35 Best Sources of Plant Based Proteins, According to Science (+7 Delicious Smoothie Recipes)

Plant-based proteins are easily absorbed by the body.

Plant proteins are an excellent source of nutrients and fiber and help keep cholesterol at bay.

Meat has long been considered the optimal source of protein, but this is being debunked by science. (1)

Here are the 35 best sources of plant based proteins.

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This gluten-free grain is actually a seed and packs a mighty punch of protein.

In just half a cup, protein yield is 7-9 grams. Quinoa also has 9 essential amino acids. Quinoa's high content of fibre helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, as well as lower blood sugar levels. (2)

This grain also has a high content of iron. Iron helps the body to keep a normal temperature, helps with brain functioning and enzymatic activity.

The antioxidant levels in quinoa are very high. Antioxidants combat aging by protecting telomeres from shortening, and helps fight diseases. By sprouting quinoa, you can raise the antioxidant levels even more. (3)

This grain helps to keep you full, which in turn can keep calorie intake low, leading to weight loss.

Bottom line: Quinoa is a protein powerhouse with high levels of antioxidants and is great for weight loss, preventing constipation, heart disease, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.

2. Tofu

Tofu is a bean curd which is a derivative of soya, and has Chinese origins. Like soya beans, it helps protect against heart disease and cancer.

Tofu contains 8.2 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. It also has 8 essential amino acids and is a great source of vitamin B1, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and copper. (4)

Tofu has what are called isoflavones, which imitate estrogen in the body. They have the power to possibly lower the chances of developing breast cancer. (5)

During menopause, soy isoflavones prevent bone loss and improve the mineral density of bones. They also can help relieve other symptoms of menopause.

Bottom line: Tofu is a versatile plant based protein that can help prevent cancer, protect heart and reproductive health, and provide tons of vitamins and minerals.

3. Chickpeas

Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a legume packed with protein and fibre. They are a highly versatile food and have been a part of the human diet for more than 7500 years.

Chickpeas contain 14.5 grams of protein in one cup and 12.5 grams of fibre. These legumes keep you full, which can help with weight loss. It’s worthy to note that they also have 80.4 milligrams of calcium in one cup. (6)

Chickpeas are a great blood sugar stabilizer. The complex starches take a long time for the body to break down, thus preventing blood glucose spikes. This makes them an ideal food for diabetics.

These legumes also contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, thiamin, selenium, vitamin K and B6 and riboflavin.

Bottom line: chickpeas are a highly nutritious food staple that are great for controlling blood sugar, provide protein and fibre, and are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.

4. Nutritional Yeast

One of the lesser-known sources of plant based protein, nutritional yeast is a concentrated source of not only protein, but vitamins and minerals as well. It’s not the active form of yeast, as used in cooking. It comes in the form of powder or flakes and has a light yellow color.

In just two tablespoons, protein yield is 8-10 grams, 5 grams of fibre, and contains 130% of daily B12 needs. (7) It is used dry on pasta, salads, and even in smoothies for extra nutrients. It’s described as having a ‘cheesy’ flavor.

Nutritional yeast contains 18 amino acids, 9 of which are essential that can only be obtained from food. It contains high amounts zinc, iron and selenium, and about 4 grams of fibre per serving. Glucan, trehalose, glutathione and mannan are also present, which help boost immunity, reduce cancer risk and lower cholesterol. (8)

This food also goes by the names savory yeast or the colloquial ‘nooch’. It has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial components and aids digestion as well.

Bottom line: Nutritional yeast is a rich source of protein, fibre, vitamins and amino acids. It boosts the immune system and lowers risk of cancer and reduces cholesterol levels.

5. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis Sativa hemp plant.

It is said that hemp seeds are the world's most nutrient dense seed and a perfect food of the earth. With an ideal concentration of nutrients, including protein (which is complete with 18 amino acids and 31.56 grams of protein), vitamins and enzymes. (9)

These seeds have high amounts of alpha linolenic acid and gamma linolenic acid, which fight chronic inflammation, aging and disease.

