Best sources of plant-based proteins by amino acids content

Proteins are an essential part of our nutrition and they are the main component of our muscles, skin, internal organs, especially the heart and brain. Our immune system also requires protein to help fight infections, and protein also plays a role in blood sugar regulation, fat metabolism and energy production 

Plant foods can be a great source of protein and of real benefit in helping to reduce animal proteins in the diet whether you are vegetarian or vegan. 

Yes, algea and dates are great source of proteins, and beans and nuts aren’t.

A shift away from animal products is getting easier with more fortified and nutritious plant-based foods available. Read on for a list of some of the best plant-based foods for protein. The following healthful, plant-based foods have a high-protein content : 

Common Name latin Name A C E D G F I H K M L N Q P S R T W V Y
nori Porphyra umbilicalis 3220 510 2739 2200 3171 2144 4405 838 3278 1043 5097 2719 2099 1784 3613 2268 2691 505 3023 1650
kombu saccharina latissima 1901 281 1973 1401 2101 1651 2918 504 2552 631 3449 1767 1116 1211 2090 1504 1847 364 1954 1095
wakame undaria pinnatifida 1891 280 1956 1409 2099 1658 2961 495 2554 624 3469 1778 1119 1215 2092 1495 1817 364 1913 1099
date phoenix dactylifera 1393 342 1485 1137 1870 1587 2382 669 1465 669 2837 1323 970 1164 2209 1740 1461 465 1558 1061
hemp cannabis sativa 1356 301 1398 1066 1779 1525 2291 620 1464 625 2838 1327 967 1108 2047 1561 1335 464 1458 997
Almond prunus dulcis 1402 311 1397 1074 1786 1516 2284 638 1410 621 2773 1296 936 1086 2024 1599 1355 449 1449 1012
white mustard sinapis arvensis 1354 321 1394 1035 1732 1615 2284 601 1496 600 2797 1308 938 1052 2029 1546 1361 449 1406 978
tumeric curcuma longa 1355 305 1412 1064 1729 1476 2314 631 1449 618 2729 1271 917 1076 2075 1603 1319 453 1431 1001
ginger zingiber officinale 1351 303 1412 1060 1731 1480 2320 629 1443 616 2726 1267 915 1070 2079 1603 1331 455 1415 1005
mint mentha spicata 1374 290 1359 1079 1743 1486 2203 604 1429 631 2815 1245 929 1109 2062 1591 1321 463 1431 939
sage salvia officinalis 1387 290 1361 1055 1758 1505 2205 610 1420 639 2797 1244 938 1118 2044 1586 1309 466 1429 941
quinoa chenopodium  1379 295 1381 1064 1725 1553 2250 598 1426 605 2792 1266 931 1092 2036 1539 1317 460 1364 954
potato solanum tuberosum 1386 298 1358 1068 1762 1472 2184 604 1383 615 2776 1253 933 1099 2039 1557 1329 476 1416 939
bean phaseolus vulgaris 1300 297 1304 997 1695 1617 2374 615 1531 584 2743 1322 949 1022 1987 1436 1306 451 1343 983
cacao  theobroma  1358 296 1350 1078 1753 1475 2219 615 1352 592 2693 1248 930 1054 2002 1527 1294 449 1369 953
soybean glycine max 1294 300 1319 997 1661 1583 2331 609 1455 590 2702 1286 933 1016 1957 1465 1295 437 1347 989
black cumin nigella sativa 1396 281 1325 1070 1709 1392 2091 587 1267 598 2653 1132 885 1106 1919 1584 1240 432 1362 904
brown mustard brassica junceae 1320 297 1260 976 1672 1465 2107 569 1251 570 2643 1167 872 995 1907 1443 1260 419 1327 908
pumpkin cucurbita pepo 1330 276 1262 1042 1678 1371 2067 592 1229 575 2543 1171 891 1014 1914 1446 1196 430 1335 900
peanut arachis hypogaea 1245 268 1202 894 1603 1349 2009 556 1175 529 2490 1107 831 980 1771 1395 1150 409 1228 816
corn zea mays 1347 270 1158 796 1642 1297 1831 509 1154 522 2457 875 747 987 1658 1402 1205 397 1267 814
chickpea cicer arietinum 1173 234 1116 870 1420 1224 1919 471 1183 462 2215 1019 754 876 1538 1215 1061 349 1163 788
chlorella chlorella spirulina  1428 191 1169 792 1458 1232 1345 399 1250 386 2224 891 1028 957 1426 1102 1280 319 1464 614
rice oryza sativa 1282 238 1082 737 1551 1192 1695 462 1080 518 2287 821 705 886 1494 1300 1091 377 1225 763
wheat triticum 1244 217 1050 710 1500 1105 1626 446 1024 469 2156 797 668 858 1426 1208 1067 347 1165 729
lentil lens culinaris 1130 212 978 719 1350 1092 1684 431 975 433 2019 833 690 794 1339 1057 972 327 1067 671

Table 1 : amino acid content of some plant-based protein sources (data from NCBI genome sequencing of chloroplasts) 

Nori 

The Porphyra Yezoensis and the Porphyra  Tenera are the main species in this group.  the nori seaweed like most algae has a high content of proteins, but the recommended intake of seaweed is low because as most marine species they contain a high amount of salt and iodine.  

Porphyra is particularly rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine that are known to increase muscle growth and help decrease muscle soreness after a workout.  

Kombu 

Kombu is kelp found in sea forests that contain many vitamins and minerals. Fast-flowing sea-currents and above-average salinity are needed to produce a high-end product rich in glutamic acid that is a source of flavour with a bitter taste characteristic to this kelp.  

Kombu is particularly rich in valine and threonine amino acids that increase muscle growth and help digestion.  

Wakame 

In addition to bringing a unique taste and texture to soups and salads, wakame is low in calories but high in several nutrients and amino acids :  

In fact, wakame like Nori contains a high amount of BCAA especially isoleucine that stimulates muscle protein synthesis.

Dates  

Dates are high in some important nutrients and have a variety of advantages and use. Unlike many algae species dates contain a huge amount of serine and arginine that serves as a neuromodulator of  NMDA receptors. Arginine plays an important role in immune function, wound healing and the release of hormones. 

References & Further Reading 

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