Pro­tein sources for veg­e­tar­i­ans

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - WITH AU­THOR AND NU­TRI­TIONAL BIO­CHEMIST DR LIBBY

I’ve re­cently turned veg­e­tar­ian and ev­ery­one seems to be wor­ried that I’m not get­ting enough pro­tein. What are some good sources of veg­e­tar­ian pro­tein? Shaun.

Hi Shaun. Choos­ing a goodqual­ity veg­e­tar­ian diet (there are poor-nu­tri­tional-qual­ity veg­e­tar­ian di­ets) means the ma­jor­ity of your diet is plant­based, which is fan­tas­tic. Here are some great veg­e­tar­ian sources of pro­tein:

GOOD SOURCES OF PRO­TEIN FOR VEG­E­TAR­I­ANS:

Lentils are nu­tri­tional pow­er­houses. They are rich in pro­tein and con­tain good amounts of other nu­tri­ents. They may also help re­duce the risk of var­i­ous dis­eases.

Beans are health-pro­mot­ing, pro­tein-packed legumes that con­tain a va­ri­ety of vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and ben­e­fi­cial plant com­pounds.

Amaranth and quinoa pro­vide you with pro­tein, too. They can be pre­pared and eaten in sim­i­lar ways to tra­di­tional grains such as oats and rice.

Eggs – some veg­e­tar­i­ans still con­sume eggs, which are a great source of bi­o­log­i­cally avail­able pro­tein. No mat­ter what I eat I of­ten find my­self with re­flux and heart­burn. What’s the best way to deal with this? Thank you, Craig.

Hi Craig. Adults with re­flux or in­di­ges­tion tend to as­sume that the burn­ing sen­sa­tion they ex­pe­ri­ence with heart­burn means they are pro­duc­ing too much acid when the re­al­ity is usu­ally the op­po­site. They may not be mak­ing enough stom­ach acid and/or the pH of it is too high. To un­der­stand this, con­sider that your food is a string of cir­cles and that stom­ach acid plays a vi­tal role in break­ing the cir­cles apart.

A pH that is much higher than the ideal 1.9 can­not ef­fec­tively break the cir­cles apart, leav­ing larger, undi­gested seg­ments that can­not be fur­ther bro­ken down to con­tinue along the di­ges­tive tract. Rather than al­low­ing that food to pro­ceed down into the small in­tes­tine for the next part of its jour­ney, the body re­gur­gi­tates the food in an at­tempt to get rid of it. We then ex­pe­ri­ence the acid burn and as­sume it is too acidic when in fact it is not acidic enough to break the food down prop­erly and al­low it to pass into the small in­tes­tine.

It ‘burns’ you be­cause any­thing with an acid pH that is too acidic for the tis­sue to which is ex­posed will cre­ate a burn­ing sen­sa­tion. When the acid is con­tained in­side the stom­ach it­self, all is well, but when it es­capes out of this area, it af­fects the lin­ing of the oe­soph­a­gus, which is not de­signed to cope with such acidic con­tents. Many peo­ple with re­flux re­spond very well to the stim­u­la­tion of stom­ach acid and ex­pe­ri­ence

much fewer symp­toms as a re­sult. For oth­ers, they are eat­ing foods that they can’t cur­rently tol­er­ate and a di­etary trial omit­ting the sus­pect food/s may be war­ranted un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a health pro­fes­sional.

Stom­ach acid pro­duc­tion is stim­u­lated by the aroma of food and by chew­ing. His­tor­i­cally, we used to take much longer to pre­pare our meals and the aro­mas of the up­com­ing meal gen­er­ated by slower cook­ing pro­cesses sig­nalled to the stom­ach that food was on its way.

Chew­ing also alerts the brain to send a mes­sage to the stom­ach to let it know that food is on its way. When we in­hale our food, how­ever, this doesn’t hap­pen.

An­other way to phys­i­cally stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of stom­ach acid is by con­sum­ing ap­ple cider vine­gar. If you haven’t had this be­fore, it is ini­tially best to di­lute it and, ide­ally con­sume it five to 20 min­utes be­fore break­fast (or all of your main meals if that ap­peals).

PHOTO: 123RF

Lentils are rich in pro­tein and con­tain good amounts of other nu­tri­ents.

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