Plant Based Protein Foods


Plant-based diets have grown more popular in many nations, including the United States, for various reasons. People are yearning for high-quality plant-based protein sources, whether for ethical or health reasons.

A healthy and balanced diet requires high-quality protein items, and it’s a frequent misconception that individuals who eat a plant-based diet can’t get enough protein. “Higher consumption of a plant-based diet index high in healthy plant foods is related with considerably decreased coronary heart disease risk,” according to new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which looked at over 200,000 participants over 25 years.

Let me help you distinguish reality from fiction and share with you some of the greatest plant-based protein meals to concentrate on whether you’re a vegan or vegetarian trying to increase your protein consumption or simply wondering how to get enough protein on a primarily meat-free eating plan.

15 Plant-Based Protein Foods to Try

What plants have a lot of protein? The following are some of the greatest plant-based proteins to ingest daily:

1. Natto

Natto is a fermented soybean that is widely eaten in Japan. With 31 grams of protein per cup, it’s easy to understand why it came in first on my list. But, of course, it’s a full protein, too.

While I don’t suggest most soy products to my readers (because of the high frequency of GMO alternatives and phytoestrogen issues), natto is a fermented soy product that I believe is worth the hype.

The smell and texture of natto typically put people off, but I appreciate the flavor and don’t mind eating it as a side dish because of all the health advantages it delivers.

2. Spirulina

Although this algal superfood seems strange, it has some incredible health advantages, including heavy metal detox, HIV/AIDS healing, and cancer prevention.

Spirulina, although not a complete protein on its own, provides a massive 39 grams of protein per serving (which is why it’s a tasty addition to a morning green smoothie). Simply combine it with whole-grain or nuts to make up for its lack of methionine and cysteine.

Spirulina also has the greatest glutamine content of any plant food. Glutamine is a conditionally necessary amino acid, meaning that the body can produce it but is used in such high quantities that it must be obtained via diet.

3. Tempeh

Tempeh, an Indonesian soybean, is another one of the world’s top plant-based protein sources. This probiotic-rich bean, like natto, is fermented to alleviate the problems that soy might cause.

One serving contains 18 grams of protein. Some people boil it and eat it with soy sauce or coconut aminos, but it may be used in nearly any cuisine since it absorbs tastes from its surroundings. To begin, use it in chilis, salads, and stews.

4. Yeast

Don’t be fooled by the name: this yeast isn’t the same as the yeast used to make bread. Nutritional yeast has a low protein content (approximately 9 grams per serving), but unlike practically any other plant food, it frequently contains fortified vitamin B12.

Nutritional yeast should be used as a condiment, a component in cheesy foods, or as a smoothie ingredient.

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds include 12 grams of protein per cup. In addition, pumpkin seeds are abundant in healthful fats, magnesium, lysine, and zinc and are another complete protein source (the latter two of which are often limited on plant-based diets).

However, if you’re counting calories (which I don’t frequently think is important), keep in mind that a cup of pumpkin seeds includes 264 calories.

6. Hemp Seeds 

Hemp seeds provide 9 grams of protein per serving and a full amino acid composition. In addition, they contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is likely one of the reasons they offer so many health advantages, such as lowering inflammation and aiding in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

7. Amaranth

Amaranth grains are a gluten-free “ancient grain” that the Aztecs initially farmed. They are a great source of nourishment. Amaranth is a complete protein, including 9 grams per serving, as well as more than 100% of your daily manganese need.

8. Quinoa

Quinoa is another one of those amazing “ancient grains,” even though it’s technically not a grain at all, but rather a “pseudocereal,” a seed used in the same way as barley. Each serving contains 8 grams of protein.

9. Black Beans

Despite the absence of hydroxyproline, black beans deliver 15 grams of protein per meal. They also include a lot of lysine and leucine, two amino acids that are hard to come by in vegan diets.

The main of three branched-chain amino acids, leucine, is particularly important for weight loss and metabolic control.

10. Green Peas

Your mother was correct when she advised you to eat your peas. Green peas include 9 grams of protein per serving with high levels of leucine, lysine, and glutamine.

They’re also a high-fiber meal that may assist you to avoid becoming obese or diabetic.

11. Lentils

Lentils, often known as “edible pulses,” belong to the legume family and have a high nutritional profile, comprising 18 grams of protein.

Although lentils include all 20 amino acids, the levels of cysteine and methionine are insignificant, so if you’re monitoring your protein macros, add almonds or another healthy nut to balance things out.

12. Chickpeas 

Chickpeas are flexible, delicious, and high in protein, with roughly 15 grams per cup. They also include a lot of fiber, iron, zinc, phosphorus, B vitamins, and other nutrients.

13. Ezekiel Bread

The winning combination of nutritious grains, nuts, and seeds is used to make this ancient, sprouted bread. Each slice contains around 5 grams of protein and fiber, and minerals.

