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Vegan and Vegetarian Sources of Protein

Vegan and Vegetarian Sources of Protein
Protein seems to be all the rage these days. It’s making an appearance in sports drinks, breakfast cereals, ice cream, bread, pasta, and of course energy bars and yogurt. The latest diet trends seem to revolve around protein. Many people interpret this as an invitation to load up on meat, but there are also plenty of protein sources available for vegetarian and vegan diets.

Before we dive in to protein-rich foods, let’s take a look at what protein is and what it does for our bodies. Protein is made from chains of amino acids. Some amino acids can be made by the body and some, “essential” amino acids, need to be eaten since the body cannot make them. These essential amino acids have important functions in the body such as muscle production, tissue repair, bone development and production of certain substances in the body such as dopamine, niacin, and serotonin. Protein is important for maintaining muscle mass, for keeping the immune system healthy and for energy.

It is true that animal products are high quality protein sources, however, there are plant-based foods that are also protein-rich and contain all or almost all of the essential amino acids the body needs.

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