Common Foods High In Protein
Certainly, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs are excellent dietary sources of high-quality, complete protein. Animal-based foods contain all essential amino acids.
But, even people who follow a plant-based diet can get more than enough protein from food. Beans, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, and vegetables contain protein as well.
As most plant-based foods lack of certain essential amino acids, people who follow a plant-based diet should eat a wide variety of foods.
For instance, you could combine beans, rice, and other whole-grains in order to get all essential amino acids from a meal.
Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and amaranth are the most common plant-based sources of complete protein.
Its All About The Protein Package
When we eat foods for protein, we also eat everything that comes alongside it: the different fats, fiber, sodium, and more. Its this protein package thats likely to make a difference for health.
The table below shows a sample of food packages sorted by protein content, alongside a range of components that come with it.
To call out a few examples:
- A 4-ounce broiled sirloin steak is a great source of proteinabout 33 grams worth. But it also delivers about 5 grams of saturated fat.
- A 4-ounce ham steak with 22 grams of protein has only 1.6 grams of saturated fat, but its loaded with 1,500 milligrams worth of sodium.
- 4 ounces of grilled sockeye salmon has about 30 grams of protein, naturally low in sodium, and contains just over 1 gram of saturated fat. Salmon and other fatty fish are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats, a type of fat thats especially good for the heart.
- A cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium.
What about protein powders?
What Type Of Protein Do We Need
The short answer: a range of plant-based protein sources more than does the trick.
Animal vs plant protein packages
The package your protein comes in is as important as the protein itself.
Plant proteins are lower in saturated fat and do not contain any dietary cholesterol. They are also great sources of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals, including contrary to popular opinion both iron and calcium. Animal proteins, on the other hand, are high in both saturated fat and cholesterol, not to mention antibiotics and hormones.
You just need to eat a variety of foods in order to ensure you are getting all of the essential amino acids. Over the course of a week this is a cinch.
Complete and incomplete proteins
Theres a lot of talk about complete and incomplete proteins to wade through, too. Complete proteins are those that contain all 9 essential amino acids and are often associated solely with animals products.
But There are plant-based sources of complete proteins too and, most importantly, it is absolutely not necessary to consume only complete proteins. Nor do you need to âmix and matchâ amino acids in every meal to benefit overall. The key? Simply eat a range of protein-containing foods throughout the day. See below for a whole host of examples.
Other things to consider?
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The 18 Best Protein Sources For Vegans And Vegetarians
A common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they may lack sufficient protein.
However, many experts agree that a well-planned meatless diet can provide all the nutrients you need, including protein .
That said, certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others, and new and older studies alike suggest that higher protein diets can promote muscle strength, feelings of fullness, and weight loss (
What Are Some Easy Ways To Incorporate Plant
According to Sass, when you’re eating healthfully, the bulk of your meals should be plant-based anyway: veggies, a plant-based fat, like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, or tahini and a whole grain or starchy veggie, like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato or spaghetti squash.
That means the only switch you need to make is to trade your meat for a plant alternative, which is easier than you think, she says. For many people, when they think about what to make for dinner they focus on meat first. Change that pattern by adding pulses and pea protein-based meat substitutes to your protein list, she suggests.
To get more comfortable with plant proteins, Jackie Newgent, RDN and author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook”, recommends starting off with plant protein-rich ingredients, like peanut butter or hummus, which youre already acquainted with and then taking it from there. For instance, if youre already enjoying hummus as a dip, use it as a sandwich spread or a toast topper, she says.
Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition, suggests a similar approach in this case, for smoothie lovers: Blend plant proteins, like edamame, tofu, or canned chickpeas in for a protein punch. These mix-ins pick up the flavors of the other ingredients, and so they wont taste as strong as if you were to eat them alone.
Try this recipe:High Protein Vanilla Bean Smoothie
Try this recipe: Vegan Breakfast Tacos
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Production Of Hormonal Proteins
Certain other activities in your body are coordinated by hormonal proteins. For example, insulin controls blood-sugar concentration.
Oxytocin helps females contract while giving birth. And protein is produced in your muscles by way of somatotropin a major growth hormone to help carry out all of these biological tasks.19
May Improve Symptoms Of Anemia
Eating iron-rich fava beans may help with symptoms of anemia.
Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, the protein that enables your red blood cells to carry oxygen through your body. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, characterized by fatigue, weakness, dizziness and shortness of breath .
One study in 200 young women found that those who reported an insufficient dietary intake of iron were six times more likely to have anemia compared to those with adequate intake .
Regularly eating fava beans and other iron-rich plant foods may increase blood iron levels and improve anemia symptoms .
