Top up your protein with these vegetables
Although animal foods are usually highest in protein, some plants also contain decent amounts that can boost your health and wellbeing.
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy green vegetables you can eat.Protein accounts for 30 per cent of its calories and it contains all the essential amino acids. A 1-cup (30-gram) serving provides 1 gram of protein and 181 per cent of the RDI for vitamin K (16).It also contains high amounts of folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Besides its high protein content, spinach contains plant compounds that can increase antioxidant defense and reduce inflammation. In one study, 20 athletes who took spinach supplements for 14 days experienced reduced oxidative stress and less muscle damage.Another study gave nitrate-rich spinach to healthy participants and measured its effects on their levels of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule normally used in the body to widen the blood vessels.
Lastly, regularly consuming spinach has been linked to as much as a 44% lower risk of breast cancer.Protein Content: One cup (30 grams) of raw spinach contains 0.9 grams of protein, while 100 grams of spinach contain 2.9 grams. Protein accounts for 30 per cent of the calories in spinach.
From string beans to chickpeas, beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. When it comes to legumes, lentils are among the winners. They contain about 18 grams of protein per cup when cooked, and at 230 calories per serving, they’re great for anyone watching their calorie intake.Even though vegetables are not very high in protein compared to some other foods, many of them contain good amounts of protein relative to their calorie content.Plus, these vegetables are high in many other nutrients and have been linked to all sorts of health benefits.
These protein-rich vegetables are a great way to increase the protein and nutrient content of your diet without adding many calories.Lentils are also a great source of dietary fiber and contain a high amount of the micronutrients folate, thiamin, phosphorus, and iron. Toss them into a cold salad, use them in a soup, or even mold them into a protein-packed meat-free patty.Protein content: 17.9 g per cup (boiled).
Once you’ve ground that gourd into a delicious pie, you might find yourself wondering what to do with the seeds. Roasting them provides a good snack alternative to chips, but did you know that just one ounce provides more than 5 grams of protein, more than half of the protein found in an egg?In addition to being a plant-based protein bomb, diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been associated with lower levels of gastric, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Facing a sleepless night? The L-tryptophan in pumpkin seeds has been suggested to encourage a good night’s sleep.
Protein content: 5.2 grams per ounce (roasted).
Looking for fat-free protein gains? You might want to check out the green veggie that looks like a miniature tree. Often thought of as simply a side dish to accompany beef or chicken, one cup of chopped broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein all on its own. And unlike your standard animal-based protein, a cup of these green florets also packs over 100 percent of your daily need for vitamins C and K.Broccoli is also a good source of folate, another important vitamin that has been shown to decrease the risk of certain types of cancer.
Protein content: 2.6 grams per cup.
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