Protein-Rich Vegetables – A “Must Add” To Your High Protein Vegetable List
Meat and low-fat curd, for example, are usually at the top of the list when it comes to a protein-focused diet. But protein is not only present in the aforementioned animal foods: Vegetables are also a great supplier of this essential nutrient. Below I have compiled the top 10 most protein-rich vegetables, which you should put on your high protein vegetable list.
Kidney beans instead of minced meat, broccoli instead of steak: High-quality protein sources are not only found in foods of animal origin, but also in plant products, and they should be on your menu more often! Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston found that increased intake of animal proteins is associated with a higher risk of early death. Excessive intake of protein-rich vegetables, in turn, increases the likelihood of getting healthy and living a long life.
Increased consumption of plant proteins reduced the risk of death of the subjects during the study period by ten percent.
In the case of cardiovascular diseases, the risk actually decreased by twelve percent.
The scientists assume that this positive effect is not only due to the quality of the proteins, but is mainly due to the overall package of plant foods and their nutrients.
Proteins of plant origin reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death, while animal proteins increase an early risk of fatality.
In order to meet the protein requirements, adults should absorb 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight as recommended through the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) in its guidelines. For the average sedentary man that would be 56 grams of protein per day and 46 for the average sedentary woman.
According to the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, strength training athletes require even up to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Proteins are important for the structure, function and metabolism of all tissues in the body as well as for the formation and maintenance of body mass.
Saturated protein, protects against a yo-yo effect and helps with weight loss: When you consume 100 grams of protein, your body already uses 24 calories from it for digestion.
Divide Your Protein Intake Throughout The Day
A protein-rich meal in the evening is ideal – such as fish with vegetables and feta. In that way, fat-burning runs smoothly and an undisturbed regeneration metabolism takes place overnight.
In addition to the protein content of a food in grams, it is also important to pay attention to its so-called “protein calories”; the percentage of kilocalories derived from proteins in the total calories.
They are an essential indicator of the quality of protein-rich vegetables.
Therefore, these are particularly vital for vegetarians and vegans, whose main source of protein intake stems from plant-based foods.
Protein-rich vegetables help to meet the daily needs of the macronutrient and provide diversity on the plate. Let me now introduce you to the top 10 most protein-rich vegetables that always end up on my plate, and should on yours, too.
Adults have a daily protein requirement of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Strength athletes should even consume up to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to meet their needs.
High Protein Vegetable List: The Top 10
Watercress is one of the leaders in terms of protein and nutrient content. It combines a total of 17 minerals and vitamins in the delicate green leaves. These include iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid and zinc as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, D, E and K.
In addition, the plant contains a variety of antioxidants that eliminate free radicals in the body and reduce the risk of cancer.
What’s more, to add to its richness of nutrients, the watercress also holds a lot of vegetable protein: in 100 grams of greenling, there are two grams of protein and 84 percent protein calories.
Here, especially the latter is impressive, which makes the watercress a noteworthy, protein-rich vegetable.
Eat your watercress raw in salads, sandwiches, smoothies or as toppings; this is the only way to preserve vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
2. Kidney Beans
Tired kidney beans bring 24 grams of protein per 100 grams and 58 percent protein calories. The vegetable is high in protein, low in fat and also provides a decent portion of fiber – a combination that satiates for a long time, prevents cravings and promotes gut health.
Theses small legumes also contain magnesium, which strengthens the nerves and keeps the muscles healthy!
Due to their great nutrient profile, kidney beans are especially suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
If you don’t tolerate legumes well, and get light bloating from it, then the right spice helps: Season the kidney beans with some cumin, fennel or anise. This way, they become easier digestible!
You can purchase kidney beans either dried (loose or packaged) or canned. They hardly differ in nutritional value and quality, so you can buy by price with a clear conscience.
You can, furthermore, find protein-rich vegetables in the forest, like mushrooms, for instance. Although they are small and wear a funny hat, they still are packed with four grams of protein per 100 grams and 56 percent protein calories.
In addition, mushrooms contain provitamin D, which the body then converts into vitamin D. This nutrient is important for the storage of calcium and phosphorus, which, on the other hand, is essential for healthy bones and the protection against osteoporosis.
The little forest dwellers are also low in calories and completely fat-free. Thus, they are the perfect choice for health-conscious folks and fitness fans!
Mushrooms play an important role in low-carb cuisine. Thanks also to their low carbohydrate content. Button mushrooms are one of the few mushrooms that one can eat raw.
However, people with a sensitive stomach and intestines should cook or sauté them a little before enjoying them.
Even Popeye, the sailor, proved as a comic book hero that spinach makes you strong. He was right because, in fact, spinach truly belongs to the vegetable with a lot of protein!
Three grams of protein per 100 grams and 50 percent protein calories make the green leaves the perfect food choice for protein fans and those who want to go on a protein-rich diet.