The ALA and GLA content can help to relieve itchiness and dry skin, such as eczema. It can also lessen symptoms related to PMS and menopause, thanks to the high levels of primrose oil in the GLA.

Mitochondrial and myelin membrane function is improved by hemp seeds, leading to a decrease in Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and studies suggest these seeds can even prevent MS with regular consumption. (10)

Bottom line: Hemp seeds are one of nature's most powerful foods. They are touted to improve and prevent PMS, menopause and MS symptoms. The GLA, ALA and fibre content protect the heart and digestive system.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain about 6 grams of protein per half cup serving. They also contain high amounts of magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fats, fibre, copper and phosphorus. (11)

These seeds are great for men’s prostate health due to the high zinc content. Pumpkin seeds and derived oils can help to reduce an enlarged prostate. (12)

High in naturally-occurring phytoestrogens, which lends itself to increasing HDL cholesterol and lowering post-menopausal symptoms such as: hot flashes, aches and pains and hormonal fluctuations.

Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, which can help anxiety levels and improve sleep quality, along with the zinc and magnesium the seeds possess. These three nutrients work together to improve sleep. (13)

Bottom line: Pumpkin seeds help improve sleep, aid in the health of the prostate and reduce symptoms in postmenopausal women. They are high in magnesium, zinc, fibre, copper and phosphorus.

7. Spirulina

Spirulina is packed with plant based protein, clocking in at 4 grams per tablespoon serving. (14)

It is a blue-green algae which originates from warm and fresh bodies of water. It can be taken as a supplement and used in smoothies.

In scientific studies, this algae has been proven to treat the following: rhinitis, arsenic poisoning, overgrowth of candida and lowered immune system response. (15)

Spirulina has even been studied for it’s ability to reduce HIV viral buildup. It also contains high levels of potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin K, vitamin B3, iron, manganese and copper, as well as vitamin B12, which is essential for nervous system function.

Spirulina is also antioxidant-rich, making it a great food for slowing down the aging process and maintaining the proper function, health and length of telomeres.

Bottom line: Spirulina is touted as a ‘superfood’ and can treat heavy metal toxicity and poisoning. It has high fibre, protein, antioxidant, and vitamin and mineral content. It is great for maintaining immune function and lowering risk of cancer.

8. Edamame

Edamame boasts 17 grams of protein per cooked cup. (16) It is a soybean that has been harvested before maturing enough to harden. They can be eaten after boiling for 10 minutes in the shell.

Like other soy foods such as tofu, edamame beans contain phytoestrogens, which are beneficial for the reproductive and hormonal health of women. They also lower the risk of osteoporosis and promote overall bone health.

Edamame has been studied for its ability to stave off brain diseases, cancer, diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease. These beans can also increase and promote fertility by providing high levels of folate and iron. (17)

These mildly flavored beans also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which help to lower risk of heart disease and prevent hypertension.

Bottom line: Edamame is a protein rich food that is delicious and nutritious when boiled and salted. It promotes endocrine health, is full of vitamins, iron and folate and promotes bone health.

9. Lentils

Lentils pack a punch of protein at 18 grams per cooked cup and only one gram of fat. They have a distinct nutty flavor and can be used in soups, salads and bean dips. (18)

With the 16 grams of fibre lentils provide, these legumes can keep you full for hours and help with weight loss, as well as lowering cholesterol. Lentils are rich in folate, iron, potassium, thiamin, vitamin B6 and selenium.

Lentils are known for being an alkaline source of protein, which helps the body achieve and maintain homeostasis. They help the body to keep the pH level in the digestive system optimal, which keeps healthy gut flora alive. In turn, diseases such as Crohn’s and IBS are prevented.

Lentils contain plant lectins, which have been considered for their role in preventing the growth of cancerous cells. (19)

These legumes are also great for heart health and preventing strokes and atherosclerosis with the high fibre content and antioxidants. The fibre also protects the digestive system and is important for regulating blood glucose levels.

