There are many myths around a vegan or vegetarian diet. The most widespread is that the contribution of proteins This type of diet is deficient, since this nutrient is usually found in foods such as meat, fish and eggs. But there are others vegetarian food with which you can equate this protein contribution, you just have to know them and know how to combine them with each other so that the protein you consume is complete.

To understand it better, we have spoken with Patricia Ortega, a dietitian-nutritionist specializing in vegetarian and vegan food, and she has given us certain notions about this type of nutrition.

«Today there are many scientific studies, such as the one published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, that affirm the safety and health of following a diet 100% vegetable at any stage of life, as long as it is made up of quality foods and individually guided according to the energy and nutritional needs of each person,” he told us.

“A protein It is a macronutrient that is made up of smaller subunits called amino acids. Whether the protein is of animal or vegetable origin does not make it a better or worse option and in both groups we can find complete proteins (containing all essential amino acids), and quality. It is true that there are foods that are protein sources of plant origin that are incomplete in terms of their protein profile. But this, today, is no reason to think that their contribution is of worse quality if we learn to complement them correctly,” warns the expert.

But what are amino acids? According to University of Navarra Clinicthe human being needs a total of twenty amino acids, of which nine are not capable of being synthesized by themselves and must be provided by the diet. These nine are called essential amino acids and if even one of them is missing, it will not be possible to synthesize any of the proteins in which said amino acid is required.

As the expert explains, there are plant foods whose protein contribution is incomplete, but that is why we have asked her to explain to us. how can we combine them so that this does not pose any problem.

«If our diet is adequate, complete and varied, we do not need to juggle to better provide nutrients with a plant-based diet. In general conditions, the two best-known beliefs about improving the contribution and absorption of nutrients with a plant-based diet are to combine them in the same meal or throughout the day. legumes with cereals to improve protein quality; and combine foods rich in iron (such as legumes) with foods rich in vitamin C (such as citrus fruits), to improve iron absorption,” he advised us.

«Just as happens with those of animal origin, not all foods that are considered sources of vegetal protein contain the same amount. For example, legumes and all derivatives such as tofu or tempeh, contain a high protein intake. But we must keep in mind that the amount of protein we provide throughout the day not only depends on the type of food, but also on the amount per serving “What do we make of this,” says the specialist in vegan and vegetarian food.

You already know, not only what matters but how much. But since we have to start somewhere, let’s give you a list of plant-based foods with a high protein contentin case you have considered embracing a vegetarian diet or, at least, reducing your consumption of meat and fish.

Soy is a legume with a multitude of applications in the kitchen, very rich in quality vegetable proteins and many other nutrients. If you are looking for the most protein format, it is in the form of flour, with 37.3g of protein total per 100 g of product, but it is also excellent in its dry form, with 35.9 g raw. Textured soybeans, tofu or vegetable drinks made with soybeans also provide a notable protein contribution, also allowing us to play with the preparations to give more variety to our diet.

We have already talked to you about lupins on another occasion, since it is a healthy snack, rich in proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in calories, fats and carbohydrates. It is also a legume, and one of the richest in vegetable proteins with 36.17 g of protein for every 100 g of product.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, with 30.23 g per 100 g of raw product, and also provide healthy fats, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as calcium. For their part, sunflower seeds are also a great source of minerals, a very healthy energy snack that also contains a high concentration of vegetable protein.

The peanut is actually a legume, although we treat it as a nut. Rich in vegetable proteins as well as unsaturated fats, it stands out as a source of potassium, zinc, vitamin E and omega 3. Raw peanut butter or cream provides 25.5 g of proteinpractically the same amount as the raw or lightly roasted fruit.

The lentils They are the protein champions of the legume trio par excellence. Contribute 23g for every 100 g of boiled lentils and if you combine them with cereals or pseudocereals in the same dish we will multiply their nutrients. As for the beans, we are left with the pints, since it is the one that provides the most protein to the diet (21 g per 100). And finally, the chickpeas They can also improve your vegetarian diet, since they provide 19g of proteins.

Made from wheat glutenseitan contains some 24g of protein per 100 g of weight, with few carbohydrates and very little fat. It is not a complete protein, but if we mix it with legumes, for example, it would be completely compensated.

We love the oatmeal for its countless properties such as helping you reduce cholesterol, but you may not know that it is also a great source of protein. It is also very energetic, satiating, rich in fiber, a source of minerals and vitamins and has a low glycemic index. Not in vain is it one of the foods preferred by athletes for its good nutritional profile.

Nuts, in general, are an excellent option to enhance your consumption of proteins if you have decided to leave out meat and fish. In addition to their high protein content, they are also a good source of healthy fats and antioxidantswhich makes them an ideal snack to have between meals.

Conclusion? Yes, it is possible to carry a balance diet with a correct protein intake without consuming foods of animal origin.

Of course, there are other considerations to take into account, as indicated nutritionist Patricia Ortega: «If your intention is to have a dairy-ovo-vegetarian or vegan eating pattern, it is important to take the supplement of b12 vitamin. This vitamin, although we find it in foods of animal origin (except honey), its origin is bacterial. The rest of the supplements such as omega 3, iodine, magnesium, vitamin D, etc; “Since they are also related to vegetable diets, their use would have to be assessed individually,” he concludes.