Five Surprising Vegan Sources of Protein

Sami Bloom

Clinical Nutritionist

Protein is an important macronutrient found within every cell in the body. When we consume it in food, it is utilised by our bodies to repair and rebuild the tissues of our muscles, skin and organs. Yet despite the popular idea that “we always need more protein”, protein is actually very misunderstood. Unfortunately, society has been conditioned to view plant protein as inferior to meat protein. Further, many believe more is a case of better when it comes to protein intake. These notions couldn’t be further from the truth.

Firstly, plant proteins are easier and more efficiently digested than animal-derived sources. What’s more, plants do indeed contain all essential amino acids and are therefore themselves “complete proteins” and do not require specific combinations to be adequate. Secondly, whilst plants are naturally rich in fibre, minerals and antioxidants to keep the digestive system healthy, gut flora happy, and our cells performing optimally, animal protein has absolutely zero fibre and less of these micronutrients. It is therefore less of a “package deal”. Lastly, when we consume protein in excess, particularly from animal-sources, it goes to waste, as we can only utilise a certain amount at a time. This means it can be stored as fat causing weight gain, as well as placing undue stress on our liver and kidneys to excrete it, and increasing our bodies acidity as it tries to break down more than it can handle (cue bad breath and “meat sweats”). Not a pretty picture!

image via pinterest

With all this in mind, you must be eager to find out which plant-based foods are good sources of protein? By now most of us know that tempeh and tofu can often be equal in protein content to chicken or beef, and that pea, rice or hemp protein powders can have just as much protein as dairy-based options. So let’s look at the lesser known sources that are provided for us, as nature intended them…

Broccoli

4.5g protein per cup

Greens as a category are the most valuable sources of nutrition, brimming with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Just think of all the leafy greens the mighty gorilla’s eat and you will see that muscle mass can certainly be built by plants! Protein requirements can easily be contributed to by a few servings a day of kale, broccoli and other greens. Power-up all your meals with both raw and cooked greens in everything from smoothies to mains!

Nutritional Yeast

4.5g protein in 1 tbsp

Nutritional yeast is the deactivated form of a strain of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is wonderful for our microbiome. It is grown on molasses before being washed, dried and processed into the nutritious yellow stuff we sprinkle on our meals! Rich in fibre and B vitamins, it is also extremely high in protein making it a wonderful hair, fat-metabolism, brain function and energy support. Scatter it on top of a salad or pasta dish, or whisk together to make a creamy, cheese-like dressing.

Lentils

18g of protein per cup

Legumes such as lentils and beans are truly the most underrated food. They are exceptionally rich in fibre, which helps control blood sugar and appetite, as well as being full of protein. Whilst lentils are a little ahead of the pack, most beans contain around 12-15g protein per cup, and all provide the added benefits of iron, calcium and magnesium. Add them to your next salad, stir-fry, curry, casserole or soup as the star of the show!

Spirulina

4.5g protein in 1 tbsp

With around 58g protein per 100g, Spirulina contains close to 60% protein by weight and all the essential amino acids your body needs! Spirulina is a blue-green algae that’s found in pristine fresh water such as lakes and rivers and offers a host of benefits, aside from protein, for our bodies to thrive. Note, quality is very important when choosing a spirulina, so be sure to look into where it is harvested from. Enjoy 1-2 tsp in a green smoothie with a little fruit to soften the taste.

Hemp Seeds

5g protein in 1 tbsp

Hemp seeds are definitely the latest plant-based hero, being the most protein-rich seed whilst also containing beautifying omega-3, antioxidants, and a variety of minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Try them sprinkled on a salad or smoothie bowl, or blend together in dips such as hummus!

 

Follow Sami Bloom: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Want more advice for living a fabulous life? Follow us on Instagram or join the Rescu community by tagging #liveyourfabuslouslife in IG posts.

 

Catch our daily and monthly horoscopes here.

Like what you read? Subscribe to our free newsletter for exclusive content and special offers

Related






Get your dose of fabulous delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for Rescu's newsletter to get updates on top stories, horoscopes, trending videos, and inspirational content.

SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Get fashion, beauty, finance, health and love advice from our experts.

Rescu is an online fashion, beauty and premium lifestyle site. Whether you are looking for fashion, beauty, finance, health and love advice you will find a wealth of information from our resident experts. We publish new content daily so don’t be left behind. Log on daily for the latest fashion, beauty and celebrity news as it happens. Subscribe to our newsletter and enter our contests to win fantastic freebies.