Bottom line: Lentils protect the heart, digestive system, prevent diseases, and are a rich source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are an affordable source of nutrients and great for controlling blood sugar in diabetics.

10. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter offers a whopping 4 grams of protein per tablespoon, making it a delicious and versatile plant based protein. It also contains 1 gram of fibre per serving. Add it to banana-chocolate protein smoothies or enjoy the classic pb & j sandwich. (20)

Peanut butter contains vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. The risk of diabetes can be cut by up to 30% by eating 2 tablespoons of PB five days a week, according to a study published by the American Medical Association. (21)

Eating peanuts can help lower the risk of colorectal cancer as well. (22) Peanuts are very high in niacin, which helps to prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. (23)

Peanut butter can help prevent gallstones and lower blood sugar, which lessens risk of diabetes.

The monounsaturated fat content helps to protect the heart from disease, keep you full and provide energy.

Bottom line: Peanut butter contains plenty of quality protein and fibre, vitamins and healthy fats. It helps to regulate blood sugar, promote brain health and prevent gallstones.

11. Wild Rice

Wild rice offers 7 grams of protein per cooked cup. It is highly nutritious in comparison to its bleached white counterpart. It’s full of fibre and lower in calories than other types of rice, which is beneficial for weight loss and digestion. (24)

Wild rice contains zinc, magnesium and a variety of B vitamins. These nutrients keep your immune system, nerve function and muscle health in check.

This food is in fact a grass, not a grain. It has a nutty, earthy flavor and is slightly crunchier than regular rice and has all the essential amino acids present. Wild rice has 30 times the antioxidants of regular rice. (25)

The phosphorous content of wild rice is beneficial to bone health. It helps to strengthen bones and lower the risk of stress-related fractures.

Bottom line: Wild rice is a nutrient-packed grain that is high in digestible protein and fibre. It has great antioxidant, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and B vitamin content, and benefits bone and heart health.

12. Oats

Oats offer about 6 grams of plant-based protein per cooked cup, according to the USDA food database. (26)

Avena Sativa (the scientific name for oats), is a cereal grain which can withstand the rough harvesting process and keep fibre and nutrients intact. One cup of dry oats provides 96% of daily molybdenum intake.

Oats in their whole form are the only food with avenanthramides, an antioxidant that has been studied for its ability to protect the body from heart disease. (27)

Oats help with inflammation as well. One daily serving can help reduce inflammation and lower LDL cholesterol, partly thanks to the high fibre content.

The high fibre of oats also helps reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and lowers blood pressure. Oats can help with keeping a feeling of fullness, which aids in weight loss.

Bottom line: Oats are a high protein, high fibre food that can help prevent heart disease, colorectal cancer and inflammation. They are also high in vitamins and antioxidants.

13. Potatoes

One medium potato contains about 4 grams of protein. (28) Potatoes are an affordable and versatile source of plant-based protein. It is also the world's largest vegetable crop produced.

Potatoes are a source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and phosphorus, among other nutrients, including carotenoids and flavonoids.

Potatoes contain no cholesterol, if no butter or other high fat toppings are added. Surprisingly, these nightshades are 70 to 80 percent water, making them a hydrating food along with their density for prolonged appetite control.

It is recommended to cook potatoes with the skin on, as a high concentration of nutrients and fibre are right below and in the skin. Plus, there’s added texture and flavor. Avoid consuming green potatoes; glycoalkaloids may be present, which are toxic. (29)

Bottom line: Potatoes are nutrient-dense and contain lots of protein and fibre. They also offer vitamin B6, vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium, and protect the body from disease with phytonutrients.

14. Spinach

In about 3 cups of spinach, there are 3 grams of protein. It’s an easy and nutritious boost for a smoothie, especially for those who don’t care for the rather bitter taste of this green. (30)

Spinach is rich in zinc, iron, calcium, folate, copper, magnesium and more. Spinach may also help control blood sugar for those with diabetes. It also has high chlorophyll content, which has been studied for it’s ability to fight cancer cells. (31)

Spinach is high in iodine, which is beneficial for the thyroid. The thyroid gland requires iodine to function.

