Every day people are becoming more and more aware of their diets and what they should and should not be putting in their bodies in order to be healthy.
There has been a lot of negative publicity surrounding animal proteins, but the opposite goes for plant proteins which are classed as a healthier alternative.
Protein is, of course, a huge element of the diet. In recent times, plant protein has become a popular choice and is a necessity for vegans and vegetarians. While plant protein is great for you, many don’t realise is the importance of eating both the right amount and right kind of protein.
At PledgeSports, we are not only experts in helping athletes, teams and people from the sporting world raise money through sports crowdfunding, but as athletes ourselves we acknowledge the importance of plant protein in keeping our bodies going.
So, we’ve compiled a list of the best sources of plant protein so you can ensure your body is really getting what it needs.
Sunflower, Sesame & Poppy Seeds
These seeds pack a powerful protein punch, making them ideal sources of plant protein. Per quarter cup of sunflower seeds, you get an incredible 7.3 grams of protein, while both sesame and poppy seeds will give you an impressive 5.4 grams.
In addition to that, all of these seeds are great for getting your dose of Omega-3 fatty acids, making them an ideal plant replacement for salmon.
Unsweetened Raw Cocoa
Well, we don’t claim that to be true or false, but what we know for a fact is that if you can get your hands on unsweetened raw cocoa, one tablespoon of this stuff will give you one gram of protein, as well as boosting your manganese, iron and copper levels.
If you thought the sunflower seeds were impressive, take a look at these little beauties. In a quarter cup of almonds, you get an incredible 8g of protein.
The added benefit of Vitamin E, fibre and Omega-3 fatty acids make almonds a terrific source of plant protein.
I’ll tell you what – 20g of protein per half cup. Impressive.
Leafy Green Vegetables
You may have been always told to eat your greens growing up, and for good reason too. They are jam-packed with plant protein.
For example, two cups of raw spinach contain 2.1 grams of protein, while lettuce and cabbage have just a little less. These leafy vegetables also have lots of antioxidants, amino acids, and heart-healthy fibre.
Per quarter cup you can expect to gain 15g of protein, and it’s not just your average protein, this is a complete protein with all the essential amino acids.
They are also a good source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which are detoxifying properties that are fantastic for skin, hair, and bone health.
Quinoa burst onto the scene in recent years as a much-heralded superfood, and for good reason too.
Half a cup of these little world-beaters contains 14g of the same complete protein mentioned above. Not only are they great sources of plant protein, but are also carrying loads of potassium, magnesium, iron, Vitamin B6 and fibre.
A single cup of these little trees contains 8.1g of protein, as well as lots of antioxidants, amino acids, and fibre.
Easy to digest, full of plant protein and tastes great – what’s not to love about plant-based milk?
Soy milk has the most protein, with 4-8g of protein per standard 8oz glass. One thing to remember, however, when buying soy milk make sure you choose a non-GMO or organic product.
With regards to almond, hemp, and rice milk, all of them contain roughly 1g of protein per glass.
With just two tablespoons of these seeds harbouring 4g of protein, it’s easy to see why chia seeds are among the best sources of plant protein. Like hemp seeds, chia seeds have the complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids.
What’s more, these little plant seeds contain 11g of fibre, act as a good source of calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins, as well as being great for your nails, skin, and bones.
Available in a tablet or powder form, spirulina may be the one source of plant protein on this list that you’re not too familiar with. Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae, partly responsible for producing the oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere that billions of years ago allowed the planet’s originating life forms to develop.
As one of the most nutrient-rich foods available, one tablespoon contains 4g of protein (more than chicken, beef and soya per % of weight). It also contains 22 amino acids, as well as being rich in beta-carotene, calcium, iron and GLA, ideal for boosting skin, hair and bone health.
Depending on which legume you choose, each half cup contains anything between 15-26g of protein. They are also excellent sources of fibre, and phytonutrients, including anti-inflammatory quercetin, which is great for digestive health and blood sugar balance.
*In our opinion, it’s pretty easy for a vegetarian to use plant proteins as a supplement for meat and still fill their daily protein quota. This is mainly due to the fact that dairy consumption is not prohibited and dairy is famously a hugely nutritious and popular source of protein.
However, as vegans rely purely on plants, it would be very tough for any serious athlete to consume the levels of protein their bodies require daily.
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