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 fat, 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.
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 vegetable with the highest amount of protein is lima beans. 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.
2. Kale (4.3g of protein per 100g)
Kale is another food that is largely believed to be a super food 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 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. It’s only downside is that it is very lightweight and eating 100g might be difficult.
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 east-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 preventing 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.
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)
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 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 a 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.