Vegetable proteins: benefits, contraindications, where they are found


Proteins are macromolecules that make up the human body and are formed by long chains of different amino acids that give rise to different combinations and sequences and, consequently, to different properties.  

Le vegetable proteins they are contained in foods of plant origin: cereals, legumes, seeds, algae, fruit and vegetables. Let's find out better.

> What are plant proteins used for?

> Where they are

> Contraindications of vegetable proteins

Vegetable proteins: benefits, contraindications, where they are found



What are vegetable proteins used for

In the human body, during a day, proteins are broken down into amino acids and reassembled to form new ones: this exchange allows us to grow, heal and create defenses.

Proteins play very important roles, including enzymatic catalysis, the muscle contraction (actin and myosin), the regulation of gene expression, the management of the hormonal message (insulin), the protection against harmful agentsi (immunoglobulins, interferon, fibrin), regulation and transport (hemoglobin for the transport of oxygen, lipoproteins for the transport of lipids, transferrin for the transport of iron).


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Vegetable proteins: benefits, contraindications, where they are found


Since the body loses amino acids and is able to produce only those it needs, it is necessary to take an adequate amount of proteins to be sure that they contain the "essential" amino acids, that is, those we are unable to produce.

In this regard, the value of proteins was defined by the type of amino acids contained in them: those "with high biological value" are proteins that contain all 9 essential amino acids and derive from foods of animal origin (eggs, milk, cheeses, meat, fish).

On the other hand, proteins that lack even a single amino acid are defined as "low biological value". This second type is mainly contained in foods of plant origin including cereals, legumes, fruit and vegetables. For example, cereals lack the amino acids tryptophan and lysine, while legumes lack the amino acid methionine. 

Combining grains and legumes is a good way to complete the picture of all the essential amino acids.

La recommended daily amount of protein (RDA) is calculated based on your body weight, which must be multiplied by 0.8: the result is the grams of protein to be taken per day. (e.g. woman weighing 55kg x 0.8 = 44g of protein per day). 

A protein shortage mainly affects developing countries, and affects children due to a lack of food and a low protein intake. The main forms of deficiency are marasma and kwashiorkor. 

In general, however, there is above all an excess of proteins, the high consumption of which predisposes to: heart disease, many forms of cancer, hypertension, osteoporosis and kidney diseases and stones. 


Where are plant proteins found

Vegetable proteins are found in foods of plant origin: cereals, seitan, legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, peas), soy and derivatives (tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari shoyu), wheat muscle, dried fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts), seeds (sesame seeds, hemp seeds, Chia seeds), algae (spirulina) and in small quantities also fruit and vegetables.



An excess of protein, in addition to not being absorbed by the body, leads to an overload of work in the kidneys and liver, the organs responsible for eliminating waste.


The properties and benefits of miso, rich in vegetable proteins


Other articles on plant proteins:

> Vegetable proteins for athletes: how to integrate them
> 10 sources rich in vegetable proteins
> Foods rich in protein
> Protein excess: what are the consequences?
> Vegetable and animal proteins


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