The lutein content in spinach helps to protect ocular degeneration. Additionally, this leafy green has the power to help fight cardiovascular disease.

Bottom line: Spinach is a good source of plant-based protein, lutein, fibre, iron, folate, zinc and magnesium. It’s beneficial for diabetics, lowering blood pressure and keeping eyes healthy.

15. Avocado

Avocado is a creamy fruit that’s commonly made into guacamole. There are about 4 grams of protein in one of these fruits. (32)

They are full of monounsaturated fats and beta-sitosterol, both of which are beneficial for heart health. The fats keep you satisfied and help curb appetite. They also have almost 20 minerals and vitamins.

Vitamin A, E and K are present in avocados, which are 3 of the 4 fat-soluble vitamins. They are needed for hormonal function and are also powerful antioxidants. The water-soluble vitamins B and C are also in high supply.

Avocado has compounds that help fight cancer cells in the mouth and the liver. It can also assist in lowering and normalizing levels of cholesterol. (33)

Bottom line: Avocado is known for its cancer fighting properties and its high vitamin and mineral content. This fruit is beneficial for lowering cholesterol and keeping heart health in check.

16. Broccoli

One cup of chopped, raw broccoli offers about 2.6 grams of plant-based protein. It has more protein per calorie as compared to steak. (34)

This cruciferous vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane, which not only lends to its bitter flavor, but also to the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, specifically; pancreatic, esophageal, prostate and skin cancers. (35)

The phytochemicals in broccoli help fight arthritis, bolster immunity, lower blood pressure and keep blood glucose in check.

Broccoli is also high in vitamin C, lutein and fibre. It’s great for the digestive system and lowering cholesterol as well, thanks to the soluble fibre.

The florets of broccoli also contain smaller amounts of omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Broccoli is also a source of calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium.

Bottom line: Broccoli is a nutrient-dense food that offers powerful antioxidants, plenty of protein and fibre. It’s a source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, lutein and zinc, and benefits the immune and cardiovascular system.

17. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds deliver 4.6 grams of plant-based protein per serving; about 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce serving. (36)

One serving of these tiny seeds offer 18% of daily calcium requirements. Chia seeds also have plenty of omega-3 and omega-6, calcium, and fibre.

Chia has its origins in Mexico; it was used as money, medicine, and for its value nutritionally. It has high amounts of vitamins A, B, D and E, and many minerals including: manganese, sulphur, magnesium, iron and niacin.

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants and can protect from age- and disease-accelerating free radicals. They have a shelf-life of up to 24 months thanks to these antioxidants. (37)

They help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and keep inflammation at bay in the body. These seeds also help to protect the liver and safeguard against autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Bottom line: Chia seeds are a tiny, yet powerful food that provides protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also contain calcium and omega 3’s and 6’s.

18. Amaranth

One cup of cooked amaranth grain delivers 9 grams of plant-based protein. (38) Amaranths protein content is complete, thanks to the presence of lysine, which most grains don’t have.

There are three ways amaranth can be eaten; as flour, leaves or cereal. It’s a rich source of fibre, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and is also great for the digestive system.

Amaranth has a higher mineral content than many vegetables. It also has rutin and nicotiflorin present, which protects against cancer and high blood pressure. (39)

Phytosterols in this cereal grain reduce cholesterol and blood fat levels, and help curb inflammation. Amaranth has a positive effect on the immune system as well.

Bottom line: Amaranth is a cereal grain high in protein, fibre, iron and magnesium. It has a positive effect on the immune and digestive systems, and helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

19. Buckwheat

Buckwheat delivers a whopping 23 grams of plant-based protein per one cup serving. It is considered a seed, and is also high in soluble and insoluble fibre. (40)

Buckwheat has been studied for its ability to lower blood sugar and fight off a toxin called ‘alloxan’. It has also shown to have a positive effect on hypertension.

