Best plant-based protein foods

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A common misunderstanding is that plant-based diets such as a vegan diet may lack protein sources. While poorly-balanced vegan diets may increase the risk of some nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B12, iodine and so on, well-balanced vegan diets are considered one of the best diets for our health. [1]

Every diet should be a well-balanced one no matter if it’s an omnivorous or a plant-based one so we could get all the necessary nutrients with our diet. When you want to switch to a plant-based diet and create a well-balanced diet a question may arise about what are the best plant-based protein foods. That’s the question we are going to answer in this article.

Here’s the best plant-based protein foods list:

  1. Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
  2. Seeds (sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, etc.)
  3. Legumes (soybeans, kidney, black, white, navy beans, chickpeas, green peas, lentils, etc.)
  4. Tofu, tempeh, edamame
  5. Spirulina

1. Nuts

Nuts are one of the richest sources of protein and healthy fats, fiber, calcium and other healthy nutrients.
They contain about 15-30g of protein per 100g. [2]

Peanuts are usually considered nuts even though they are technically legumes.
100g of peanuts contains about 24g of protein. [3]

Walnuts contain about 15g of protein per 100g. [4]

100g of almonds contains about 21g of protein. [5]

2. Seeds

Seeds are also a good source of healthy protein and fats. 100g of seeds contains about 20g of protein.

100g of sunflower seeds contains about 21g of protein. [6]

100g of flaxseeds contains about 18g of protein. [7]

3. Legumes

Beans are a good source of protein, carbs, fiber, iron, folate and other healthy nutrients. [8]
100g of soybeans (dry roasted) contains about 43g of protein. [9]

Green peas are a good source of protein, carbs, fiber, folate, iron, zinc and other healthy nutrients. [10]

Green peas contain about 5.4g of protein per 100g. [10]

Chickpeas contain about 9g of protein per 100g. [11]

Lentils contain plenty of protein, fiber, and key nutrients, including iron and folate. [12]

Lentils contain about 9g of protein per 100g. [13]

4. Tofu, tempeh, edamame

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame all originate from soybeans.
Edamame are immature soybeans, tofu is made from bean curds and it reminds cheese, tempeh is made by cooking mature soybeans.

Compared to the majority of other beans, nuts and seeds soybeans are considered a whole source of protein meaning that the provide us with all the essential amino acids that we need. However, we can easily get all the necessary amino acids by combining some vegan protein foods throughout the day.

Edamame contains about 12g of protein per 100g. [14]
Tempeh contains about 20g of protein per 100g. [15]
Tofu contains about 19g of protein per 100g. [16]

5. Spirulina

Spirulina is blue or green algae that contains around 57 g of protein per 100g. [17]

Spirulina also contains a lot of copper, magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium and other healthy nutrients. [17]


So, what are the best plant-based protein foods? Here are some of the best vegan protein sources: nuts, seeds, beans, peas, legumes, tofu, tempeh, edamame, spirulina.

P.S. If you want to learn more about other vitamins, what are their recommended dosages based on science, get healthy meal plan examples, my top science-based recipes that can be cooked in less than 30 minutes each and find out how science-based nutrition can prevent and treat the most common diseases, improve your overall health and help you live longer then you can click here to learn more.

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