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Prociva - How do vegetarians get the 11 essential amino acids?

by laura nicholas (2021-11-06)

In response to Nanocraft CBD Gummies Reviews - Do apples help headaches?

We talked about how protein is obtained in a vegetarian diet and we studied what are the alternatives to meat and fish.

A question that we usually ask ourselves who eat everything is. How do you get protein on a vegetarian diet? To answer it, the first thing we need to know is:

What are proteins?

The food we eat is processed by our body; it goes from being protein to becoming amino acids (which is what protein is made of). Twenty- two amino acids are known, fourteen of them "non-essential" and eight "essential" (this means that we can only obtain them through what we eat).

The essential amino acids are called valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, threonine, lysine, cysteine and methionine and to be able to say that we have a balanced diet all these amino acids must be present in our diet.

For this reason, we have the general belief that meat is an excellent source of protein, as it contains the eight essential amino acids, but when the option of eliminating this food from our diet is chosen, they can be obtained from other foods.

It should also be noted that there are different ways of following a vegetarian diet that are more or less strict when it comes to restricted foods:

  1. Ovolatile-vegetarian: they are those who do not eat meat but do consume eggs and dairy. This group is easier to obtain protein because eggs are rich in B vitamins, iron and other minerals, and dairy is an almost essential source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A and D. In this group we can include two more:
  • Dairy-vegetarian: they do not eat meat or eggs, but they do eat milk, therefore one of the ways in which they can obtain protein is through milk.
  • Ovo- vegetarian: only eat eggs.
  1. Vegans: people who have decided not to eat meat and what comes from animals, whether it be food or skins, among other things. In this group, obtaining proteins is more difficult, but not impossible.

How to Get Protein on a Vegetarian Diet: Alternatives to Meat

Apart from obtaining the nutrients from vegetables and greens, there are other sources from which not only protein but also nutrients are obtained. Let's see how protein is obtained in a vegetarian diet without the need for meat or fish.

  • Legumes: lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, green beans, peanuts, and soybeans. It should be noted that soy is the one with the highest protein and essential amino acid content, since 250 g of soy provide us with 30% of the recommended daily amount. Soy derivatives are also recommended, such as tofu that contains 65% of the recommended daily amount.
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, chestnuts, all kinds of nuts, etc. They have a high content of minerals that the body absorbs quickly, giving us minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium as a benefit.
  • Cereals: rice, wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, rye, spelled, corn, ... It is better to consume them whole since they have the "shell" and this is fiber.
  • Seeds: pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame and flax. They are sources of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron.
  • Egg: it is a very complete food. The most notable are the proteins that are considered of high biological value (they are the type that our body uses the most). They contain omega-3 and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and vitamins as necessary as B2 (folic acid).

Another thing we should know is that when we combine cereals with legume proteins, we can get better quality proteins. A well-known example is lentils, when we combine them with rice their quality and quantity of protein is higher than if we combined lentils with chorizo.

The Vegetarian Diet Is It as Healthy as It Looks?

People who have opted for the elimination of meat and fish and follow a vegetarian diet have benefits such as:

  • Low contribution of saturated fats from animal products, therefore the total elimination of cholesterol that we receive from animals.
  • Greater amount of fiber in the diet, even more if whole grains are consumed, which has been associated with a lower occurrence of prostate and colon cancer.
  • Helps prevent obesity.

Even so, not everything is advantageous, because if this type of diet is not carried out correctly, there is a risk of nutrient and mineral deficiencies and therefore of falling ill.

The main deficiencies that could be had in a vegetarian diet are:

  • Insufficiency of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. When not ingesting fish in the vegetarian diet, emphasis must be placed on obtaining it in another way. For example, it can be obtained from olive oil, nuts and flax (either in seeds or oil).
  • Lack of vitamin B12. This is perhaps the most difficult to obtain "naturally" since it can only be obtained from meat products and in eggs and milk but in a smaller quantity, so it would be necessary to resort to nutritional supplements (for example, take milk -and be they of animal or vegetable origin, in the case of vegans - enriched with vitamin B12 or with the addition of algae to our diet, specifically Spirulina is the one that would give us the most vitamin B12.

The most important behavioural risk factors of heart disease and stroke are unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. The effects of behavioural risk factors may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity. These “intermediate risks factors” can be measured in primary care facilities and indicate an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other complications.