Ezekiel bread is simpler to digest than refined loaves since it is produced with sprouted ingredients.

14. Buckwheat 

Despite its wheat-like name, Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain that provides a good source of protein. It’s low in calories, has around 6 grams of protein per cup, and is high in vitamin K, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, choline, betaine, calcium, and potassium, among other nutrients.

15. Millet 

This ancient whole grain has long been eaten in Africa and portions of Asia. Millet is gluten-free, rich in fiber, and low on the glycemic index; thus, it maintains blood sugar levels.

About 6 grams of protein and folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron are included in each one-cup meal.

Plant Protein Supplements: The Top 3

Although the most common protein supplements, such as whey protein and bone broth, are sourced from animals, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the advantages of a protein supplement.

Several forms of protein powders enter the list of the top vegan protein sources since they are incredibly handy and supply needed amino acids. In general, it’s a good idea to mix up your protein powders so that you can get the benefits of the varied nutrients included in each.

Many experts say hemp, pea, and brown rice protein powders are the finest plant-based protein powders.

  • Hemp protein powder is manufactured from hemp seeds and contains a lot of fiber in addition to the other nutrients. It’s linked to a lower incidence of osteoporosis, a cleaner colon, and improved immunological function.
  • Pea protein isn’t exactly a “complete” protein source, but it still has a lot of advantages, like providing your daily vitamin D need in just one meal. It may also help you control your blood sugar, lower your risk of renal disease, and lose weight.
  • Brown rice protein powder may help with liver function, glucose control, and cholesterol management.

Animal vs. Plant Protein

Protein, which is made up of amino acids, is the basic building block of life. Our bodies use it in almost every internal operation.

Is it true that plant-based protein is healthier than animal protein? Both types of protein have advantages. Vegan protein, for example, is long-lasting and frequently low in calories but rich in fiber, while animal foods are higher in important amino acids.

Humans more readily digest animal protein than plant protein since its genetic composition is more comparable to ours. Protein that your body can metabolize may be found in fish, eggs, raw dairy, and any meat.

On the other hand, plant-based protein is more difficult for the human body to digest. Plant-based protein sources are also less likely to have a “complete” amino acid profile, which means they include all 20 essential amino acids, as well as the nine “essential” amino acids (10 for children).

Because plant protein is found in lesser amounts than animal protein, adopting a plant-based diet requires forethought. However, it is certainly feasible to get all of the nutrients you need from plant foods if you carefully arrange your meals.

The greatest way to figure out what’s best for your body is to pay attention to your own personal biofeedback.

People interested in bodybuilding or gaining a lot of muscle mass, for example, may have a tougher time going fully plant-based. Still, they can generally accomplish their objectives with the correct preparation and effort.


1. Assists in the prevention of cardiovascular disease

The most well-researched advantage of a plant-based protein diet is its ability to protect against common cardiac issues. In addition, vegetarians, providing their diets are minimal in added sugar and processed foods, seem to have lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower incidences of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than non-vegetarians.

Coronary artery disease, a precursor to coronary heart disease, has been linked to plant-based diets. If you do want to consume animal foods in addition to plant-based proteins, concentrate on unprocessed choices, according to the researchers.

In another cardiovascular concern, a 26-year research found that substituting red meat with alternative dietary protein sources like nuts and dairy might considerably lower the incidence of stroke.

A low-carbohydrate plant-based diet seems to minimize the risk of heart disease in general.

2. It may help with diabetes

In comparison to pharmacological approaches, vegetarian/vegan diet programs are currently regarded to be cost-effective medical therapies for diabetic symptoms with low risk. In addition, because of their low calorie and fat content, as well as high fiber content, plant-based protein meals may help decrease your risk of diabetes and other linked variables, including BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

The kind of protein a diabetic eats (together with the type of carbs and lipids) seems to have a function in type II diabetes management. It seems that consuming a plant-based diet reduces insulin resistance and promotes a healthier body weight.

A high-protein diet has been shown to lower liver fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation in general. However, shorter-term studies haven’t always found a difference in diabetes between animal and plant-based protein, especially when considering organic, grass-fed meats rather than processed meat. Still, when combined with the benefits of a plant-based diet, plant-based protein consumption can certainly help manage the disease.

3. Aids in the prevention of kidney disease

While the study is still in its infancy, there is some indication that a diet high in plant proteins may help with renal disease.

FGF-23, a protein that grows exponentially as chronic kidney disease advances, seems to be reduced when at least some animal protein is replaced with plant protein. Unfortunately, this substitution also boosts bicarbonate levels, which are normally raised by supplementation in contemporary medicine.

One research focused on a mainly plant-based diet since some patients were hesitant to switch to a totally vegan lifestyle. However, it was discovered that 70 percent of plant protein was palatable for participants while also helping to reduce illness severity.