This seed is beneficial for those with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity, as it is free of gluten. Buckwheat is also a rich source of niacin, riboflavin, copper, and magnesium.

Buckwheat is a great source of antioxidants, specifically quercetin and rutin. These compounds help to treat atherosclerosis, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and much more. (41)

It can be made into a caffeine free tea as well, which benefits the digestive system and is a mild-tasting, highly nutritious and soothing drink.

Bottom line: Buckwheat seeds are chock full of protein, fibre, copper, vitamin B3 and B6, manganese and magnesium. It also offers potent antioxidants and can be made into a health-promoting, gluten free tea.

20. Red Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans have 15 grams of fibre per cup of cooked beans. They are also packed with fibre and complex carbohydrates, which helps to keep a feeling of fullness. (42)

These dense beans contain flavonols, which have been the subject of studies concerning the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. The recurrence of polyps was lessened with their consumption, according to the study.

There are 742 mg of potassium in 250 ml of red kidney beans, along with a high level of folate, molybdenum and B vitamins. Molybdenum helps to relieve symptoms of excess alcohol consumption.

Like other beans, red kidney beans have zero saturated fat. They have a low glycemic index rating and are great for diabetics, as they help control blood glucose levels. (43)

Bottom line: Red kidney beans offer 15 grams of protein per cup. They contain flavonols, which fight colorectal cancer. They’re rich in potassium, molybdenum, folate and B vitamins, and make a great meat substitute for diabetics.

21. Black Beans

Black beans pack in 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fibre per cooked cup serving. They also deliver high amounts of folate, copper, manganese and many other vitamins and minerals. (44)

The rich content of calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium contribute to the health and maintenance of the skeletal system. These nutrients assist in lowering blood pressure.

Black beans have been studied for their antioxidant activity and potential to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. These compounds protect telomeres and protect against age-related degenerative disease. (45)

Black beans are another bean that ranks low on the GI (glycemic index) scale, and are ideal for diabetics seeking to control blood glucose levels. These beans are also great for keeping blood pressure in check.

These beans are packed with complex carbohydrates and keep the digestive system healthy, while promoting a feeling of fullness to curb appetite and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Bottom line: Black beans have plenty of antioxidants, protein and fibre. They help to keep blood glucose and hypertension in check, and are a source of calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium.

22. Soy Milk

There are 8 grams of plant based protein in one cup of soy milk, compared to 4 grams in almond milk. Soy milk also contains between 20 and 30 mg of heart-protecting isoflavones per serving. (46)

The antioxidant content of soymilk is 75% greater than that of cow’s milk. It also has none of the saturated fat that cow’s milk does.

However, if you have a pre-existing thyroid condition for which medication is taken, it is highly recommended to speak to a doctor before consuming soy milk or other soy products, as it can interfere with thyroid medication in the gut.

Omega 3’s and 6’s in soy milk provide protection for the blood vessels in the body, along with the phyto-antioxidants. These compounds keep HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in check.

Bottom line: Soy milk is a good source of protein and is also versatile. It contains antioxidants, omega 3 and 6, as well as isoflavones. Those with thyroid conditions should consult with a doctor before consuming.

23. Green Peas

Green peas contain a surprising 8 grams of protein per one cup serving, along with about 5 grams of fibre. (47)

The bulk of green peas are sourced from India. They are lower in calories than other beans and legumes, and contain high amounts of vitamin C, K, A and folate.

One cup of green beans contains plenty of the antioxidant lutein, which helps to keep the eyes healthy. The bevy of vitamins and antioxidants are highly beneficial to the immune and nervous systems.

Green peas have been found to contain coumestrol, a polyphenol; it has been studied for its potential to protect against stomach cancer. One cup contains about 10 milligrams. Green peas have also proven to be anti-inflammatory. (48)

Bottom line: Green peas are a nutrient-rich source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They contain lutein for the eyes and other antioxidants. The coumestrol content is remarkable and could help prevent cancer of the stomach.

