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Protein And Vitamin B Rich Foods That Can Replace Meat Products During Lent

The 40-days celebration of the Lent festival has begun on 2 March and will end on 14 April. In Christianity, Lent is a religious observance of repentance and preparation for Easter. During the Lent period, people observe fasting and abstain from eating meat products like lamb, beef, chicken, deer, pork and ham.

Meats are rich in protein and vitamin B-complex (such as B6 and B12) which are essential for the body to make red blood cells and DNA and help in the development and functions of nerve and brain cells. Consuming these nutrients may help maintain good heart, brain, skin and muscle health. [1]

Though protein and vitamin B-complex are also found in fruits, vegetables and nuts, the amount is less compared to meats.

As meat is restricted during the Lent period, there are some foods that can likely replace meat products and provide proteins and B-complex vitamins up to the required levels.

Take a look at the protein and vitamin B rich foods that can replace meat products during lent.

Protein-Rich Foods

1. Kidney beans

According to a study, cooked kidney beans contain the highest of proteins (9.7 g/100 g) compared to chickpeas, white beans, green lentils and brown lentils. It is also rich in dietary fibre and thus, can help keep us fuller for longer, improve digestion, maintain sugar levels and help in weight loss. [2]

2. Almonds

One ounce of almonds contains around 6 g of proteins. This tree nut is also a good source of fibre, vitamin E and magnesium. Consuming almonds during the fasting period can have a positive effect on the body as they may help maintain glucose levels, control cholesterol levels and provide satiety, along with reducing the risk of heart diseases. [3]

3. Chickpeas

Chickpeas contain around 19 g of protein per 100 grams. This legume is considered to be one of the best sources of plant proteins and thus, a good option during fasting. Chickpeas contain bioactive compounds such as tannins, carotenoids, phytic acid and isoflavones that provide a range of health benefits, especially related to the heart and stomach. [4]

4. Edamame

Edamame is young or immature soybeans harvested before they are ripe. Cooked edamame contains around 11 g of protein per 100 g. This form of soybean provides all the essential amino acids the body requires and may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer and improve skin health. [5]

5. Buckwheat flour

Buckwheat is a pseudocereal cultivated from grain-like seeds of the buckwheat plant. Around 100 g of buckwheat flour contains 15.14 g of protein. This whole grain may help improve blood sugar levels and cut the risk of heart diseases. Buckwheat is also gluten-free and low in calories and thus, good for people with Celiac disease or gluten allergy. [6]

Other foods include guava, greek yoghurt, walnuts, prawns, milk and cheese.

Vitamin B-Rich Foods

1. Tempeh

Tempeh is a soybean product made by fermenting soybeans. Studies say that tempeh contains high amounts of vitamin B-12, around 1.8 to 41.4 ng/g, compared to other soy products due to the presence of K. pneumoniae bacteria. Tempeh is good for improving cholesterol levels, lowering inflammation and promoting good bone health. [7]

2. Spinach

Spinach comes under some of the vegetables which is a rich source of vitamin B. it contains around 0.195 mg of vitamin B6 and some amounts of vitamin B12. it could be a good vegetable option during fasting and may help boost the immune system and stabilise glucose levels.

3. Peanuts

Peanuts contain B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6 and B5. Peanuts can be a good food option to be consumed during the fasting period. It may help suppress hunger, improve heart health and provide energy. One can also opt for peanut products such as peanut butter or peanut oil during Lent fasting.

4. Eggs

Eggs can be consumed during lent fasting; it is a good source of vitamin B12 and protein as well. It is a nutritious and healthy treat and can help provide satiety, boost energy and improve immunity. You can consume eggs during breakfast along with veggies like spinach.

5. Oranges

Citrus fruits such as oranges are rich in vitamin B1 and B2. consuming oranges may help spike the energy levels and help you cope with your daily tasks well, while you are on a fast. The fruit may also help with improving the mood. You can also opt for other citrus fruits like lemons.

Other foods include beetroot, mushroom, oatmeal, banana and peaches.

To Conclude

People performing Lent fasting usually consume one full meal a day, followed by two smaller means and no snacks. Also, there is a complete fast on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during the 40 days. Consuming the aforementioned protein and vitamin B-rich food items can help prevent the risk of nutritional deficiencies and help us perform fast in a healthy way. Also, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption during the period.

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