It comes as a surprise to many that protein—a fundamental ingredient necessary for any life form to survive—can be obtained from a lot of sources. Vegetables rich in proteins are often missing from our daily diets, sometimes because we do not appreciate their taste or we simply do not know about their protein-delivering capability or overall nutrition value.
If this sounds like a familiar situation, we suggest you continue reading till the very end. There is an interesting comparison between veggies and meat as the primary source of protein.
Complete List of Vegetables Rich in Protein
Here is a list of vegetables high in protein and how to consume them and meet your daily protein requirements.
1. Sprouted Beans/Peas/Lentils/Soybean Sprouts: 13.1 g/100 g of sprouted beans
The sprouted grains pack a good punch in the protein supply department and can be a very good snack between meals or as part of a meal. Just keep the beans or peas or lentils in water for a day till they swell by absorbing the water. Drain the water and tie them up in a piece of clean cloth tightly, or keep them in an airtight container.
This will lead to their sprouting. If plain sprouts are too bland, sprinkle a bit of salt, black pepper, and fresh lemon juice on them and enjoy a healthy protein diet. You can mix them with other veggies as well.
2. Lima Beans (Cooked): 6.8 g/100 g of Lima Beans
Cooked lima beans may not score very well on the taste test, but they have a good protein percentage for every 100 g of the beans that you have. Cook them in boiling water and drain off the water. Add some salt and eat as a main meal or a starter in the meal. To enhance the taste, you can saute them in oil, along with chopped tomatoes and onions.
3. Green Peas: 5.4 g/100 g
Green peas are sweet and tasty when eaten raw as well as in boiled form. They taste good and do not need any garnishing of salt or lemon juice. It also forms the main ingredient in a cottage cheese and green peas curry dish. You can mix them with rice and have it in your meal.
4. Kale: 4.3 g/100 g
Kale is a very good protein source and can be part of a quick soup or salad prepared with kale and a few other easily found ingredients. An easy recipe for a salad can be a quick dinner or a breakfast item.
5. Broccoli: 3.8 g/100 g
Broccoli is a green vegetable that many don’t approve of or like. It is usually unpopular among children. But boiling some broccoli and having it with a pinch of salt can be a healthy and tasty meal inclusion. Broccoli can also be a part of some other less healthy items like pizza toppings and burgers inclusions. But, to make it healthier, you can include it in your soups.
6. White Mushrooms: 3.6 g/100 g
Mushrooms are great in salads, soups, multi-grain bread sandwiches, and in some special dishes that have gravy. They taste good in sliced as well as the whole form and can even be consumed daily in all meals.
7. Sweet Corn: 3.3 g/100 g
Boiled or baked, sweet corn is a great mid-meal filler. It can also be added to soups or spreads over bread and had for afternoon snacks or breakfast too.
8. Artichokes: 3.3 g/100 g
Having this vegetable on the dinner menu or as an evening snack is a great idea. If you need to see how to have this the right way, check out a quick recipe at the end of this article.
9. Spinach: 3 g/100g
Spinach is a power food. It has many other nutrients as well, but the protein content is significant. It is, however, best consumed when cooked in a pressure cooker or boiled. Spinach soup and spinach salad are tasty and healthy for a number of reasons. This leafy vegetable is a low-fat and high-fiber food. It also has a number of other essential nutrients such as zinc, calcium, folate, and more.
10. Parsley: 3 g/100 g
Parsley gives you three grams of protein for every 100 g consumed. Parsley can be cooked or even consumed raw as a garnishing over many preparations. Its lively green color and nutritional content make it one of the many essential items in a vegetarian kitchen for daily consumption.
Benefits & Risks of Proteins from Plants
Having a plant-based protein diet has a number of benefits. It helps in preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and reduces mortality. Along with plant-based proteins, most veggies also have phytosterols, which are said to lower bad cholesterol. They also have vitamins such as B & C, which help strengthen our immune system to fight off diseases and ward off infections. Most of them are low in sodium and cholesterol. Plants also have fibers, which help in digestion.
The question then arises about animal products and meat as a source of protein. It has been proved that animal-based protein sources such as meat and eggs have complete proteins, which means they have all the nine essential amino acids that our body needs. On an average, an adult human being needs between 50 to 60 grams of protein daily. The consumption is usually about 70% from animal sources and the rest from plant sources.
If anyone follows a plant-based or a vegan diet, how will that person then cover their daily requirement?
The answer can be found in nuts. Tree nuts and ground nuts all contain fats and fibers, but the fats are healthy ones and may contain certain phytonutrients that may be missing in plant-based protein diets.
Having a few walnuts or almonds daily gives you a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids and calcium, and fiber. Studies suggest that people who eat nuts have an overall healthy diet. They are known to reduce heart disease and mortality rate when consumed about three times each week.
So, what we miss out from not having the complete proteins can be covered by eating a variety of veggies, fruits, lentils, nuts, and seeds on a regular basis.
Protein Content in Vegetables vs. Meat
Often a question arises, which source gives the best proteins—animals or plants?
In studies conducted in clinical settings, a set of dogs and rats were given an animal-protein-based diet for two weeks, and another set of dogs and rats were given a plant-based-protein diet in predefined proportions.
The study aimed at identifying the reasons for sports anemia or reduction in hemoglobin due to vigorous exercise in the lipid profile of these animals.
The sample sets of dogs were fed this diet for two weeks and then they were made to run for a week. A measure of the hemoglobin in those who were fed vegetable protein showed a drop, though within limits. And those who were fed animal protein did not show any significant drop in hemoglobin levels.
The study hence suggested that animal-based protein could be better at managing blood lipid levels and in turn the overall health of the sample subjects. More focus and study needs to be done on this subject before we can firmly quote any particular findings.
The main concern with eating animal-based protein is the fat that comes along with it, especially in case of red meat.On the other hand, eating chicken and various fish in moderation can be extremely healthy. They give you a good dose of proteins as well as other vital nutrients.
Some Other Vegetarian Sources of Protein
For those who like a variety in their diet, here is a list of vegetarian sources of protein:
|Nuts and Grains
|Potato with Skin
Source: Dairy Nutrition
Proteins, the most essential of the nutrients that we take in from outside sources as humans, give us the energy needed to go about our daily tasks. Whether it is from animals or plants, the protein intake should be sufficient. Anyone who is not in favor of animal products can easily get the daily required dosage from plant sources and still be fit and healthy.
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