In addition to the benefits of plant-based protein on diabetes, some study has revealed that increasing the ratio of plant-to-animal protein sources may help individuals with diabetic kidney damage.

4. Assists in the reduction of inflammation and the maintenance of a healthy internal pH

Plant-based meals rich in protein seem to help decrease inflammation by inhibiting the overproduction of inflammatory cytokines, which are internal proteins secreted by your cells that are part of your immune response.

An alkaline diet also necessitates the consumption of largely plant-based proteins. As a result, you may balance your body’s internal pH by avoiding more acidic meals and concentrating on fresh fruits, veggies, and other proteins, and reap the advantages of better digestion, weight reduction, cancer prevention, and a lower risk of heart disease.

Plant-based eating regimens may be linked to a decreased risk of mortality, cancer, renal illness, bone difficulties, and liver disease because they reduce inflammation and balance internal pH.

5. It may help you lose weight

High-protein diets have long been recognized to help individuals lose weight, and this is true for both omnivores and plant-based protein eaters.

However, vegetarians have a lower BMI, lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower heart disease mortality rates, lower stroke risk, and fewer type II diabetes and cancer cases than meat-eaters in general.

Why? It seems that the health-conscious attitude of vegetarians, vegans, and those who consume plant-based meals largely has something to do with this lower weight association.

Results from several research imply that plant-based diets may improve weight status owing to general limits in calorie and fat consumption, according to a systematic review published in 2020.

In a separate randomized control experiment published in JAMA Network Open in 2020, researchers discovered that a plant-based diet increases after-meal calorie-burning leads to weight reduction and lowers cardio-metabolic risk factors in overweight people.

6. Longevity may be enhanced

A high intake of plant-based proteins may add to the lifespan, according to a 2019 research. Animal proteins (mainly red or processed meats) were shown to be linked with a decreased overall mortality risk, as well as a lower cancer-related and cardiovascular disease-related mortality risk, according to the research.

What plant-based protein is best for supporting healthy aging? Protein sources like 100 percent whole grains, flax, and chia seeds supply not just protein but also fiber, healthy fats, and critical minerals, so they should be at the top of your list.

7. Has a beneficial effect on intestinal health

According to several studies, vegan diets have also been shown to improve people’s microbiomes by increasing the variety of bacteria species, which has advantages for immunity and even cognitive function owing to the “gut-brain link,” according to several studies.

Side Effects and Risks

“Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, as well as for athletes,” according to the American Diabetic Association, assuming that enough protein, omega-3s, iron, and B vitamins are consumed.

However, certain vegan proteins are superior to others. For example, tofu, soy milk, soy protein powders, and edamame are common sources of protein for meat-free people.

Unfortunately, soy-rich foods are often genetically engineered, and they may even act as hormone disruptors (except in the case of fermented soy, such as natto and tempeh).

If you’re a pregnant woman, you should know that consuming meat-based proteins is connected to better birth weights, particularly later in the pregnancy. If you have any concerns about your nutritional choices during pregnancy, talk to your OB/GYN.

Inadequate protein quality and energy and fatty acids, iron, zinc, vitamin D, iodine, calcium, and vitamin B12 are all possible side effects of a vegan diet for young children.

Another thing to consider is that certain plant-based proteins are strong in lectins, which are antinutrients that may harm the GI tract and prevent nutrients from being absorbed.

Beans, peanuts/peanut butter, and wheat all have significant levels of lectins, which may cause indigestion, bloating, and gas in certain individuals. Therefore, limit your consumption of incorrectly processed raw grains, dairy, legumes like peanuts/peanut butter, and soybeans, which have notably high lectin levels if they seem to be causing you difficulties.


Treat yourself to these Black Bean Brownies to kick-start your protein-rich, plant-based diet – everyone deserves a treat, right? Vegans may replace the honey with maple syrup and the eggs with flax or chia seeds.

This Tomato Basil Brown Rice dish is perfect for a warm and full meal. Again, maple syrup may be used instead of honey.

Fried Chickpeas are another favorite of mine. Fried foods have a poor rep, but this dish utilizes coconut oil and is packed with vitamins and minerals.


  • Protein meals are vital in our diets because they offer us critical amino acids that our systems cannot produce on their own. However, the best method to meet all of your amino acid requirements is to eat a variety of whole meals.
  • What are five excellent plant-based protein sources? Tempeh, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, whole grains such as amaranth and quinoa, and legumes such as black beans and lentils are some of the finest.
  • Consuming more vegan protein may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some malignancies, stroke, and renal disease. It may also assist you in losing weight, reducing inflammation, and restoring your internal pH balance.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B12, EPA/DHA, and leucine if you stick to a solely plant-based diet.
  • You may also augment your protein consumption with some of the finest plant-based protein powders, such as hemp, brown rice, and pea.

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