked 1 cup 5 2.1
    potato 1 medium(6 oz) 4 2.6

    Source: The Vegetarian Resource Group


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