We appreciate those who are advocates for plant-based diets and those who rave about achieving optimal energy, weight loss, and even disease prevention. However, many people who focus on plant-based diets don’t get enough protein in their diets- especially if they’re working out regularly.
Here are HFR’s recommendations of plant protein sources:
- Lentils: 17.9g Protein / Cup. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, but they are also of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. They also provide excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. What a great plant protein they are!
- Tempeh: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces. It is made from fermented whole soybeans so it is high in fiber. The tempeh fermentation process also changes the properties of the soybeans. As a result, tempeh can be much easier to digest for some individuals. Enzymes and fermentation also release and ‘pre-digest’ some of the nutrients and allow the good stuff like zinc, iron, and calcium to be more easily absorbed by your body.
- Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup. Quinoa can be eaten in the same way as a grain or ground into flour-like is so commonly done with grains, but it has much more nutritional value than other grains. In addition to being high in protein, it has anti-inflammatory nutrients, calcium, and flavonoids.
- Beans (Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto): 12-15g Protein / Cup. Not only are beans easy to incorporate into many foods, but no group has a more health-supportive mix of protein-plus-fiber than legumes. The almost magical protein-fiber combination in legumes—including black beans—explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system. Each area of systems benefit has a strong research basis.
- Seitan: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces. It is raw wheat gluten, so if you have any gluten intolerances, this is not a good option. If you tolerate gluten well, then it’s an amazing source of protein! In both quantity and quality, the protein in seitan is similar to that in beef. Sirloin steak and seitan both supply approximately 16 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving, or about 25 percent of the U.S. Reference Daily Intake. This is twice as much as an equal amount of tofu and 40% more than is supplied by two medium eggs.
- Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams. Blue-Green algae, spirulina is truly a superfood. It has 26 times the calcium of milk, is high in chlorophyll, iron, vitamins, omega-3s and binds to heavy metals in the body to detox. It is a highly bioavailable complete protein containing all essential amino acids. At 60% protein (the highest of any natural food), it’s a plant-based protein powerhouse that finds its way into daily smoothies.
- Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 Tbsp. With a perfect ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, hemp seeds are another bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads to smoothies to vegetables and rice.