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July 8, 2013

Spirulina: What You Might Just Need If You’re A Protein-Deficient Vegan

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Proteins are important building blocks for your body to function at its best. They’re necessary not only for to build and maintain muscle, but for energy production and immune function as well. However, it is exceedingly difficult to maintain adequate protein levels without eating animal protein. 

Because vegans and vegetarians are aware that protein deficiency – among other nutritional deficiencies – is a consequence of their refusal or inability to consume animal proteins, they quickly turn to protein sources, such as soy products. Unfortunately, soy is not the health food it claims to be.

Luckily, there’s spirulina. Spirulina is a simple, single-celled organism from the cyanobacteria family. Often compared to chlorella, it is believed that no other source can compare to the protein punch delivered by spirulina.

Spirulina is 65 to 71 percent complete protein.  Beef is only 22 percent, and lentils, is only 26 percent complete protein. You would only need to consume two tablespoons of spirulina as a protein substitute.

In addition to being protein-rich, other benefits of spirulina include being an excellent source of vital amino acids and minerals that are easily assimilated by your body.

You can buy organic spirulina powder that’s mostly added in whey protein shakes or vegetable juices. There are also spirulina supplements that come in a pill or tablet form. Although these options are reasonable and convenient, make sure to choose a reputable provider when you buy spirulina.

Additional Protein Powerhouses for Non-Meat Eaters

Loading up on these foods is ideal not only for their protein content, but because they provide a host of other nutritive benefits as well.

  • Pumpkin Seeds – Believe it or not, a mere ounce of pumpkin seeds have 9.35 grams of protein – two grams more than the amount of protein found in an ounce of ground beef.  Pumpkin seeds make perfect toppings for salads or snacks.

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  • Asparagus – Aside from being a rich source of protein, asparagus also contains crucial nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, glutathione, folate, and antioxidants.
  • Cauliflower –A member of the cruciferous plant family, cauliflower comes with a host of health-promoting nutrients, including beta-carotene, phytonutrients, vitamin C, and manganese. One cup of cooked cauliflower also has 2.28 grams of protein.
  • Spinach – Packed with wholesome building blocks for the body such as vitamin A, vitamin K, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach offers 5.35 grams of protein.
  • Broccoli – Another wonderful vegetable from the cruciferous plant family, broccoli has a very impressive nutritional profile. Not only is it a potent protein provider at 5.7 grams per cup, but it also has a supply of folic acid, indole-3-carbinol (which is a power antioxidant), and contains more calcium than most dairy products.
  • Mung Bean Sprouts – Beans generally contain remarkable amounts of protein. With one cup of mung beans sprouts, you can get 3.16 grams of protein.  Zinc and phytoestrogens are also present in these beans.

Juicing: The Best Way to Consume Your Vegetables

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Virtually every health authority recommends getting six to eight servings of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, very few actually get that much.

There are numerous reasons why you would want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your optimal health program, including:

  • Juicing helps you absorb all the essential nutrients from the vegetables.
  • Juicing allows you to consume a large amount of vegetables in an efficient manner.
  • You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet.
  • You can complement the taste of a bitter vegetable using another vegetable and get the benefits of both.
  • You get to consume the vegetable in its freshest and most raw state. Cooking and processing food can destroy their micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition.

Carrey Mullin is a writer who is an avid follower of Dr. Mercola.  She aims to write more articles about the benefits of spirulina for the benefit of everyone, especially vegans and vegetarians.

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3.

General Thoughts, Vegetarian Food, Vegetarian Recipes

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