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Written by Ripe London on April 17, 2024

11 of the Best High Protein Vegetables

The benefits of protein are not exclusively for those looking to gain muscle. Protein is also key for weight loss, recovery, hormone balance and general health. Along with carbohydrates and healthy fats, protein is a macronutrient, meaning the body needs a relatively large amount. As a result, it’s important to know its importance and sources.

Protein is usually associated with meat, but this is not the only food source that offers protein. Vegetables, for example, can be a great way to up your protein intake as they are cheap and can be added to almost any dish. In contrast to meat, vegetables are environmentally friendly and low in carbs.

How Much Protein Should I Have a Day?

You'll need around 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day on average. To give you some context, this is 45 g of protein for the average woman and 55 g of protein for the average man. If you are actively trying to build muscle mass, this number will likely increase, but if you are trying to lose weight, this number will likely stay the same as a healthy protein intake can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight quicker!

So, high protein diets are important whether you want to have huge muscles or lose a few pounds. This protein boost can kick-start your diet and help you feel healthier faster. So, if you need to eat more protein, and don't fancy eating any more chicken, here's some of the vegetables with the highest portions of protein in the world!

Highest Protein Vegetables to Enjoy on a High-Protein Diet

Looking at the amount of protein per 100g, as well as their nutritional information and health benefits, we have put together a comprehensive list of the 11 best high-protein vegetables:

1. Lima Beans (8g of protein per 100g)

The highest protein vegetable is a lima bean. With 8g of per 100g, their protein content rivals that of some meats and including them in your diet could be one of the best things you ever do. Lima beans are considered one of the healthiest foods on earth due to their high levels of fibre and energy-boosting nutrients. If you're looking for the vegetable with most protein then this is it.

2. Kale (4.3g of protein per 100g)

Kale is another high protein vegetable that is largely believed to be a superfood due to its extensive health benefits. Kale contains 4.3g of protein per 100g and is also a great source of fibre and water, which can help with digestive problems and dehydration. Kale does not have an overly strong taste and is an extremely versatile ingredient, meaning it can be thrown into almost any dish. Its only downside is that it is very lightweight and eating 100g might be difficult.

Kale is a great, tasty alternative vegetable with the most protein second only to Lima Beans.

3. Alfalfa Sprouts (4g of protein per 100g)

Bean sprouts in general are a tremendous source of protein, but alfalfa beats them all as the sprout with the highest protein content. With 4g of protein per 100g, this tasty, easy-to-prepare ingredient can be included in almost any Asian-style meal, most frequently finding its way into noodle dishes. It is also rich in vitamin K, which is used in the body to repair and maintain bones as well as to prevent blood clots.  

4. Brussel Sprouts (3.4g of protein per 100g)

Brussel sprouts often divide opinion when it comes to taste, much like marmite. But with 3.4g per 100g, it’s hard to deny that brussel sprouts are an excellent source of protein. In addition to this, they are also a great source of fibre, which can help prevent digestive problems.

5. Sweet Corn - (3.2g of protein per 100g)

Sweet corn has a unique flavour and has become a popular pizza topping. With 3.2g of protein per 100g, adding half a tin of sweet corn to your weekly diet would be an easy way of increasing your intake. The benefits of sweet corn don’t stop with protein. It can also help your vision and digestion due to its phytochemicals and fibre contents.

A collection of healthy fruit and vegetables to eat daily

Enjoy Fresh High Protein Veg From Ripe!

6. Collard Greens - (3g of protein per 100g)

Third in this list, with 3g of protein per 100g, is collard. Due to the sturdiness of its leaves, collard greens are often used to wrap fish or other vegetables, creating a tasty and simple sushi-like snack. The added benefits of collard include: promoting healthy hair and skin as well as providing vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help prevent some types of cancer.

7. Watercress - (2.9g of protein per 100g)

Watercress has a strong flavour which can add a lot to a number of dishes. Not only is it tasty, but it is also packed with protein, at 2.8g per 100g. Watercress also has a host of other health benefits such as its antioxidants, which can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. It also contains similar phytochemicals to sweet corn, making it a great food for healthy eyes.

