Can I get enough protein eating a plant-based diet? How to fulfill the recommended daily protein intake when eating a plant based diet? Which products of the plant based diet are the most protein-rich?
1. Legumes: kidney beans, lentils, peas, soybeans
The most protein-rich products on the vegan menu are soybeans, followed by black beans and chickpeas. 100 grams of fresh soybeans contain 38 grams of protein, as well as plenty of fat – 20 out of every 100 grams. However, soybeans and soy products as such should be consumed with caution. I recommend buying 100% natural instead of genetically modified soybeans (soy along with corn are the most commonly genetically modified foods). Soybeans contain phytoestrogen – a plant-derived hormone which actually has the same effect as the female hormone, estrogen. Therefore, it is not recommended to indulge in soy products because they can potentially affect a woman’s hormone system. The same goes for soy milk – it tastes great in cocktails, desserts and coffee, but make sure you choose natural, ecological soy milk.
2. Pumpkin and chia seeds
100 grams of pumpkin seed contain 19 grams of protein. They also contain calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin A. Pumpkin seed is a great additive to salads and chowders, and also make for a tasty spread.
Chia seeds are a great protein source as well – 100 grams of chia seeds contain 17 grams of protein. And, just like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds are magnesium, iron and vitamin A-rich, and contain vitamin C. This is a great product to use in vegan pancake dough, for instance, because it is a great substitute for eggs.
3. Peanut butter
100 grams of peanut butter contain 25 grams of protein. However, you should not over-consume this product as only 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contain almost 200 calories! You may add a teaspoon of this product to your breakfast oatmeal porridge.
4. Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are extremely nutrient-rich: they contain all of the irreplaceable amino-acid, Omega 3 and 6, group B vitamins, and vitamins D and E. The product is accessible in the form of oil, protein powder, and you can also buy ground hemp seeds.
5. Almonds and walnuts
These nuts are the most protein-rich, and just like many other nuts contain a lot of the healthy fat. They are known to reduce cholesterol, and are therefore recommended to people with high blood cholesterol levels.
Almonds and walnuts naturally contain the L-arginine amino-acid, which helps to burn fat. Make sure to eat a few of them every day!
In comparison to other grains, oats are the most irreplaceable amino-acid, leucine-rich (almost as much as chick peas). Leucine is also key in the development in muscle tissue – it stimulates protein synthesis and promotes muscle growth, which is why oatmeal is recommended to all athletes.
7. Broccoli and cauliflower
Broccoli is a great vegetable – it contains many vitamins and minerals. Because broccoli contains many times more vitamins than citrus fruits, broccoli is great to eat if you’ve gotten a cold. 100 grams of broccoli contain 2,8 grams of protein, which is a lot for a vegetable. Cauliflower, on the other hand, contains even less calories than broccoli – only 25 calories and 1,9 grams of protein per every 100 grams.
8. Spinach and kale
Spinach and kale contain very few calories, but a lot of vitamin A and are relatively protein-rich: 100 grams of kale leaves even contain almost 5 grams of protein! It is difficult to eat large quantities of these greens, which is why they are recommended to add in smoothie blends to consume more nutrients.
Protein can also be consumed via plant-based protein powders:
1. Hemp protein powder
Hemp protein powder is often wrongly referred to as ground hempseed, but it’s not the same product! Hemp protein powder is free of seed peels, and contains more protein and less fiber; in addition, it dissolves well in all types of cocktails, which is why it’s recommended in athletes’ diet.
2. Sunflower seed protein powder
This product is not currently available all over the world (haven’t seen it in my country), but anyway – it is a fiber and protein-rich, low carbohydrate protein powder
3. Bean/pea protein powder
It contains a wide variety of amino-acids, and, just like any other plant-based protein powder it is quick to assimilate in the body and does not cause allergies. Also high in protein.
4. Soy protein powder
In my opinion, it is not recommended to over-indulge in this product due to the phytoestrogen (plant estrogen) present in soy. You must take into consideration that when using concentrated soy products, you consume the unnecessary elements in higher concentrations as well.