However, fava beans contain a form of iron that is better absorbed with vitamin C from foods, such as citrus fruits or bell peppers .
Furthermore, fava beans are not recommended for people with the genetic disorder glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, as eating these beans may lead to a different type of blood issue called hemolytic anemia .
Regular consumption of fava beans may help increase blood iron levels and improve symptoms of anemia that results from inadequate iron intake.
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Packed With Healthy Nutrients
Mung beans are rich in vitamins and minerals.
One cup of boiled mung beans contains :
- Calories: 212
- Folate : 80% of the Reference Daily Intake
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin B1: 22% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
- Iron: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 16% of the RDI
- Potassium: 15% of the RDI
- Zinc: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and selenium
These beans are one of the best plant-based sources of protein. Theyre rich in essential amino acids, such as phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, arginine and more .
Essential amino acids are those that your body is unable to produce on its own.
Since mung beans are also consumed sprouted, its important to note that sprouting changes their nutritional composition. Sprouted beans contain fewer calories and more free amino acids and antioxidants than unsprouted ones .
Whats more, sprouting reduces levels of phytic acid, which is an antinutrient. Antinutrients can reduce the absorption of minerals like zinc, magnesium and calcium .
Summary Mung beans are high in important vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Sprouted mung beans contain fewer calories but have more antioxidants and amino acids.
Plant Foods Highest In Protein Per Net Carb
Adopting a plant-based diet is gaining in popularity, not just for ethical reasons, but also for environmental sustainability, and health reasons. At the same time, many people are adopting diets that limit their intake of carbohydrates, such as ‘paleo’ or ‘eco-Atkins’ diets.
Low carb diets are typically high in meats, so most do not worry about getting enough protein. However, there are still many great plant sources of protein available to those on a plant based low-carb diet, who want protein, but seek to reduce intake of carbs, and net-carbs .
The daily value for protein is 50 grams per day, but you may require more or less depending on your weight and activity level.
The high protein plant foods below are ranked by protein to net carb ratio. High protein plant foods that are low in net-carbs include soy foods, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and sprouts. For more ideas, see the complete ranking of 200 vegan foods highest in protein per net-carb.
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Plant Protein: Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast by Bragg is one of the top high-protein plant-based foods thanks to its cheesy flavor, versatility, and impressive nutrient content. Nutritional yeast contains no dairy or active yeast, and its found in a powder/flake form that creates a paste when mixed with liquid. Its great for making dairy-free sauces, dressings, and more.
Another complete protein, youll get all amino acids in a serving of nutritional yeast. Its an easy way to bump up the macronutrient in your meals when you just sprinkle it on top of a dish, just as you would regular cheese.
Nutritional Yeast Nutrition:
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast = about 12 grams of protein
How to Use Nutritional Yeast:
- Add flaked nutritional yeast to almond milk or water to create a cheesy dressing or sauce
- Sprinkle on top of salads, quinoa, lentils, beans, and more for a cheesy flavor
Is It Possible To Get Enough Protein If You Dont Eat Meat
It’s absolutely possible to meet protein and other nutrient needs without meat, says Cynthia Sass, RD, a dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition. From a young age we’re taught that our bodies need meat. In reality, our bodies need key nutrients that are found in meat, but we can obtain adequate amounts from plant-based foods, she explains.
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Impressive Health Benefits Of Fava Beans
Fava beans or broad beans are green legumes that come in pods.
They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor and are eaten by people all over the world.
Fava beans are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Theyre thought to offer impressive health effects, such as improved motor function and immunity.
Here are 10 health benefits of fava beans, backed by science.
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May Help With Parkinsons Disease Symptoms
Fava beans are rich in levodopa , a compound that your body converts to the neurotransmitter dopamine .
Parkinsons disease causes the death of dopamine-producing brain cells, leading to tremors, issues with motor function and difficulty walking. These symptoms are usually treated with medications that contain L-dopa .
Therefore, eating fava beans may help with symptoms of Parkinsons disease, though research is limited.
A small study in 11 people with Parkinsons disease found that eating 1.5 cups of fava beans after 12 hours without medication had a comparable positive effect on blood dopamine levels and motor function as L-dopa drugs .
Another study in 6 adults with Parkinsons disease showed that consuming 100200 grams about 11.75 cups of fava beans with the anti-Parkinsons medication carbidopa improved symptoms as well as traditional drug combinations .
While these results are promising, more research is needed. Keep in mind that even though fava beans are rich in L-dopa, they should not be used in place of medications.
Fava beans are rich in L-dopa, which your body converts to dopamine. Since Parkinsons disease is characterized by low dopamine levels, eating fava beans may help with symptoms. Still, more research on this topic is needed.
