10 Vegan protein sources
When most people hear the word protein, they think of food like beef, turkey and salmon, but animal products are by no means the only source of protein that you can include in your diet. There are many types of plant foods that contain amazing levels of protein and some have even higher levels of protein than beef or other animal products and fish. Protein does a lot more than just build muscles, it is also used in the body as a source of energy, it strengthens bones, and it helps to maintain a healthy immune system. If you do follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you will need to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure that you get all the different types of amino acids that you need, but here are ten specific types of foods that will provide you with a surprisingly high amount of protein.
Spinach is great in salads, cooked as a vegetable or added to smoothies, and eating spinach will give you 2.9g of protein for every 100g that you consume. That’s not the only benefit of eating spinach; spinach also contains a huge range of vitamins and minerals that your body will benefit from too.
Lentils are one of the best and most popular vegan protein sources and they contain 9g of protein for every 100g of boiled lentils that you eat. Lentils can be eaten on their own as a side, or they can be mixed in with other vegetables to provide some extra protein and fibre. They also contain high levels of iron, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
Almonds are up there in the list of amazing vegan protein sources too, and they contain 21g per 100g of protein. They also contain loads of fibre and important minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper and magnesium, as well as vitamin E. Almonds can be used in baking, chopped and sprinkled over vegetables, salads and they make the perfect on-the-go snack too.
Often thought of as a grain, quinoa can be eaten as a substitute for rice, added to soups or used in salads, and it is another one of fantastic vegan protein sources too. Just 100 grams of quinoa will provide you with 4,4 grams of protein and it is also rich in lysine, which is an amino acid that is used in the body to help with the growth of new tissue.
Spirulina contains incredibly high levels of protein (57g of protein on 100g of product), as well as vitamins A, C, E, K, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other minerals. If you were to add just a single teaspoon of spirulina to your daily smoothie, you would be getting 4 grams of protein and 80% of your daily recommended amount of iron. The blue-green algae may not taste that great on its own and the thought of eating algae may not appeal to you, but add it to a smoothie and you won’t even notice it’s there.
6. Hemp seeds
When you eat hemp seeds you will get 10,3 grams of protein in every ounce. It is also a good source of iron, zinc and magnesium, which will balance your mood, and it contains omega-6 fatty acids that help to lower the cholesterol in the blood. You can use hemp seed to make flour for baking, add it to your breakfast cereal, or mix up in smoothies. Nearly all the calories that hemp seed contains come from the protein, and it’s very high in fibre too.
Broccoli is another one of amazing vegan protein sources; it actually contains more protein per calorie than beef does, and it is also packed with other nutritional goodies. Broccoli is one of the best vegetables that have been linked to fighting cancer and it contains loads of fibre, amino acids and Vitamin B6. Broccoli is so versatile: you can cook it as a vegetable, add it to stir fries or eat it raw in salads.
Soybeans are the only plant food that contains all of the essential nine amino acids that the body cannot make by itself, which is why it is popular as a vegetarian, meat alternative. The amount of protein that you get with soy products depends on the type of the food, but in the textured vegetable, meat alternatives, it amounts to around 17 grams of protein per 100 grams.
9. Peanut butter
You need to be a little bit careful with peanut butter, because it does contain quite a lot of fat, so too much of it, and you will start to put on weight. It is, however, a really tasty source of protein as well as fibre, Vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium. Eat with whole grain bread, or spread it on slices of apple, or on celery sticks, and you will be getting 25g of protein for every 100g of peanut butter you eat.
10. Sunflower seeds
To complete our list of vegan protein sources, here come sunflower seeds, which are gaining a reputation as a super food and they provide a great way to top up your protein. At 21g per 100g of protein they make a superb high protein snack. They will also help to reduce your cholesterol levels and improve your mood.
Do you know other vegan protein sources?
Stay happy and healthy!