What's protein, what does the body use it for and how can you as a vegan make sure you get enough protein? Read this article to find out!
Protein are needed for growth and maintenance of the body's tissues. Fats and carbohydrates can be stored in the body unlike proteins. Normal protein requirements are usually stated to approximately 50 grams for an adult who weighs 70 kilograms. It's about 0.8 grams of protein per kilo for an adult. There is, however, disagreement about the amount of daily necessity. There are biologically oriented doctors who consider this figure to be too high. Children under one year need approximately 2 grams per kilogram body weight and day. Physical tension, certain diseases and mental pressure may increase the protein requirement. The right bacterial flora in the intestine is considered to reduce the protein requirement.
Excess protein is used by the body as fuel or converted into fat which becomes unnecessarily expensive. A protein surplus also provides higher susceptibility to diseases according to some doctors. There are different kinds of protein e.g. muscle protein, egg protein, plant protein etc. The difference is how they are built. All proteins are made of amino acids and there are twenty different amino acids. Each food has its special combination of amino acids. Eight of the amino acids can the human body not make itself.
These are essential for life and must be delivered daily in a certain amount and in proportion to each other and at fairly even intervals for the best use of the body. These eight are called essential amino acids and they are the following: phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Children probably also need histidine and arginine.
A high biological value food contains protein with the eight essential amino acids in the right proportions. Highest biological value is denoted by 100. Grain has 65, rice 63, soya flour 63, nuts 50, whole wheat 50, corn 46 and as comparison, meat has 68 and cow's milk and fish has 80 according to Laurell, Lööf-Johansson. Soy products have about as high protein as animal products.
A vegan's protein need
As a vegan, you must more consciously combine the plants to get enough of all the essential amino acids. A good rule is always having some kind of legumes in the meals. For healthy adults, however, this is not absolutely necessary as long as the energy requirement is met. For children, on the other hand, it is very important that the protein composition is high-grade.
In order to obtain high-quality protein from vegetables, combinations of these groups are made: legumes plus cereal products, nuts and seeds. For example: cereal + legumes = rice + beans / sesame seeds + peas.
Leaf vegetables and potatoes contain high-quality protein but in small amounts. Likewise is nutrition yeast, miso and soy sauce. Nuts and seeds, especially sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, provide a good protein supplement. According to new findings, it is enough to get all amino acids during the same day. Symptoms of protein deficiency can be fatigue, thinning, frequent infections, hair loss and fragile nails. Protein deficiency is unusual in the western world.
The sources are in Swedish:
Vegetarisk mat. 1 Grundkurs av Elsa Laurell, Margaretha Lööf-Johansson
Vegetariska kokboken. Grundkokbok av Inga-Britta Sundqvist
Vegansk näringslära på vetenskaplig grund av Björn Pettersson
This text is written by a user on iFokus (Swedish Savvity) called sighni.