People often wonder where people who eat plant-based diets get their protein. The average person resorts to animal products for protein because he or she isn’t aware of plant-based protein sources. The problem with this is that most animals are raised with hormones and fed chemicals in their diets. To open up the world of plant-based protein, we’ve compiled a list of 7 veggies that are great protein sources. Try replacing some of your meaty meals with some of the following vegetables to get your daily dose of protein.
#1: Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are a great protein source, and they are low in calories too! Protein actually makes up 42% of the calories (1 cup contains 1.3 grams of protein) in alfalfa sprouts. These are rich in B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and vitamins C & K. Additionally, eating 1.5 cups of alfalfa sprouts every day can help to lower cholesterol levels.
Anyone who has ever seen Popeye knows the power of spinach. In addition to spinach’s high protein content, this leafy green contains antioxidants that actually help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Eating 1 cup of watercress can actually give you 100% of the amount of your daily vitamin K intake. It also contains potassium, calcium, B-vitamins, and vitamins A & C. Blend this in with your smoothies or add it to salads, but don’t cook it because it drastically decreases the antioxidant content.
Although it may make your pee smell, asparagus is a nutritionally dense veggie. 1 cup of asparagus actually contains 2.9 grams of protein! Additionally, asparagus contains anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties too.
Broccoli is a popular veggie and it ranks high on the vegetable protein scale, coming in at 2.6 grams of protein per cup. Broccoli also has folate, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and K, and you get all of this with only 31 calories per cup! Because of broccoli’s antioxidant compounds, it can help stimulate liver detoxification and reduce cholesterol levels.
Much like broccoli, cauliflower is great because it provides a high amount of protein with a low calorie count. Since cauliflower is a versatile ingredient, you can use it many different ways. You can eat it raw, sautéed, baked, or steamed and it absorbs a variety of flavors.
#7: Brussels Sprouts
We saved the best protein-filled vegetable for last. 1 cup of Brussels sprouts has 3 grams of protein and 3.3 grams of fiber, which you need for healthy digestion. Eating Brussels sprouts actually helps promote healthy gut bacteria and helps produce short-chain fatty acids in the gut.
Even though vegetables aren’t as high in protein as the protein sources we’re used to, they have less calories per serving, which means you can eat more of them without worry. Additionally, many of these vegetables contain essential nutrients that you need in your daily diet. Experiment with plant-based protein sources for overall better health.