Protein has been in the guidelines for a long time now – just visit any healthy food store and you’ll find millions of protein smoothies, shakes and granola bars inside. Protein is the building block for our muscles and is essential for a number of important body processes. Proper protein amounts in the body can regulate numerous body processes and prevent ailments as well.
If you’re wondering how much protein we really need, it depends on the person. Your gender, age and physical activity level play a part in the amount of protein you really need, but in general, adults need 50-60 gr. of protein per day. The most common sources of protein in the usual western diet are poultry, dairy products and meat.
Meat contains up to 7 gr. of protein per an ounce, while dairy products have 1-10 gr. of this important nutrient per ounce. Many people believe the excluding both foods from your diet will leave you without protein, but meat and dairy products aren’t really the sole or even best sources of protein.
In fact, there are many plants that contain a lot of protein and will certainly satisfy your daily needs. Certain grains, nuts and seeds contain some protein as well. There’s only one small problem – vegetable sources aren’t a complete source of protein and they don’t have all the amino acids our body needs, so they must be mixed with grains, seeds and legumes in order to work.
Here are the plants with the highest amount of protein:
The amaranth leaves can be milled into a flour and have a spicy and pungent flavor that tastes best when they are steamed. A serving of amaranth leaves has 2.79 gr. of protein.
Artichokes have 3.5 gr. of protein and 10 gr. of fiber as well, which makes it great for our digestion and health.
6 asparagus spears contain 2.16 gr. of protein and only about 20 calories, so you can safely add them to various meals without the fear of weight gain.
Bok Choy contains 2.65 gr. of protein per a cup.
Steamed broccoli is a nice treat which will provide you with 2 gr. of protein per ½ a cup.
A cup of Brussels sprouts has 4 gr. of protein and other nutrients important for our health.
Butternut squash is a fine source of protein – a cup of the veggie has 1.84 gr. of protein.
½ a cup of the tasty cauliflower contains 14 calories and 1.14 gr. of protein.
A cup of raw or steamed celery has about 1.25 gr. of protein.
This delicious veggie contains a gram of protein per serving. Just cut an eggplant into cubes and season it with some salt before cooking so the salt absorbs all the moisture from it.
French green beans
These legumes are a real protein powerhouse – a cup of them has 12.5 gr. of protein and 16 gr. of fiber.
Green peppers will give your meal a crunchy texture and provide your body with almost a gram of protein per pepper.
Kale contains 2.5 gr. of protein and only 27 calories per cup. Plus, the vegetable offers anti-cancer properties as well.
Lima beans have 14 gr. of protein per cup as well as 13 gr. of fiber.
A serving of okra will provide your body with 3 gr. of protein. The vegetable can be added to stews or soups.
This simple veggie has 2 gr. of protein per cup and is a nice addition to your meals.
These delicious legumes contain about 9 gr. of protein per cup. You can eat peas raw and add them to salads or just steam them and use them as an addition to your meals.
Potatoes have 3 gr. of fiber and 4 gr. of protein per cup, and are the perfect addition to numerous meals and dishes.
Soy beans are pretty full of protein – ½ a cup has over 14 gr. of protein. On the other hand, the same amount of tofu has 20 gr. of this important nutrient.
A medium-sized sweet potato contains 3 gr. of protein and a nice portion of antioxidants as well.
Add all these vegetables in your diet and you will surely boost your protein levels.