8. Spinach  - (2.9g of protein per 100g)

Spinach is similar to watercress in many ways, including its high water content. This vegetable is a quick, easy addition to any dish and contains 2.9g of protein per 100g. A popular meal amongst weight trainers is scrambled eggs and cooked spinach, allowing them to double up their sources of protein. As well as containing a number of vitamins, a lesser-known benefit of spinach is that it’s great for your skin and hair.

9. Broccoli - (2.8g of protein per 100g)

How much protein is in broccoli? Broccoli might not be at the top of this list, but at 2.8g of protein per 100g, it is not one to be ignored. This tasty vegetable is used in a variety of dishes including quiche, soup, foo yung and traditional festive meals. Broccoli is also a great source of vitamin C, which helps prevent some cancers and form collagen in the body (essential for tissue recovery and bone growth).

10. Black Mustard Seed - (2.8g of protein per 100g)

Black mustard seed is often used in Indian dishes but can be sprinkled over any salad to give it an extra kick and flavour. It has a protein content of 2.8 of protein per 100g and is a great topping for salads and oriental dishes. While it is often used sparingly, the health benefits of black mustard seed make it a welcome addition to any meal. Its magnesium content, too, can lower blood pressure and reduce the severity of asthma attacks or arthritis symptoms.

11. Asparagus - (2.2g of protein per 100g)

A final inclusion for this list is asparagus with 2.2g of protein per 100g. Much like broccoli, asparagus is found in a number of traditional home cooked meals. Ignoring its protein contents, asparagus is also packed with antioxidants and nutrients to promote vitality and deter illness. Interestingly, asparagus has anti-aging properties. Its leaves provide folate, which reacts to B-12 (a vitamin often found in fish) helping brain development and cognitive function.

Adding high protein foods into your diet is a brilliant way of helping to build muscle mass, controlling weight loss and making your overall health better. With the vegetables above, along with other sources of protein, you'll enjoy the essential nutrients you need to live better and feel healthier. If you're in London, order your healthy vegetables from Ripe. We hand-select the healthiest plant-based foods from the best veg markets in the city and deliver them straight to your door!

Protein Intake FAQS

Do high protein diets work and help you lose weight?

A high protein diet can help you burn more calories. In fact, studies show that you could burn up to 260 calories more just by adding more protein to your diet. But a protein-rich diet doesn't just help with weight loss. It can help with body composition by reducing the percentage of fat in your body, help with bone health and make you feel healthier in general. Even just making a few switches like replacing chips with cooked lentils or switching a takeaway with a stir fry every week can help you feel better.

Does protein help build a healthy immune system?

There's a lot of focus on protein intake helping build muscle, shaping the body and even recovery after exercise. However, something that isn't often mentioned is that eating more protein can support the immune system too. A deficiency in protein can impair the immune system and increase your chances of getting ill quite considerably. So, tucking into some raw spinach, lean meats or kidney beans every so often may do much more for you other than help you build some muscle.

How to increase protein intake on a plant based diet

Trying to add extra protein into a plant based diet can be difficult, but certainly not impossible. There are some amazingly delicious protein sources that you can include in your diet. Plant based protein includes spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, lima bean, broad beans, broccoli and more! Even cooked mushrooms have 3.1g of protein per 100g. So, you can make plenty of tasty plant based meals that are packed full of protein!

What is the link between essential amino acids and proteins?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They form peptide bonds which then create different types of protein. Foods that have high protein values also have a healthy amount of amino acids, so if you're trying to include more in your diet, you already are! However, including more quinoa, dairy, beef, fish and poultry will ensure that the relationship between amino acids and proteins in your body is the best it can be.

Which vegetable has the most protein?

Lima Beans, Kale and Alfalfa Sprouts. All of these are vegetables highest in protein offering an impressive 4g per 100g portion.

If you're thinking about your diet, you may want to consider some of the best low carb vegetables or even the best and worst fruit you can eat to encourage weight loss.

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