PROTEIN: – More information about protein, not just relating to a vegetarian diet, can be found  here.

Proteins are essential to our life. They form parts of all cells and regulate many biochemical processes in our body. Just like fats and carbohydrates they consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules. In addition they must contain a nitrogen group and sometimes sulphur and phosphorus. Amino acids are the main components of proteins. Each protein can contain hundreds and thousands amino acid chains. Some of these amino acids are made in sufficient quantity in the body. These are termed as non essential aminoacids. Others, those that must come from the diet are essential. Where as non vegetarian diets are rich in essential amino acids that mainly come from animal sources, vegetarian diet is modified to provide the full array of aminoacids in order to maintain good health. Below are some options that provide a complete array of amino acids in a vegetarian diet. Both traditional and novel protein options are listed.

Food combinations

Individually each food provides an incomplete collection of aminoacids making them of low biological value. Combining these foods greatly increases the availability of protein in the body and increases the biological value of the amino acids.

Far Eastern cuisine

Both Tofu – bean curd – and Miso – fermented bean paste are made from Soya.

Novel proteins

The following alternatives are are great for both vegetarians and non-veggies wanting to minimise the intake of saturated fats in their diet.

 

Essential

  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

 

OTHER NUTRIENTS

Almost more than the protein advantages of animal foods lie in the presence of nutrients such as a vitamin B12, iron, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin and retinol (vitamin A)

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