24. Artichoke

One medium artichoke (about 128 grams), offers 4.3 grams of protein, along with 6.9 grams of fibre. (49)

Artichokes are known for their high levels of the antioxidants quercetin, gallic acid and rutin. These compounds help to prevent cancer and fight off free radicals.

The fibre content of artichokes helps to keep HDL cholesterol in check and lower the risk of heart disease. The compound cynarin assists in ridding the body of cholesterol.

Artichokes contain vitamin C and vitamin K, and are great sources of folate, magnesium, niacin, potassium and magnesium.

Artichokes have been studied for their ability to help those with indigestion. They are classified as a ‘bitter herb’ and can be taken to help the liver produce bile as well.

Bottom line: Artichokes are a great source of protein, fibre and antioxidants. They help lower cholesterol and fight off free radicals, and can help with indigestion and bile production.

25. Tempeh

Tempeh packs in 31 grams of protein per 166 gram serving. (50) It has its origins in Indonesia and is made from soy beans that have been fermented and pressed into solid chunks or ‘cakes’.

Fermented foods are beneficial to gut health, making tempeh an easy choice. It can also lower cholesterol levels and help muscles to recover post-workout. The quality of the protein in tempeh is the same as meat, making it a great plant-based meat alternative.

Tempeh also has plenty of fibre, further benefitting gut health, lowering blood pressure and risk of heart disease. Tempeh also has niacin and riboflavin, which helps to keep the metabolism doing its job.

Tempeh contains 223 mcg of omega 3’s, along with 3590 mg of omega 6. 65% of manganese needed daily is provided by tempeh, which is needed for bone formation and prevention of degeneration of bones.

Bottom line: Tempeh is a protein powerhouse with 31 grams per serving. It’s beneficial to the bones, muscles, digestive system and metabolism. It also provides a large percentage of omega 3 and 6.

26. Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas (less commonly, cowpeas), are a legume, offering 13 grams of plant-based protein per 171 grams or one cup serving. They have a distinctive nutty/earthy flavor and are a versatile food. (51)

These legumes are very low in fat and relatively high in fibre, offering protection against heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, constipation, bowel disease and high blood pressure.

Black Eyed Peas have high levels of potassium, which is needed for organs, body tissue and cell functioning. Potassium is also needed for the heart and muscles to contract properly.

They are also a good source of vitamin A, calcium and iron, and have small amounts of vitamin C. Black Eyed Peas have above average nutritional density for little calories and help to keep you full, due to the complex carbs.

Bottom line: Black Eyed Peas are a great source of protein and fibre, and are low in fat. They help protect the heart and digestive system and guard against certain cancers. They also pack a punch of potassium.

27. Asparagus

Asparagus offers about 3 grams of protein per one cup, which isn’t much, but it makes up for that in other nutrient factors and benefits.

Asparagus is packed with folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre, thiamine and potassium. It is well known to protect the health of the heart, improve digestion, and repair cells.

This veggie has plenty of glutathione, which assists in getting rid of free radicals and carcinogens. It might also help protect against cancer. (52)

Asparagus has a higher level of antioxidant activity than that of broccoli, and more flavonoids than broccoli as well. These compounds are extremely effective free radical and cancer fighters.

Numerous studies say that eating more asparagus lowers risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality rates while supporting healthy hair and skin, giving more energy and lowering weight.

Bottom Line: Asparagus has protein, fibre, antioxidants and various vitamins and minerals. It is packed with antioxidants and has cancer-fighting qualities. It’s good for hair and skin and helps keep weight in check.

28. Almonds

Almonds offer 21 grams of protein per 100 gram serving (53), along with 12 grams of fibre. Raw and unsalted is the healthiest way to eat them.

Almonds have high levels of vitamin E, B2, B3 and B9, zinc, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and manganese. They also have fairly high amounts of calcium and potassium.

