When you think of increasing protein intake, you would usually think of meat or whey. But as more people turn vegan, plant protein has become more relevant than ever.

Plant-based proteins are a good option as they are alkaline, while animal proteins can lead to inflammation and leave an acidic ash in the body, says Lovneet Batra, a Delhi-based sports nutritionist. “Veggie proteins are also more bioavailable and therefore can be assimilated by the body without stressing the liver."

The trick, she says, is to pair them correctly because they’re not complete proteins in themselves. Lentils, for instance, must be paired with grains or pseudo-grains like amaranth to complete the amino acid profile.

Batra adds that if you’re not eating enough carbs, some of the proteins will not be used for muscle building by the body. Unlike animal proteins, however, plant proteins do provide carbohydrates. “Therefore, any protein that also provides carbs is good as these two are a great pairing," she says.

Peas. Photo: iStock
Peas. Photo: iStock

Peas: “This is a great source and is a complete protein by itself," says Batra. A scoop will have 23-24g of protein. If you’re not working out, then, on an average, a woman will require 60g and a man, 65g. “If you’re working out, then you need 1.2-1.5g per kilogram of ideal body weight."

Amarnath. Photo: iStock
Amarnath. Photo: iStock

Amaranth: “You can use either the seeds or the flour of this anti-inflammatory plant." A cup of cooked amaranth seeds contains 7-10g of protein.

Sprouted lentils: Sprouts increase the nutrition content, including that of protein. So 30g of sprouted lentils will give you more than 10g of protein.

Soy: “This is rich in protein but also contains phytoestrogens that can cause hormone imbalance, so one should only eat these twice a week." Just 30g of soya nuggets will give you 23-24g of protein.

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