Top Vegan Protein Sources to Help Build Muscle
One of the most revered macronutrients is protein. Although typically associated with meat and animal products, protein is plentiful in plants. Before we highlight the top vegan protein sources to help build muscle, let's discuss a bit more about protein.
There are 20 amino acids. Our body can manufacture 11 of these amino acids and the remaining 9 amino acids are coined "Essential Amino Acids". Plant foods contain all of the essential amino acids and all plant-based foods can form complete proteins within the body once ingested.
All plant-based foods can form complete proteins
within the body once ingested.
Once food is ingested, Pepsin, the protein-digesting enzyme in the stomach, works to break the peptide bonds of the proteins and the proteins are further processed in the small intestines. The resulting amino acids are absorbed into the blood stream and ultimately are sent and stored in amino acid pools that are stored in the tissues.
Excess amino acids are converted by liver enzymes to keto acids and urea. Keto acids can be used as a source of energy, converted to glucose, or stored as fat. Urea is sent out of the body via sweat and urine.
How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle?
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that all adults should consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. That translates to about 0.37 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For optimal muscle building potential, look to up your protein intake to 0.6 grams to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
These numbers may seem surprisingly low to many, however, many studies have consistently failed to find any benefits from consuming over 0.82 grams per pound of body weight and have concluded that 0.82 grams per pound is the upper limit at which protein intake benefits body composition (Phillips & Van Loon, 2011).
Plant-Based Protein Sources
Tofu is a versatile food that may be considered plain if served directly from its cold watery container, however, the texture and flavor of tofu can be altered through some good cooking.
Half a block of firm tofu is about 18g of protein and over 20% of your daily recommended calcium.
Everyone knows beans are a great source of protein. Below is a chart that outlines some of the top protein-rich beans
Hummus (a chickpea mash essentially) has sparked a lot of other new fun products like edamame hummus, black bean hummus, etc. Keep an eye out on your next grocery spree.