Top 10: plant-based protein sources

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

Today we’re looking at the top ten protein sources of plant-based whole foods. Unlike animal-based protein sources, munching plant sources provides fibre (see our top ten from last Tuesday), phytonutrients (1) and being less damaging to the environment to produce via reduced greenhouse gas emissions (2). Animal based protein has the benefit of containing vitamin B12 (3) so if you just stick to plant-based eating, sort out a decent source of this vitamin which is vital to your health.

Similar to the top ten fibre sources from last week, herbs and spices are absolutely mega sources of nutrients - surprisingly high in protein this time. Some examples include - Parsley (dried) | 26.6g, mustard seed (ground) | 26g and fenugreek | 23g. So the more herbs and spices you can wack in your cooking the better!

These are common plant-based whole foods per 100g:

Top 10

Soy beans (roasted) | 38.5g

Pumpkin seeds (roasted) | 30.2g

Peanuts | 26.2g

Broad Beans | 26.1g

Red kidney beans | 25.3g

Walnuts| 24g

Oats | 16.9g

Toasted whole-wheat bread | 16.3g

Dried goji berries | 14.3g

Lentils | 9g

The NHS has a recommendation of 50g of protein (4) for an average adult, the European Food Safety Authority have a more useful 0.83g per kg of bodyweight (5). This takes into account personal requirements better and is similar to other countries such as the US, it would mean an intake of 58.1g for a 70kg adult. Intakes for infants, adolescents, pregnant/breastfeeding women and elderly all

require more.

Evidence base:

1 Drewnowski, A. and Gomez-Carneros, C., 2000. Bitter taste, phytonutrients, and the consumer: a review–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 72(6), pp.1424-1435.

2 Tilman, D. and Clark, M., 2014. Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. Nature, 515(7528), p.518.

3 Moll, R. and Davis, B., 2017. Iron, vitamin B12 and folate. Medicine, 45(4), pp.198-203.

4 https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/what-are-reference-intakes-on-food-labels/

5 https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/120209