This nut has been the subject of studies regarding their positive effect on the health of the heart, effect on diabetes and weight. They have the highest riboflavin and niacin content of all the nuts that come from trees.

One study claimed that almond consumption increased vitamin E content in blood plasma, which in turn helped to lower cholesterol.

Bottom Line: Almonds have plenty of plant-based protein. They’re high in fibre, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin and zinc. They may help to keep cholesterol in check and keep the heart healthy.

29. Cashews

Cashews have 18 grams of plant-based protein per 100 grams. (54) They are great for cooking various dishes, such as stir fry, baked goods and even sauces. They’re mildly sweet-tasting.

Cashews have high amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which have long been purported to have a positive effect on heart health.

Studies on cashews have concluded that the addition of these nuts into daily diet lowers obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk.

Cashews originated in Brazil. They have high mineral content of copper, phosphorus and manganese. The magnesium in cashews can help with migraines, make brain function better and regulate hypertension.

Bottom Line: Cashews are a great source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. The magnesium has a positive cardiovascular effect, and can help with diabetes. They are also great for cooking.

30. Tahini (Sesame Butter)

Tahini has 17 grams of protein per 100 grams. (55) Tahini is crushed and toasted sesame seeds. It’s used as a dip or spread and has an earthy, mild sweet flavor.

Tahini oil is high in essential amino acids and the ‘good fats’, which has a positive effect on the hormonal system, the heart and the skin.

Sesame seeds have lignans, sesamol and sesamin, studied for their ability to keep cholesterol in check. These lignans can also fight off cancers related to hormones. (56)

Tahini also offers decent levels of thiamin, phosphorus and copper. Copper binds to free radicals and eliminates their threat to the body, such as aging and disease.

Bottom Line: Tahini is high in protein and mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. The sesamol and sesamin keep cholesterol down and help to fight certain cancers. It offers a good dose of thiamin, phosphorus and copper.

31. Veggie Burger

The average protein content of veggie burgers is 11 grams per one 70 gram patty. Plant-based meat alternatives are usually made from soy, legumes, grains, tofu and vegetables. (57)

Veggie burgers boast low to no cholesterol, plenty of fibre, protein, folate, niacin, vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus. Watch out for potentially high sodium in these burgers.

These burgers have far less saturated fat than regular beef burgers. Less saturated fat in the diet is a huge benefit to the cardiovascular system.

Meat burgers contain preservatives, unlike their veggie counterparts. The nitrites and nitrates in real meat have been strongly linked to cancer and disease. (58)

Bottom Line: Veggie burgers are a great alternative to meat; not only for protein, but for fibre, fat, vitamins and minerals. There is a lack of cholesterol, saturated fat and nitrates in these burgers, making them heart healthy and greatly reducing cancer risk.

32. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds offer 21 grams of protein per 100 grams of hulled seeds. (59) They are a versatile seed which come in a variety of flavors, including chocolate-covered.

Sunflower seeds are high in potassium, fibre and magnesium. They also offer a 65% of daily B6 intake in a 100 gram serving.

These seeds are also a powerhouse of essential amino acids, specifically, linolenic acid. They provide a high level of amino acids as well.

The rich source of selenium in sunflower seeds helps to prevent cancer by keeping cell damage to a minimum. They also have copper and vitamin E. (60)

Bottom Line: Sunflower seeds are high in protein, B6, magnesium, selenium and amino acids. They have cancer-fighting properties and alleviate arthritis pain with the vitamin E.

33. Triticale

In one cup, triticale offers 25 grams of protein. Triticale is a grain; more specifically, a wheat/rye hybrid. (61)

It is very high in manganese and phosphorus and packs a punch of iron, thiamine, magnesium, folate, zinc and copper.

The folate content in triticale along with regular B12 intake, lowers homocysteine in the blood, which lends to protection against cardiovascular disease.

With 19 grams of fibre in a one cup serving, triticale has a reputation for improving digestion and keeping regularity of the elimination process, which helps protect against bowel cancers and diseases.

