10 Of The Top Plant-Based Protein Sources

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10 Of The Top Plant-Based Protein Sources
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image sources – see foot of article.

High-protein diets are known to promote satiety (feeling of fullness/gratification), weight loss, and muscle strength. [1][2][3] While most people automatically turn to meat for proteins, certain plants can also provide the nutrients you need. Below are some examples of the best plant-based protein sources:

1. Quinoa: Quinoa – which is technically not a cereal, but a seed (or pseudo-cereal) – contains 8 grams of proteins per cooked cup (240 ml). [4] It also contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.

2. Hemp Seeds: First let’s clear one misconception: Although hemp belongs to the same plant family (Cannabis Sativa L.) as marijuana, it contains trace amounts (less than 0.3%) of the psychoactive compound, THC. Therefore, hemp seeds won’t get you high but they’ll enrich your diet with 10 grams of protein and all 9 essential amino acids per 28 grams. [5]

3. Pumpkin Seeds: Looking for a versatile plant-based protein source? Give pumpkin seeds a try! A single cooked cup contains up to 12 grams proteins.

4. Chia Seeds: Native to Guatemala and Mexico, chia seeds contain 6 grams of protein per 35 grams. [6]

5. Beans: Beans come in all types of shapes, colors, sizes, and a ton of important nutrients. In particular, a cooked cup of beans contains around 15 grams of protein. [7] It’s also worth noting that legumes such as beans are scientifically known to lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol levels, reduce belly fat, and control blood sugar levels. [8][9][10][11]

6. Broccoli: Broccoli is one of those veggies that most parents love and kids don’t. But considering it contains 4 grams of protein per cooked cup, we’ll have to pick the parents’ side.

7. Asparagus: This vegetable is an excellent source of proteins (2.9 grams per 134-gram serving), B vitamins, copper, and folate. [12]

8. Lentils: A single serving of lentils (240 ml) contains up to 18 grams of protein – plus a good amount of iron, manganese, folate, fiber, and healthy carbs. [13] Consider adding the legumes to hearty soups or fresh salads.

9. Peas: Did you know that green peas contain more protein (9 grams per 240 ml) than a cup of milk. [14] This common side dish is also rich in manganese, folate, thiamine, vitamins (A, C, and K), and fiber.

10. Sunflower Seeds: Their flowers are beautiful, they are one of the healthiest sources of cooking oil, and now their seeds are packed with nutrients (6 grams of protein per serving).

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.


[1] Johnstone AM. et al. 1996. Effect of overfeeding macronutrients on day-to-day food intake in man. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8862477.

[2] Weigle DS. 2005. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002798.

[3] Longland, TM. et al. 2016. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26817506.

[4] Quinoa, cooked Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2.

[5] Hemp Seeds Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/1352377/1.

[6] Seeds, chia seeds, dried Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2.

[7] Beans, kidney, red, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4302/2.

[8] Jayalath VH. et al. 2014. Effect of dietary pulses on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24014659.

[9] Bazzano LA. et al. 2011. Non-soy legume consumption lowers cholesterol levels: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19939654.

[10] Venn BJ. et al. 2010. The effect of increasing consumption of pulses and wholegrains in obese people: a randomized controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21041811.

[11] Jenkins DJ. et al. 2012. Effect of legumes as part of a low glycemic index diet on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23089999.

[12] Asparagus, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2311/2.

[13] Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4338/2.

[14] Peas, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2521/2.

Image For Pinterest:

10 Of The Top Plant-Based Protein Sources
Graphic ©herbs-info.com. Image sources – see foot of article.

Infographic Image Sources:
Quinoa – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Red_quinoa.png
Hemp Seeds – https://pixabay.com/en/hemp-cannabis-seeds-grains-healthy-2258608/
Pumpkin Seeds – https://pixabay.com/en/pumpkin-seeds-seeds-food-pumpkin-1326476/
Chia Seeds – https://pixabay.com/en/chia-seeds-super-food-eat-healthy-2119771/
Beans – https://pixabay.com/en/beans-legume-food-proteins-1001032/
Broccoli – https://pixabay.com/en/broccoli-green-food-healthy-eating-1629643/
Asparagus – https://pixabay.com/en/asparagus-green-asparagus-green-eat-2178164/
Lentils – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3_types_of_lentil.jpg
Peas – https://pixabay.com/en/peas-sweet-pea-local-fresh-1526292/
Sunflower Seeds – https://pixabay.com/en/sunflower-seeds-shell-cores-food-537651/

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