Spinach is also abundant in beta-carotene, vitamin C and E. It furthermore, offers manganese, magnesium and folate, as well as antioxidants, which have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. It is best to eat spinach raw in a salad, but the leaves also taste great in gratins, stews or on pizza.
5. Mustard Leaves
Yet another candidate to add to our high protein vegetable list are mustard greens. These leaves contain large amounts of vegetable proteins, as well. They provide you with three grams per 100 grams and 41 percent protein calories.
Mustard leaves belong to the family of cabbage vegetables (Brassica) and are mainly known from Asian cuisine. In addition to a portion of protein, the green contains magnesium, calcium, potassium and vitamins of the B group.
The mustard foals contained in the mustard leaves have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
Here, I want to mention that this also applies to the other relatives of the Brassica family, such as broccoli, green peppers, bok choy and Brussels sprouts.
Dive in and enjoy all these vegetable with a lot of protein. You can eat them raw, for example, in salads, but they also taste wonderful when steamed or fried with a drizzle of your favorite vegetable oil.
6. Garden Beans (Green Beans)
Crisp, green and high in protein: these are garden beans! They provide two grams of protein per 100 grams and 37 percent protein calories, as well as barely calories and fat.
This means that they are definitely on the menu of all health-conscious people who want to lose a couple of pounds.
Green beans also score with abundant minerals, especially with potassium and the trace elements magnesium, zinc, fluorine and selenium.
This vegetable contains almost all vitamins, especially the B vitamins.
Most people tolerate garden beans best when they are steamed or sautéed for 5 to 7 minutes.
A good, old acquaintance, which is filled with protein, includes the lettuce! Its delicate leaves offer one gram of protein per 100 grams and 36 percent protein calories.
It, furthermore, has a relatively high content of fiber and vitamin A for good vision and healthy skin.
Lettuce is extremely sensitive, withers quickly, and one must treat it with great care. Tip: If the cutting surface of the trunk is already brown or blackish, the lettuce has been with the dealer for too long and you should not buy it.
If you have bought a particularly beautiful specimen, it is best to eat it raw or process it into rice paper rolls or in a soup.
Vegetarians and vegans, in particular, can hardly miss soybeans as high-quality protein suppliers. The dry product of the protein-rich vegetable contains 24 grams of protein per 100 grams and 35 percent protein calories.
The amino acids contained therein are the most similar to those of chicken eggs. Soybeans are also cholesterol-free and high in fiber. They promote digestion and lower high blood pressure, as well as blood lipid levels.
However, beware: Soy contains isoflavones, phytochemicals which, depending on their amount, have cancer- and cell-protective effects in animal experiments, but also have cancer-promoting effects under certain circumstances.
One can use the protein-rich vegetables for virtually all recipes that are otherwise prepared with other dried beans.
Most vegans obtain their protein from soy products, for example. Another excellent protein supplier is wheat protein. A pound of flour contains about 60 grams of protein. You can make Seitan yourself:
Prepare a dough out of the flour and leave it in water for 20 minutes. Knead it out and then only the egg whites remain. Chickpeas, too, have a relatively high protein content of 19 grams per 100 grams in the dry product and 21 percent protein calories.
As a dry product, lentils provide 23 grams of protein per 100 grams and 34 percent protein calories. They are also low in fat and high in fiber, thus, the perfect fat burner combination that also saturates for a long time and keeps the intestines moving.
Don’t cook your lentil in bubbling, boiling water, though, as the high protein content is not compatible with the immense heat.
It is best to cook the protein-rich vegetables over medium heat. The cooking time depends on the variety – the brighter the lentils, the faster they are ready.
Whether raw or steamed: broccoli always tastes good and is also a protein-rich vegetable! The low-fat and low-calorie greenling provides four grams of protein per 100 grams and 33 percent protein calories. In addition, it contains manganese, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins C and K.
Broccoli also has an abundant amount of antioxidants and flavonoids. They attribute an anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial and heart-protecting effect. Furthermore, they help reduce high blood pressure and eliminate cancer cells in the body.
Knowledge To Take Away
Although vegetables are not very high in protein compared to some other sources, many of them contain good amounts of protein compared to their calorie content.
Plus, the foods on the above high protein vegetable list are rich in many other nutrients and have been associated with all kinds of health benefits, including the promotion of longevity!
These protein-abundant vegetables are a great way to increase the protein and nutrient content of your diet without adding extra calories or resourcing to meat and dairy products.
Or, you could simply adopt the green smoothie into your lifestyle. I wrote an article with everything there is to know about the green powerhouse; feel free to read it. Also, maybe you’ll try our favorite green smoothie recipe, too. It’s so great for your physical, mental and spiritual health. Please, enjoy:
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