Bottom Line: Triticale is a protein and fibre powerhouse grain. It may help to lower homocysteine levels and protect the heart and digestive system. It is also high in manganese, magnesium and folate.

34. Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans pack an incredible 39 grams of protein per cup. (62) They are used to make red bean paste, a condiment popular in Asian cuisine.

Adzuki beans contain a protein that is particularly beneficial for controlling diabetes. These proteins help to prevent the enzymes responsible for digesting complex carbs from doing so. This helps prevent insulin spikes.

These beans are high in folate, needed to create cells in the body. They’re also low fat, yielding only about a gram per one cup.

Adzuki beans also 1224 mg of potassium and 386 mg of potassium per serving.

Bottom Line: Adzuki beans are an excellent source of protein. They are great for controlling insulin spikes and offer high amounts of folate and potassium.

35. Millet

Millet is a grass which offers 22 grams of protein per cup. It is commonly seen in the form of cereals. (63)

Millet has high levels of B-vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. It also has potent plant lignans which, when turned to animal lignans during digestion, are great protection against cardiovascular disease and cancers.

It contains serotonin which helps to calm nervousness and anxiety and stabilize moods. The vitamin B3 can help lower cholesterol as well.

Millet that has been germinated has been shown to have a high phenol antioxidant content, according to a study on cereal grain/grass antioxidant activity. (64)

Bottom Line: Millet is very high in B vitamins and minerals. It offers 22 grams of protein per cup, as well as potent antioxidants and lignans for the prevention of disease.

7 Delicious Smoothie Recipes

1. Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Check out this smoothie classic! Easy and delicious.

Total Prep Time: 5 mins


  • 1-2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1 banana, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk, regular or vanilla
  • 1-2 scoops strawberry or vanilla protein powder
  • ½ to 1 cup of ice, optional


Blend all ingredients together in food processor and drink immediately.

2. Greens Smoothie

Get a boost of minerals with this smoothie. Refreshing and highly nutritious!

Total Prep Time: 5 mins


  • 2 cups frozen or fresh spinach
  • 2 bananas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 tbsp spirulina or wheatgrass powder
  • ½ to 1 cup of ice, optional


Blend all ingredients together in a smoothie blender and drink immediately.

3. Watermelon-Mint-Lime Smoothie

A go-to for beating summer heat. Excellent for the lymph system and the blood.

Check it out here!

Total Prep Time: 5 mins


  • 3-4 cups fresh watermelon
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2-4 leaves of mint (to taste)


Blend all ingredients together in food processor and drink immediately.

4. Mixed Berry Smoothie

Whip this one up for an antioxidant boost. You can use one type of berry or multiple types.

Total Prep Time: 5 mins


  • 2 cups berry blend, frozen
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


Blend all ingredients together in food processor and drink immediately.

5. Apple Cinnamon Smoothie

A perfect drink for the chilly fall or winter days, and full of nutrients. Find it here!

Total Prep Time: 8 mins


  • 1-2 fresh or frozen bananas
  • 1 peeled and sliced apple
  • 1 quarter cup of raw oats
  • 1 tbsp extract of vanilla
  • ½ cup yogurt, optional
  • 1 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice blend
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
  • ½ cup of crushed ice, optional


Blend all ingredients together and drink immediately.

6. Citrus Ginger Smoothie

A truly unique smoothie, with benefits for the blood and plenty of vitamins.

Total Prep Time: 8 mins


  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ of 1 sliced apple
  • 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
  • ½ cup regular almond milk
  • Grated fresh ginger, 1-2 tbsp
  • 2 cups fresh spinach


Blend all ingredients together and serve.

7. Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie

Get some protein and satisfy your sweet tooth with this chocolate-lovers shake. Look it up here!

Total Prep Time: 3 mins


  • 2 tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • 2 bananas, preferably frozen
  • 2 cups plain or chocolate almond or soy milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder


Put all the above in a blender for smoothies.