Afraid of eating chicken due to bird flu? Try these five vegetarian foods high in protein for a balanced diet

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New Delhi: We all know the fact that protein is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Research has proven that a high-protein diet can increase muscle mass and strength, boost metabolism and aid weight loss. But who says one needs to eat poultry, beef, or fish to create a delicious and fulfilling meal? Mounting evidence suggests that replacing animal proteins with plant-based proteins can benefit your health in numerous ways, including lowering the risk of death from cancer and heart disease.

So, whether you’re trying to avoid consumption of chicken and eggs due to bird flu scare or simply want to improve your diet, swapping meats in dishes for those nutrient-dense, fresh veggies could be one of the simplest and healthiest ways to improve health and well-being. And here’s a list of vegetarian foods that are packed full of protein.

Vegetarian foods high in protein

  1. Lentils: Lentils, like beans, are chock full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. One-half cup of cooked lentils contains about 1 grams of protein, which is more than the amount in a hamburger. Lentils make for an excellent replacement for meat in your diet. They are also an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
  2. Black beans: A diet rich in plant-based foods such as beans has been linked to a reduced risk of several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It can also help your body process calories more effectively. High in protein, fibre, antioxidants and other essential nutrients, black beans are another healthy vegetable swap for meat in your diet. What’s more, they are low in fat and have no cholesterol. One serving of cooked black beans (1/2 cup) can give you about 8 grams of protein.
  3. Chickpeas: Chickpeas are another legume packed full of nutrients. Apart from protein, they are high in fibre and several vitamins and minerals with a moderate amount of calories. Their health benefits range from aiding weight management to supporting blood sugar control and protecting against certain cancers. One cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 15 grams of protein.
  4. Soya beans: A complete protein, comparable in quality with animal proteins, soya beans or soybeans are high in dietary fibre and other essential nutrients like iron. They are low in fat and free of cholesterol. In fact, soy is one of the few known plant foods that have all the essential amino acids – like those found in meats. One cup of soyabeans contains about 31 grams of protein.
  5. Tofu and tempeh: Both originate from soybeans, tofu and tempeh are a complete source of protein. They also contain high amounts of several other nutrients and antioxidants that can improve health in a number of ways. They can be used in a variety of recipes such as burgers, soups, etc. Both tofu can tempeh come with about 10-19 grams of protein per 100 grams.

The bottom line is, all vegetables come with healthful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help prevent or reduce your risk of disease and promote overall health. Try to add a range of veggies daily to your diet to reap as many health benefits as possible.

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