If You Dont Eat Meat How Do You Get Enough Protein
Its true, of course beef, chicken and other animal proteins are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fatty acids.1 But, meat isnt the only significant source of protein nature provides.
In fact, we are living in an age of protein obsession. It seems most people are protein-aholics.
Theres a chance you probably eat too much protein from meat and too little from veggies. And thats unhealthy for your heart and the environment.
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Plant Protein: Organic Tempeh Tofu And Edamame
Soy-containing foods such as tempeh, tofu, and edamame all offer a complete plant protein containing all amino acids. They are one of the strongest, most animal-like protein in terms of chemical makeup. Some research also says that soy has a high concentration of BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids, which are beneficial to athletic performance .
Oftentimes, these soy-based sources of plant protein also contain fiber and healthy fats in addition to protein. Tempeh is the most nutritious out of this bunch, as it contains naturally-occurring healthy bacteria from the fermentation process. However, be sure to read up about what you should know about soy before adding a ton of tempeh, tofu, or edamame to your diet.
1 serving of tempeh/tofu/edamame = around 20 grams of protein
How to Use Tempeh, Tofu, and Edamame:
- Use as you would beans or lentils
- Add to stir-fry meals like the Peanut Tempeh Stir Fry
- Mix into plant-based sauces, such as meat spaghetti sauce
- Use as filling for tacos, burgers, or even shaped into hot dogs
- Shopping tip: always purchase organic and sprouted tofu if available, non-GMO if available
Living a plant-based lifestyle, as we often recommend at Nutrition Stripped, is all about choosing fruits, veggies, whole grains, and the above-mentioned plant-based protein sources. Finding the foods that make you feel best and keep you full, energized, and satisfied is the key to following a healthy eating plan and still enjoying the foods you love.
Top 40 Fruits Ranked By Protein Content
How to best incorporate these into your diet
Many of these are quite nutritious and contain potent antioxidants. That being said, relying on high protein fruits alone as a primary source would not be a good idea. This is because many especially the tropical varieties have high amounts of sugar. Sure, their glycemic impact is lessened by the fiber content, but it still would be unhealthy to consume vast amounts of them at a given time. Even more so for diabetics!
Almost daily, this is our breakfast here at Superfoodly. An easy recipe of instant oatmeal + cacao powder, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and dried fruit . It only takes 5 mins to make and is jam packed with protein and antioxidants.
For that reason, you should view these as more of a supplemental protein source. They balance out nicely with nuts and seeds. Why? Because fruits have lots of sugar and almost no fat.
Meanwhile nuts and seeds are the opposite almost no sugar and high fat. Combine the highest protein nuts with the likes of dried goji and mulberries to create a nutritious dry snack mix or a boost for your morning oatmeal.
Amino acid profiles
People are often quick to point out that many types of meat are a good source of the essential aminos, including the Branched Chain Amino Acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Often times, those same people assume plant-based foods are not a good source. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Whole Grains Rich In Protein
Whole grains are another staple of a well-balanced, plant-based diet. They provide a wealth of fiber, vitamins, minerals and, you guessed it, protein.
Many grains, as mentioned before, have amino acid profiles that are quite complementary to those of vegetables. Combining the two in a meal is a delicious and nutritionally sound idea.
The table below shows a list of whole grains rich in protein. The numbers are for 100 g / 3.5 oz of raw/dry grains.
|7.50 g||6.22 g|
Of course, many processed foods are made with grains, so youll find that, whole-grain flours, pasta, and baked goods are also plant-based foods rich in protein.
Health Benefits Of Peanuts
- Co-Enzyme Q10: Protects the heart during times of low oxygen.
- Resveratrol: Bioflavonoid believed to improve blood flow in the brain and lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Niacin: Assists in recovery of cell damage, and protects against Alzheimers disease and age-related cognitive problems.
Peanuts are also a good source of calcium, iron, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, folates, copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, antioxidants and more.
Oats have gotten a bad rap over the years as a breakfast moosh fit for little orphan Oliver or old school prison inmates, but truly they are a food fit for kings. One cooked cup has a whopping 6.08 grams of protein along with being a great source of fiber. Its also helpful for stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
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Does Cooking Affect The Protein Content Of Spinach
Cooking doesnt significantly affect the protein content of spinach. On the contrary, as boiled spinach loses water during cooking, it has a slightly higher protein content, as compared to raw spinach.
Actually, boiled spinach contains almost 3 g of protein per 100g.
Therefore, you can eat spinach raw or cooked. Either way, spinach is a nutrient-dense food, which is beneficial for our health.