What Are the Best Sources of Plant Protein?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2020
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For an individual following a vegetarian or vegan diet, it's important to be informed about the best sources of plant protein. Many vegetables and grains contain plenty of plant protein for a healthy diet, and some of the best sources include soybeans and soy products. As long as enough calories are consumed, it should be fairly easy to obtain sufficient protein from plant sources. Protein is made of substances called amino acids, and most grains and vegetables contain some of these building blocks, while a few are complete sources. By eating a variety of plant-based foods, individuals should be able to get complete protein from their diet.

To maintain a healthy body, it's necessary to eat a balanced diet that contains all of the essential nutrients including protein. Many individuals are under the impression that consuming adequate amounts of protein means eating foods from animal sources such as meat, cheese, and eggs. Those who follow vegetarian or vegan diets need to be aware of the best sources of plant protein and integrate those foods into their menu on a regular basis. It is relatively simple to get the recommended amount of protein entirely from plant-based foods.


Present in most vegetables and grains, some of the best sources of plant protein include soy products. These items are available in most grocery stores, and they all contain high levels of quality protein. Soy is one of the most versatile sources, since it can be made into many different foods including meat substitutes such as tempeh and seitan. Another soy product, tofu, is mild in flavor and blends well in a wide array of different dishes; it takes a lot of flavor from the foods it is mixed with. Beans, nuts, lentils and a grain called quinoa also contain high levels of protein.

Since the protein intake recommendation is only a small percentage of total calories, it can be relatively easy to ensure adequate nutrition while relying on plant protein. Amino acids that are present in varying amounts and differing types in vegetables and grains form the building blocks of protein. As long as an individual consumes enough calories to maintain body weight and eats a wide variety of foods, he or she will likely ingest sufficient protein to maintain health. Variety is important to obtain all of the amino acids from the different foods to compose complete protein. Also, soy and quinoa are good sources of complete protein that have all of the essential amino acids in one food.



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