With the rise in health and fitness awareness, people throughout the country are hitting gym and going on specialised diets like never before.
Everyone wants a fit and toned body and to live a healthy and stress free lifestyle and one of the ways to achieve this is through a well-planned exercising regime.
But being physically fit is not the only trend on the rise these days. More and more people are turning vegetarian, believing that it is the way to increase their immunity, improve the health of their gut and fight stress and life-threatening illnesses.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
A healthy diet can be achieved by restricting the intake of simple carbohydrates and fats and by consuming moderate portions of high biological value proteins.
Protein is important to humans because it is essential when it comes to repairing and replacing muscle fibres.
Every time you work out, your muscle fibres get damaged or destroyed, and protein is the building block of the body, which repairs that damage.
Animal foods are recognised for being the best and most complete source of protein, while plant foods are thought to lack a few essential amino acids and are considered inferior as a source of protein.
The recommended amount of protein for men is 0.8 to 1.5 g protein per pound of body weight, while for women it is 0.8 to 1.2 g per pound of body weight. For someone who is exercising at a high intensity this demand for protein is higher.
But what if you do not want to eat meat? Here is the good news.
Milk and milk products like yoghurt, cottage cheese are very good sources of proteins and also provide other micronutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium. Eggs, fish and seafood are also high in protein.
Whey powder or whey water is another example of good quality, low fat protein source for the individuals on a meat-free diet. Soybean and its various products like tempeh, tofu, soy milk, nuggets, and granules are considered very good sources of plant protein. In fact the protein quality of soybean is considered equivalent to the animal food sources.
Nuts and seeds like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, watermelon seeds, cucumber seeds are protein dense and are also good sources of essential fatty acids. Beans and legumes like french beans, peas and other various types of beans are all good sources of plant proteins.
Cereals and pulses are considered good sources of plant proteins, but they do lack some essential amino acids. The key is to balance out your diet by combining cereals and pulses with other foods that are high in essential amino acids.
Thus, a combination of pulses with brown bread or brown rice is a great way to consume some good quality meat-free plant protein. Spirulina is another food source with a high protein content.
We would advise getting some specialist advice from a nutritionist or dietician before radically changing your diet, but it is good news for everyone wishing to eat a meat-free diet and build muscle tone – you can get your protein elsewhere.
Written by: Priyanka Dogra