The 10 best plant-based protein sources
Getting your daily protein from plant-based sources is not only better for your health, but also more sustainable and better for the environment.
Unfortunately, many people are still under the impression that plant proteins are not "complete" and do not contain all the amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) that our body needs.
This is actually not the case. There are many complete plant protein sources out there that not only contain all the essential amino acids, but also many other nutrients that our body needs and contribute to our health.
In this article we have listed 10 best plant-based protein sources that you should be eating.
1. Spirulina (100 grams = 60 grams of protein)
This blue-green alga is not only a great complete source of protein, but also contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids that your body needs. Spirulina has an anti-inflammatory effect and is rich in antioxidants that protect your body against harmful substances and free radicals that can cause damage to your body and contribute to many diseases.
Spirulina contains all of the essential amino acids and is one of the richest sources of protein on the planet with a protein content of about 60 to 70 percent.
Spirulina is often available as a powder that you can add to smoothies and soups to give it a good protein boost. One tablespoon of spirulina contains about 5 grams of complete plant-based protein.
2. Hemp seeds (100 grams = 33 grams of protein)
Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein and also has an excellent ratio of essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
They have all the essential and non-essential amino acids and is also a good source of minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Adding a couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds to a smoothie or a salad adds 12 grams of healthy fats and 10 grams of complete protein to your meal.
3. Chia seeds (100 grams = 16 grams of protein)
Chia seeds are a complete source of protein and good source of essential omega-3 fats. It also contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium and is a rich source of fibre that contributes to healthy bowel movements and a better absorption of nutrients.
Chia seeds have a neutral flavour and you can easily add them to your smoothie or yogurt or use them as an egg replacement in recipes.
4. Quinoa (100 grams = 14 grams of protein)
Quinoa is a complete plant-based protein source that contains all essential and non-essential amino acids. It is actually a seed, but is often referred to as a cereal because of the comparable nutritional value and its preparation.
Quinoa is a good source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, minerals and B-vitamins.
A portion of cooked quinoa has about 8 grams of protein and can be used in breakfast bowls, salads or as a substitute for rice.
5. Buckwheat (100 grams = 9 grams of protein)
Buckwheat, like quinoa, is a "pseudo cereal". It contains slightly less protein than quinoa, but it also contains all the essential amino acids and is an excellent source of good carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper, zinc.
Buckwheat is very nutritious and easily digestible. You can use buckwheat in a salad or a risotto and it is also often used as (gluten-free) flour in baking.
6. Pumpkin seeds (100 grams = 19 grams of protein)
Nuts and seeds are a good plant-based source of protein that also contain lots of healthy fats and other nutrients that contribute to good health.
When you start eating a more plant-based diet, than its a good idea to start eating more nuts and seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a good way to get some of your daily protein. They contain all the essential amino acids and are a rich source of antioxidants, iron, zinc and magnesium.
You can eat them as a snack or easily add them to muesli, (soy-) yoghurt, pastas and salads.
A few tablespoons of pumpkin seeds contain about 7 grams of complete protein.
7. Nutritional yeast (100 grams = 50 grams of protein)
Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast that is often sold as flakes or as a powder and is available in most health food stores.
It is a complete source of protein and also contains many B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6) and folic acid. Some brands have added vitamin B12, a very important vitamin for people that eat a complete plant-based diet.
Nutritional yeast has a nut-like flavour and is often used in savoury dishes and as a substitute for cheese, but contains much less fat and calories than cheese.
This allows you to easily add some extra protein to your meal without adding a lot of extra calories.
8. Soybeans (100 grams = 36 grams of proteins)
Soy is a healthy complete source of protein that's almost identical to animal protein sources and is therefore an excellent replacement for meat, dairy and other animal products.
Soy is widely eaten in Asian countries (tofu, tempeh, miso) and is often used in many plant-based foods such as soy yoghurt, soy milk, meat substitutes and other plant-based products.
9. Lentils (100 grams = 26 grams of protein)
Lentils are an excellent source of protein.
Lentils and other legumes like kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, etc. are very low in fat, free from cholesterol and a great source of fibre, B vitamins and important minerals such as iron, potassium and folic acid.
They are easy to prepare and easy to add to soups, salads, vegan chilli and curry dishes.
Beans and other legumes generally contain a bit less essential amino acids than animal products (except for yellow split peas and soy beans).
But if you also add some grains like rice and whole wheat to your diet, you can ensure that your body gets all of the essential amino acids.
For example, a lentil curry with rice or quinoa, whole wheat pita bread with hummus or a slice of whole wheat bread with some natural peanut butter.
10. Pea protein (100 grams = 80 grams of protein)
A very convenient and easy way to get enough protein in your diet is to use a plant-based protein powder or protein shake.
Our Fit Green Protein is a complete plant-based protein source that's made from yellow peas that contain all essential and non-essential amino acids.
You can drink Fit Green Protein as a protein shake mixed with water or plant-based milk or you can easily add it to smoothies or use as an ingredient in your favourite recipes.
One scoop of Fit Green Protein contains over 20 grams of high quality plant-based protein and is an excellent addition your diet to build a fit and healthy body.