Nutritionist Explains Exactly How You Can Get Complete Protein From A Vegetarian Diet

Nutritionist Explains Exactly How You Can Get Complete Protein From A Vegetarian Diet

Nutritionist Pooja Makhija says that you need not pair legumes with rice or roti for complete protein


  • Protein consumption is important for muscle growth
  • Proteins are require for healthy skin and hair
  • Protein-rich foods can help you with weight loss as well

A vegetarian diet is often misunderstood for lacking sufficient protein or foods that are sources of complete protein. Also, it is known that eating foods in certain combinations is an effective way to get sufficient protein. For instance, you need to eat beans with rice or lentils and other legumes with the rise is the only to get complete protein from them. However, this is anything but true. Nutritionist Pooja Makhija recently took to Instagram share the truth about protein, and how exactly you can get complete protein from a vegetarian diet.

Protein: How you can get complete protein from a vegetarian diet

Proteins are the building blocks of the body. You need protein for building muscles, neurons, losing weight and for healthy skin and hair. Protein are made up of about 20 different types amino acids.

Our body can make only 11 of these amino acids. The other nine kinds of amino acids must be obtained from foods rich in protein. These nine amino acids are also know as essential amino acids, informs Makhija.

Also read: Weight Loss: High Protein Diet Can Help You Burn More Fat, New Study Finds

Animal-based sources of protein like eggs and meat provide all essential amino acids. However, almost all plant-based foods lack at least one kind of essential amino acid. This is the reason why the latter were known as incomplete source of protein.

For instance, pulses lack two amino acids: methionine and cysteine. Whereas, grains like rice and wheat lack lysine. “The best to ensure that you get all of these amino acids, or complete protein, is by eating two or more of them together,” says Makhija.


Vegetarian food can also provide you with sufficient protein
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Legumes (Pulses) For Heart Health: Here Are The Different Kinds Of Legumes You Must Eat For A Healthy Heart


Thus, complimenting beans with rice was considered to be a good meal for getting complete protein. But, it is not necessary that you should eat these two foods together, in one meal. “The body actually creates a protein basket, and the amino acids from everything that you eat gets added to this basket. So, if you’ve eaten beans like rajma or black-eyed beans, or even paneer or legumes during the day, and rice by the night, all the amino acids will still be available to your body,” the Mumbai-based nutritionist informs.

You do not have to mix the legumes with rice or roti, in one meal. “I recommend that you should get protein from a variety of different food sources throughout the day. This facilitates diversity in your diet, without the worry of pairing plant-based protein and rice together.”

Vegetarian foods that are considered to be good sources of protein are legumes, lentils, milk and dairy products, nuts and seeds and soy foods to name a few.

Also read: 5 Nutritionist Recommended Superfoods Vegetarians Should Not Miss

Make sure you eat protein, preferably in every meal. Foods rich in protein are filling in nature. They can keep you full for longer and reduce your appetite and overall calorie-intake, thus aiding weight loss. Protein-rich foods can also help you have strong and healthy hair and a younger-looking skin.

(Pooja Makhija is a nutritionist, dietitian and author)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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