While there is a lot of misconception regarding the lack of enough plant-based protein sources, the truth is otherwise.
With all the proper research and study, you can see there are more vegan protein sources available around than you can ever imagine.
Vegan protein sources are quite significant for people following a vegan diet- a diet solely based on plant-based food sources.
We all know that proteins help our body in building those muscles and tissues. Besides that, it supports weight loss by cutting down on our cravings and making us feel filled for longer hours.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the most famous Vegan protein sources that can help you with your daily nutritional requirement during a vegan diet.
Recommended List of Best Vegan Protein Sources
The following is a list of different groups of foods with a description of their protein content, along with a depiction of the important nutrients present in each food. The information has been retrieved from the FoodData Central – U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Legumes are a good source of proteins, fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. While most of them require cooking, canned options are available to skip cooking at home.
- Beans: the exact amount of protein varies depending on the type of beans, from 1.8g in green beans to 24g in kidney beans per 100g of the product. Beans are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.
- Lentils: containing around 9g of protein per 100g, this pulse also is rich in iron, with 18% of the daily recommended intake per 100g. Lentils also are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, and dietary fiber.
- Chickpeas: one of the most protein-dense pulses, chickpeas account for 19g per 100g. Chickpeas are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6.
- Green peas: not as dense in protein content as the other legumes (5g per 100g), green peas are particularly dense in vitamin C. They also contain fair amounts of magnesium, vitamin B6, and calcium.
2. Soy Products
Soy products are another well-known source of protein. There are a variety of soy products available for use, and some of them can be homemade.
- Tofu: prepared coagulating soy milk, tofu can be used in many ways and varying the consistency of the product; it can be a replacement for cheese. Tofu contains around 8g of proteins per 100g. It is also a good source of iron and calcium.
- Tempeh: a product of the fermentation of soybeans using a fungus (Rhizopus oligosporus), tempeh contains 19g of protein per 100g of product. It also provides calcium, iron, and magnesium.
- Edamame: consisting of boiled soybeans in their pod, edamame accounts for 11g of protein per 100g. Edamame is a good source of minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Quinoa is well-known for its protein content, with a well-rounded content of fiber, zinc, and magnesium as well. The protein content of quinoa is around 4-5g of protein per 100g of product.
Nuts are a versatile and well-rounded protein source for the vegan diet. They can be used in vegan yogurt, salads, and used as snacks as well. You can also have your nuts in the form of flour, milk, oil, or butter.
- Almonds: accounting for about 21g of protein per 100g, they also are rich in fiber, iron, and zinc.
- Peanuts: contain 25g of protein per 100g servings. Peanuts are also dense in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, and thiamine.
- Walnuts: with an amount of 15g of protein per 100g, walnuts are rich in phosphorus, zinc, manganese, iron, and vitamin E.
- Cashews: contain 18g of protein per 100g serving. Also containing fair amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.
- Pistachios: composed of 20g of protein per 100g of product. Pistachios are good sources of iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Pecans: containing 9g of protein per 100g of product, pecans are also a good source of iron, zinc, and thiamin.
- Macadamia nuts: account for 7g of protein per 100g serving. Macadamia nuts are also a good source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.
- Hazelnuts: contain an amount of 16g of protein per 100g serving. They are also a fair source of iron and calcium.
- Brazil nuts: account for 14g per 100g serving. Another good source of iron, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Seeds are another essential protein source for the vegan diet. They contain not only proteins but also several essential nutrients such as fatty acids, including Omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids.
- Chia seeds: contain 18g of protein per 100g serving. They are also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Flax seeds: account for 18g of protein per 100g serving. Another good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, and vitamin B6.
- Pumpkin seeds: a robust source of protein, having 29g per 100g serving. Also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Sunflower seeds: composed of 20g of protein per 100g serving. Excellent source of linoleic acid, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Hemp seeds: another robust source of protein, with 31g per 100g serving. Very good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, and linoleic acid.
- Poppy seeds: contain 18g of protein per 100g serving. Poppy seeds are dense in calcium, containing the daily dietary recommendations in a 100g serving (around 1440 mg).
- Sesame seeds: account for 17g of protein per 100g serving. Sesame seeds are well-known for their robust content of calcium and zinc.
- Pine nuts: composed of 13g of protein per 100g of product. Also a very good source of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
6. Whole Grains
Whole grains are a good source of protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
- Whole wheat: contains 15g of protein per 100g serving. It is also a good source of iron, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium. Some grains are fortified with vitamins as well.
- Wild rice: accounts for 14g of protein per 100g serving. Wild rice is a good source of magnesium and phosphorus.
- Amaranth: composed of 13g of protein per 100g of product. Also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus.
- Spelt: accounts for 14g of protein per 100g serving. Phosphorus and zinc are present in spelt.
- Buckwheat: contains 13g of protein per 100g serving. Good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
7. Nutritional Yeast
Often used as a cheese substitute, nutritional yeast has a texture similar to that of cheese and contains proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
Nutritional yeast contains 60g of protein per 100g serving, which makes it a robust source of protein for the vegan diet. It is also an excellent source of potassium, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B12.
8. Edible mushrooms
While there are several different types of edible mushrooms, most of them contain a fair amount of protein content. Vitamins and minerals vary depending on the specific ones, but most contain good amounts of iron, potassium, and magnesium. Protein content in mushrooms is variable, but for most of them, it is around 2-3g per 100g serving. Dried mushrooms contain more protein, as they lose their weight in water.
Edible hemp contains a considerable amount of protein per serving, along with fiber, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Commercial edible hemp does not contain the psychoactive substances found in marihuana. As we mentioned earlier, hemp seeds contain 31g of protein per 100g serving. Hemp oil is mostly fatty acids with very low protein content.
An alga or cyanobacterium, spirulina is used as a whole food or supplement. It is known for its high water content, along with proteins, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Spirulina powder contains 50g of protein per 100g serving, which makes it an excellent source of protein in the vegan diet. Spirulina is dense in potassium, riboflavin, niacin, iron, and phosphorus.
While not as protein-dense as other sources, vegetables like broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, and asparagus still contribute to overall protein intake.
- Brussels sprouts: 3.3g of protein per 100g serving.
- Broccoli: 2.8g of protein per 100g serving.
- Spinach: 2.8g of protein per 100g serving.
- Asparagus: 2.2g of protein per 100g serving.
- Avocado: 2g of protein per 100g serving.
General Considerations for Getting the Best of Your Vegan Diet
- Balancing your diet with nutrient-dense foods is a good approach to getting up to the recommended daily intake.
- Mixing different sources of protein is a good strategy to achieve your daily protein requirements.
- Being aware of food allergies is recommended since many of these foods are known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Always seek guidance from your healthcare professional.
- Being aware of several nutrients which are low or inexistent in vegetable sources, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Summing it up
In conclusion, there are many different sources of protein in the vegan world. It is a good strategy to have mixed plates containing many of these sources to achieve your daily intake of protein, as well as the essential nutrients you need for a healthy life.
It is recommended to consult your doctor and nutritionist to keep up with the recommended daily intake of every nutrient and enjoy your dieting approach.