High Protein Vegetarian Sources

 What is protein? 

Protein is a real buzz word at the moment, and not just in the fitness world. We are constantly being reminded by the latest fitness influencer that we need to increase our protein intake. Chances are, unless your body is showing signs of protein deficiency, you are likely eating enough protein. That being said, if you are trying to build muscle, increasing your protein intake is essential. 

Amino acids are the build blocks of protein, which is one of three macronutrients. We need protein, along with fat and carbohydrates in large amounts in-order for our body to function properly. Each of these macronutrients has its own role in the body, with the prime function of protein being to build and repair muscle. This is why it is so highly emphasised in the fitness industry. 


Why do we need protein? 

Like I said above, protein helps to repair and build muscle. When you train, it creates micro tears in the muscles which need to heal so that the muscles can grown. Protein aids this process. Therefore you need a substantial amount of protein to recover from an intense workout. 

Along with this, protein works many wonders on the body. It is essential for hair and nails, it helps to make enzymes and also a crucial part in bones, cartilage and skin. So, it's pretty useful. 


The issue with vegetarian protein 

When people opt for a more plant based diet, it can be much more difficult to consume enough protein, as the majority of it comes from meat and animal sources. Although there are other sources of protein, they are often not 'complete' proteins, meaning the do not have the three key branched chain amino acids or BCAAs.  These BCAAs are essential, meaning that our body cannot produce them and we can only provide ourselves with the nutrients through food. 

The three BCAAs are: 

  • leucine 
  • isoleucine 
  • valine 
These BCAAs are essential for protein synthesis and muscle growth. Unfortunately, many plant based protein sources do not provide all three of these branched chain amino acids. This is why it is important to add variety to your diet. Try and get as many different high protein foods into your day as possible. 

Vegetarian protein sources

But no fear, there are plenty of vegetarian protein sources to choose from. You don't need to consume meat to hit your daily protein target. Take a look at the list below and try coming up with your own high protein vegetarian recipes: 


Eat your protein, 

Eryn