5 Non-Meat Protein Sources
Protein plays a wide range of functions in our bodies. It is necessary for growth and maintenance, for energy, for fluid and salt balance, to build some important substances such as enzymes, hemoglobin, hormones, antibodies. Proteins are a big part of our immunity.
1. Nuts and seeds
Moderate use of nuts and seeds in the diet can add variety and nutrition to your diet. Nuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin B2, biotin, and iron, as well as “good” fat and many phytochemicals.
Their hard shell keeps nuts fresh because the concentrated oils contained in nuts can easily go rancid and spoil in the air. That is why it is better to buy fresh raw nuts in shells. Nuts without shells will store longer in a cool, dry place in closed containers than if left in the air or in damp areas.
Seeds can be eaten raw as well. They are a good protein addition to salads, can be cooked with grains or vegetables. Unhulled seeds can be stored in a cool, dry place.
Soybeans, or sometimes they are called edamame, are a complete high-quality protein source, and provide more protein than any other legume. One-half cup of cooked soybeans contains 14 grams of protein. Green soybeans can be enjoyed as a snack, served as a main vegetable dish, stir-fried, or added to soups and salads.
Soybeans have lots of health benefits, among which are blocking enzymes that promote tumor growth; inhibiting and suppressing the growth of prostate, breast, lung, colon, and skin cancer cells; regulating and stabilizing estrogen levels, which helps to manage symptoms of menopause and many more. But like with any food, soybeans should not be eaten in excess. Large amounts of soy daily may lead to mineral deficiencies and can depress thyroid function. However, it is safe to consume large amounts of fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh.