Plant protein is big at the moment. Huge in fact! Many athletes, body builders, and just the general health conscious are now turning to a more plant based way of life. This way of eating just makes you feel cleaner, healthier, lighter and much more clear headed – and these are just a few of the benefits. With this plant based protein foods list you can see at a glance which foods contain the highest amounts of protein so you can work your meals around them.
Why eat a plant based diet?
As more research is done, and plant based/vegan diets become more popular you will start to see the huge benefits for yourself. If you are in training, and even if you’re not, eating a more alkaline plant based diet will have huge benefits on your health and vitality.
The anti inflammatory effects of plant foods will be something you will notice very quickly in terms of your health and fitness. You will not feel as achy after exercise and you will recover more quickly. In fact some of the world leading athletes eat plant based and get their best ever times because of it.
Iron Man champion Brendan Brazier is one of these athletes, and he has written many books on the subject making this a fact that cannot be denied. In fact, the guy is mostly a RAW VEGAN, which is obviously another level for many of us, but goes to show just what the body is capable of when given the ‘perfect fuel’.
Incorporating more plant foods into your diet:
You can easily start your journey towards a plant based lifestyle by making a few simple swaps and changes ever day. It is usually best to start slowly otherwise you will find it very hard. Also, taking your time gives you the chance to educate yourself and learn new recipe’s, tips and tricks as you go, as it is VERY IMPORTANT you know how to combine foods and get all the nutrients and amino acids you need – otherwise you may end up less healthy than before.
For more in depth reading about this subject you may want to check out my ‘Beginner’s Guide to Plant Based Eating’.
BEST PLANT BASED PROTEIN FOODS LIST:
As plant proteins go let’s start off with the power houses of the plant world. Below is a list of the highest ranking protein based plant foods and their protein value raw, per 100g. These can be easily incorporated into any meal or snack, making it easy for you to start making the change today.
Protein amounts per 100 grams:
- Soy Beans 36g
- Hemp Seeds 32g
- Pumpkin Seeds 29.8g
- Lentils 24.6g
- Kidney Beans 24.4g
- Peanuts 24.4g
- Green peas 23.8g
- Black Beans 21.6g
- Almonds 21.2g
- Pistachio Nuts 21g
- Chickpeas 20.5g
- Tempeh 20.3g
- Sunflower Seeds 19.3g
- Ground Flax (linseed) 18.3g
- Sesame Seeds 17g
- Tahini 17g
- Chia Seeds 16.5g
- Cashew Nuts 15.3g
- Walnuts 15.2g
- Hazelnuts 15g
- Quinoa 14.1g
- Sundried Tomatoes 14.1g
- Pasta 13.9g
- Pine Nuts 13.7g
- Wholewheat Bread 13.4g
- Tofu 12.7g
- Buckwheat 12.6g
- Popcorn (plain) 12g
- Millet 11g
- Pecans 9.2g
- Macadamia Nuts 7.9g
- Dried coconut 6.9g
PLANT PROTEIN POWDERS:
As well as the protein you find in food you may also want to consider a plant based protein powder to cover all bases, especially when training hard. There are quite a few on the market, but you need to be aware of proper combining as some or some, but not all, plant proteins are ‘complete proteins‘, meaning they do not have all the amino acids in all the right ratios like animal protein does. However, they do hold other great benefits over animal proteins including:-
- Lower risk of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and Alzheimers Disease.
- Less congestion in general i.e. chest and sinus.
- Lower risk of many other diseases including some cancers.
- A plant based diet is mostly cheaper.
- A plant based diet is cleaner energy and has a lower impact on the environment.
- Plant based protein does not contain cholesterol
THE BEST VEGAN PROTEIN POWDERS
There are so many plant based and vegan protein powders out there, some of the best are ‘blends’ as they are already combined correctly with other proteins for a complete amino acid profile. Make sure they are organic and have no fillers, artificial colours, flavorings or preservatives. I say all this because if it is something you will be using every day then you don’t want to be overburdening your system with anything unnatural.
Here is a list of some of the different types of plant protein powders available, their amino acid profile, and any pro’s or con’s. You can either buy them separately and mix them yourself OR, my preferred option as it’s easier, is to buy them ready mixed in a blend. These tend to go down better as they have been tried and tested for taste, have added natural flavours to make them more palatable, and often offer other added nutrients.
Mixing them up yourself!
Hemp, pumpkin, chia, pea and potato already contain a good amino acid profile and so can be taken alone. The others which aren’t as complete (and are often cheaper) you could simply mix with one of these.
However I always advise to mix things up and not take the same thing everyday because they all have a different nutrient content. For instance hemp protein is high in omega 3’s (vital fatty acids for those in training) making hemp a always a good one to use alone or in your blend. You could purchase a few and experiment to see which are palatable to you.
Some protein powders are pretty bland when they are not part of a specially formulated blend so you will probably want to add your own healthy sweetener and favours, such as raw honey, banana, xylitol, stevia, cacao powder, dates or date syrup. ( dates are my number one training food, find out more in this post ‘Dates – The Ultimate Training Food’).
Pea protein is high in branch chain amino acids and lysine but lower in methionine. It usually contain soluble fibers from the pea which helps thicken it up, but doesn’t taste great alone so will need to be mixed with some other flavours and sweeteners. BUT it’s saving grace is it is cheap, and has a good spectrum of all the amino acids.
BROWN RICE PROTEIN
This one is higher in methionine, but has less of the other amino acids such as leucine, histidene and threonine. It is however, a superior protein if you can find it organically and ethically sourced – rice protein is notorious for containing high levels of cadmium and arsenic, due to most of it coming from China. But it is fine in smaller amounts, or as part of a blend.
PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN
Pumpkin protein has complete amino acid profile and tastes better than the others, it is also rich in minerals, namely zinc, and is high in L.Arginine (great for the male libido). It is also alkaline-forming, and high in tryptophan and vitamin E. This one is the clear winner for me in terms of taste, texture and amino acid profile, but more expensive than the others.
Hemp protein contains a complete amino acid profile with the added benefits of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fiber, chlorophyll and many minerals. Also, decreases sugar cravings, regulates blood sugar and boosts the immune system. This one really is a superior protein due to its high nutrient content, and I highly recommend you use it either alone or part of a blend.
CHIA SEED PROTEIN
Chia contains a good profile of all essential amino acids with added benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, phosphorus and other minerals. Another superior protein not unlike hemp, and either of these two should be used frequently.
Potato protein is complete, contains high amounts of branch-chain amino acids, and has high bioavailability in the body (meaning that the body can easily absorb it’s protein and nutrients). It is also low in calories, so a good one to choose if you are on a calorie restricted diet.
For more on burning fat and building good muscle mass please check out this great post ‘Easy ways to cut fat and build muscle’.
Thank you for reading this post, if you have any questions about protein powder, or need help picking the right one for you then I would love to hear from you. Please leave your messages below in the comments area.