Plant protein is big at the moment, huge in fact – and for good reason. Many athletes, body builders, and just the general health conscious are now turning to a more plant based way of life to help them feel cleaner, healthier, and lighter – and these are just a few of the short term benefits reported; the long term is looking even better.
This plant based protein foods list will show you at a glance the foods that contain the highest amounts of protein so you can work your meals around them, and incorporate them easily into your life.
Why eat a plant based diet?
As more research is done and plant based/vegan diets become more popular we start to see a bigger picture emerging of the HUGE benefits this diet can have on your health and longevity. Whether you’re in training or not, eating a more alkaline plant based diet will have many benefits on your general health and vitality.
The anti inflammatory effects of plant foods will be something you’ll notice very quickly, especially in terms of your health and fitness levels. You will notice that you don’t feel so achy after exercise and you will recover more quickly than before, which is due to less inflammation. In fact some of the worlds leading athletes eat a plant based diet and get their best ever times and higher endurance because of it.
Iron Man champion Brendan Brazier is one of these athletes and has written many books on the subject, making this a fact that just cannot be argued with. Actually, this guy is mostly a RAW VEGAN, which is obviously another level for mot of us but goes to show just what the body is capable of when given the ‘perfect fuel’. His book ‘The Thrive Diet’ is definitely worth a read and is the book that not only helped me to understand my body and its issues, but also set me on my own plant based journey.
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 every day. It’s usually best to start slowly because it can be hard to make too many changes in one go (though certain people thrive on it).
Anyway, taking your time gives you the chance to educate yourself and learn new recipe’s, tips and tricks as you go. It is VERY IMPORTANT you know how to combine foods to get all the nutrients and amino acids you need – otherwise you may end up less healthy than before, and we don’t want that!
If your’e a beginner and need more in depth reading on this subject you may want to check out this which will help make it easier for you to make this transformation awesome beginner’s guide to plant based eating which will help make it easier for you to make this transformation.
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 to a healthier lifestyle as soon as possible.
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:
It is very important to understand the importance of getting the right proteins/amino acids into your diet when you decide to go vegan or plant based. If you go straight into it unarmed with the right information you could potentially run into problems through not getting all the nutrients your body requires.
This is especially true if you are an athlete or in any kind of training or exercise regime when your body’s nutrient requirements will be higher. Always be sure to eat good amounts of the foods on the above list with every meal.
As a guide most people need between 1 and 2 grams of protein per KG of body weight, depending on their lifestyle. You may very well need a protein supplement to meet these requirements and there are some fantastic plant protein formulations available now. Sometimes it’s good to go for a ‘blend’ of different plant proteins as this will ensure a well rounded amino acid profile.
You should also be aware of proper food combining as some (but not all) plant proteins do not have the complete amino acid profile like animal sources do. However, they do hold much greater benefits in other respects such as:-
- Lower risk of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and alzheimer’s Disease.
- Less congestion in general, i.e. chest and sinus.
- Lower risk of many 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 PLANT BASED PROTEIN POWDERS:
It really is best to try to buy organic protein powders that have no fillers, artificial colours, flavorings or preservatives. This is especially important if they are something you will be using a lot, simply because you don’t want to be overburdening your system with anything unnatural on a daily basis.
Pre-blended protein powders:-
The below list is 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.
In my opinion, blends tend to go down better as they have been tried and tested for taste, have added natural flavours to make them more palatable, and usually offer other added nutrients and enzymes.
Mixing them up yourself:-
Hemp, pumpkin, chia, pea, and potato protein powders already contain a good amino acid profile and so can be taken alone.
However, because they all have a different nutrient content it is advisable to mix things up and not take the same thing all the time. For instance, hemp protein is high in omega 3’s (fatty acids vital for those in training) making it a good one to use alone or in your blend. You could always purchase a few different powders and experiment to see which you prefer.
Some protein powders are pretty bland when they are not part of a specially formulated blend, therefore you may want to add your own healthy sweetener and favours, such as raw honey, banana, xylitol, stevia, cacao powder, dates, or date syrup (dates also happen to be the number one training food and will give you a long lasting energy burn – find out more about these awesome nutritious fruits that really help to power your workouts here).
1. PEA PROTEIN
Pea protein is high in branch chain amino acids and lysine but lower in methionine. It usually contains soluble fibers from the pea which helps thicken it up, but doesn’t taste great alone; this one may need to be mixed with some other flavours and sweeteners. It’s saving grace is it’s cheap, and also has a good spectrum of all the amino acids.
2. 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.
3. PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN
Pumpkin protein has a ‘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 very alkaline-forming, and high in tryptophan and vitamin E. Out of the single powders this one is the clear winner for me in terms of taste, texture and amino acid profile – but more expensive than the others.
4. HEMP PROTEIN
Hemp protein powder has a great amino acid profile, but can be more expensive than some of the others. It is also high in omega 3 fatty acids which are vital for those in training to help fight inflammation. It’s a great one to mix into other powders such as pea, or to use on rotation.
5. CHIA SEED PROTEIN
Chia contains a good profile of ALL the essential amino acids, with the added benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, phosphorus, and other minerals. Another superior protein not unlike hemp and either of these two can be used daily.
6. POTATO PROTEIN
Potato protein is a ‘complete protein’ and contains high amounts of branch-chain amino acids, and has high bio-availability (which means that the body can easily absorb it’s protein and nutrients). It’s also low in calories, so a good one to choose if you are on a calorie restricted diet.
7. QUINOA PROTEIN
Quinoa contains a lot more protein than all of the other common grains, and is in fact up to 50% higher in comparison. However, this superfood is actually a seed which probably explains why it packs such a protein punch.
The other reasons to choose quinoa protein over the others is the fact that it is a superior protein containing the most ‘complete’ amino acid profile of ANY other plant based protein. Plus it is rich in omega 3 fatty acid’s which are great for everybody, and especially good for those in training, or just all exercisers in general.
Omega 3’s lower inflammation in the body. which is exactly what you need after a hard workout to stop muscle aches, tiredness, and also to recover faster. If you don’t take quinoa protein powder as a supplement then you can very easily add it to your diet in a variety of ways; it is so versatile and can be added to any meal both sweet or savoury.
You can find more inspiration and ways to use this super seed in my post Quinoa Health Benefits.
8. SUNFLOWER PROTEIN
Sunflower protein is another pretty new one to the market, and the plus side is it’s a pretty inexpensive one to buy. Sunflower seeds also contain lots of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help mop up all those free radicals caused by exercising; thus slowing the aging process and aiding recovery at the same time.
For best results this one is ideal to be blended with other complete proteins such as hemp or quinoa.
How To Find A Powder To Suit You Specifically:-
This part is the most IMPORTANT part of all as there are so many to choose from, and to save time and expense you should have some basic idea of what will work for you taking into consideration your dietary needs, training needs, and also whether you are looking to cut fat, lose weight in general, or bulk out.
ALL of these are a factor in which protein powder you choose. To work out what’s best for you please check out my guide ‘The best protein powders of 2018‘, and you will find an easy list of factors you need to take into consideration when deciding.
This video below will explain more fully why plant based protein’s are better than animal in terms of long term health, and why you should test them for yourself to see hat they can do for you.
Thank you for reading this article, 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 and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to leave your messages below in the comments area and I will always respond within 24 hours.