Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats, yet many are struggling to find natural ways to add protein in their diet. A high protein diet has many benefits including weight loss and muscle gain. Protein consumption keeps you full for longer and reduces food cravings and unhealthy snacking. Protein also helps in building muscle, stimulating fat loss and gaining overall strength.
An estimated one billion people worldwide suffer from protein deficiency. While getting the latter two has always been comparatively easy, getting enough protein has been a huge challenge, especially amongst vegetarians and vegans. Many people think that it is nearly impossible to attain your body’s daily protein intake without supplementing, but this isn’t true. Nature has blessed us abundantly and plant-based diets are full of all the nutrition that a human body needs.
An average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. In this blog, we have put together foods as a natural way to add protein to your diet, without having to supplement. Add these nut-free, dairy-free options to your diet:
- Quinoa: Quinoa is one of the few superfoods that has it all. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein, and its benefits know no bounds. While this is an acquired taste for many, it can be incorporated into your diet in various forms that wouldn’t alter the taste very much and still provide you with all the goodness. Just one cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein. It also includes 5 grams of fibre and a substantial percentage of vitamins and minerals.
- Maca Powder: Maca has recently shot to popularity thanks to its immense benefits. Maca roots are predominantly grown in the Andes region of central Peru. It is mostly consumed in powdered form and you can literally add it to any of your meals to make it a protein-rich one. Maca is known to increase fertility in men and improve sex drive. It is a mood-enhancer and helps reduce menopause symptoms. Maca roots come in different colours: a single serving of yellow maca powder contains 7 grams of protein, and red maca powder contains 6 grams of protein.
- Beans: A plant-based diet nourishes us in abundance and adding beans to your diet is a great way to meet several dietary requirements. They come in many types such as black-eyed, lima, kidney, soy, garbanzo beans to name a few. Aside from being rich in protein, amino acids, antioxidants and folate, beans help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes. It also helps reduce the risk of cancer and improves heart health. Protein in 100 grams of kidney beans is 24 grams and garbanzo beans is 19 grams.
- Canihua Grains: This superfood from the Andes is all the rage now owing to all the nutrients it comes with. Also known as baby quinoa, adding this to your diet will give you a boost of protein, calcium, zinc, omegas (3, 6 and 9) and antioxidants. Canihua also has very high iron content and essential amino acids, making this a must-have in your diet. A single serving of Canihua grains has 12 grams of protein and these can be added to your salad, smoothie or sprinkled over any other meal if you like.
- Cacao: When you hear cacao, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is chocolate. You wouldn’t necessarily associate chocolate with “healthy”, but cacao is exactly that. It is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, enriched with fibre, minerals, antioxidants and protein. Predominantly grown in the South American region, cacao can be consumed in powder, nib or bean form. A single serving of raw cacao powder contains 7 grams of protein. Some of its health benefits include reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes and heart diseases, improved mood and lessened risk of depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here is the last one, and our personal favourite.
- Tara Powder: Tara beans are not as well-known around the world as the other superfoods listed, and it’s really a shame because of how nutritious they are! Tara, scientifically known as Caesalpinia Spinosa, is a legume of shrubby nature that is native to Peru. They have a slightly nutty flavour and smooth texture, and are soluble in hot water, making it a nice ingredient to add when baking or cooking. Tara is a great source of fibre and protein amongst other essential minerals and vitamins. Rich in amino acids and antioxidants, Tara is known to improve digestive health, relieving both constipation and diarrhea and aids in muscle building and growth. A single serving of Tara Powder contains 23 grams of protein and makes a great addition to any of your meals.
Protein is found in every cell of your body, which is why the lack or deficiency of this macronutrient has several adverse effects on your body. If you don’t consume the recommended dietary protein, you run the risk of developing several health problems including edema, fatty liver, skin, hair and nail problems, loss of muscle also known as muscle wasting amongst others. Eat clean, eat healthy and be sure to include all the essential macro and micronutrients for optimal health, both physical and mental. Remember, before you supplement, always explore natural ways to add protein.
At Miski Organics®, we are driven by health and wellness as the core of what we do. Every product that we have here is organic, gluten-free and sustainable, made with the goal to provide healthy, accessible food options to consumers.