Posted: 06 Apr 2012 12:50 AM PDT
In order for vegetarians to absorb a healthy amount of protein, they must consume a variety of plant proteins to form complete amino chains. By eating vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, and whole grains, vegetarians can increase the amount of complete proteins they create by combining a number of varieties of amino acid chains.
Vegetarians must also consume more foods that contain proteins because plant proteins are generally harder to digest. While a nutritional label may suggest that pasta has 5 grams of protein per serving; you may only be able to digest 2-3 grams of that protein, which means you must complement the pasta with other sources of protein.
In addition to natural sources of protein, vegetarians should also seek the foods that are “protein-fortified”, or artificially-infused with protein.
For example, many shops or supermarkets offer a wide variety “protein-fortified” pasta and bread. We have seen pasta that contains as much as 12 grams of protein per serving.
Soy milk as such is also a good source of protein for vegetarians. Studies on isolated soy protein show that it can be absorbed nearly as well as animal proteins, yielding close to a 1:1 protein absorption ratio.
For non-vegan vegetarians, yogurt, milk, and eggs (which contain complete proteins) are all excellent sources of protein.
As a serious vegetarian you have a number of options open to you, to boost your protein intake, and you should consider taking advantage of all of them. You should diversify your food selections, drink more soy products, and eat “protein-fortified” breads and pasta.