The Top Five Plant-Based Proteins
Annie was walking out of her Saturday Zumba class when a Karen stopped her with a question. “I’m thinking of not eating so much meat but am not sure about plant-based proteins. Which would you recommend?” “Hey, thanks for asking, would you be okay starting with your doctor and getting a blood test? We’ll learn what you are efficient in and deficient in; then, we’ll have a road map to develop the right meal plan. I think you’re on the right path because plants can be an excellent source of protein without all of the meat calories. Protein and Amino acids are the building blocks of life. Our body uses amino acids to make proteins that help break down food, grow, and repair body tissue. These same proteins can also be a source of energy. A healthy body can manufacture 11 of the essential amino acids but must get the other nine from food. Soybeans and quinoa are two foods that happen to contain all of the essential amino acids that humans need so do chia and hemp seeds. According to Harvard Publishing, the recommended daily allowance of protein should be between 10 to 35 percent of your daily calorie intake. Let’s get your blood work done, and then we’ll know the next steps. In the meantime, here are the top five plant-based proteins, but there are many more.”
Peanuts were a source of over 300 uses discovered by the great scientist George Washington Carver including as a meat substitute due to their excellent nutritional profile. Peanuts are high in fiber, healthy fats, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins. Be careful; even though they are low in carbohydrates, they are high in calories. Peanuts contain 20.5 grams of protein per ½ cup
Almonds are higher in fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin than any other tree nut. They are also a source of magnesium and potassium. Almonds are high in fat, but fortunately, two-thirds of it is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Almonds contain 16.5 grams of protein per ½ cup
Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans and then forming the mixture into a dense cake. Some versions also contain beans, grains, and flavorings. There are soy-free versions of tempeh that include only beans and grains. Because tempeh is better than tofu at holding its shape, it is an excellent meat substitute. It is chewy and has a distinct tang and nutty flavor. It is high in fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese (healthy sleep), the B vitamins and has probiotic benefits. Tempeh contains 10 grams of protein per ½ cup.
Lentils are low in saturated fat, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Of all the plant-based foods, Lentils contain the most folate (prevents anemia and supports red blood cell formation). They are a good source of iron, B vitamins, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Lentils contain 8.84 grams of protein per ½ cup
Spirulina is blue-green algae that are a high-nutrient, low-calorie food. Studies show that spirulina may help in weight management. A 2018 study found that it significantly lowered fasting blood glucose levels, suggesting that spirulina supplements may help control diabetes. Spirulina is a source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, folate and vitamins B-6, A and K. Spirulina contains 8 grams of protein per two tablespoons