Vegetarian and vegan diet: how to make sure all the proteins you need

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Elia Tabuenca García
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20 amino acids in different combinations form the proteins useful for our organism especially to form new tissues. Even vegetarians and vegans, if they eat in a varied and balanced way, can take the right amount of these substances with their diet.

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Very often the cliché that revolves around the vegetarian or vegan diets is that you don't get the right daily amount of protein. In fact, if you follow a balanced and varied diet, this is not a real problem since many foods of plant origin provide different types of amino acids, whose chains go to form the proteins we all know.

- amino acids useful to our body are 20, of which 12 non-essential e 8 essentials. The latter are particularly important as our body is unable to synthesize them by itself but must necessarily introduce them with food.

We take them in the form of proteins but then the body breaks them down into individual amino acids and uses them in different combinations to go to form new proteins useful for the purposes that most serve him at that time (very often for the formation of tissues: muscles but also skin, hair, nails, etc.).

La RDA, or the recommended daily dose, of protein is fixed under normal conditions a 0.8 grams for each kilogram of body weight. The problem for which fatigue arises is the question that is often asked of vegetarians and especially vegans: "but where do you get your proteins from?" is that the proteins contained in animal foods are defined as "noble" as they contain all the useful amino acids in the right proportions and therefore you don't have to worry about anything. If, on the other hand, only vegetable foods are taken, it is necessary to vary a lot to obtain the right proportions of these "bricks" that go together to form proteins.

For vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy, the problem doesn't even arise. In the case of vegans, however, as the Scientific Society of Vegetarian Nutrition suggests, it is sufficient take cereals within a day (bread, pasta, rice, etc.), vegetable (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.) to have the necessary amino acids in the right quantities and proportions.



A great food combination that can easily use vegetarians and vegans to overcome the problem of the complete supply of amino acids is precisely that of combining together cereals (whole) and legumes, varying as much as possible or alternating rice with lentils, pasta and beans, bulgur and chickpeas, millet with peas, etc. The recipes and combinations that can be tasted are many and different are part of our culinary traditions of the past, they are the specialties of our grandmothers.

Both food categories should be taken regularly as i legumes are deficient in tryptophan and methionine however, they contain lysine, against cereals are deficient in lysine but rich in tryptophan and methionine. Together they are therefore a winning combination even if in reality it is not essential that the amino acids are all taken in the same meal, it is also okay to consume them throughout the day albeit at different times.



In fact, it has been seen that the organism sets aside amino acid reserves (amino acid pool) from which to draw in time of need. However, it is essential to vary the foods as much as possible so that the reserve of the various components useful for the formation of proteins can always be available.

Read also:

The 10 best plant-based sources of protein

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