recipes and tips for better living

Monday, October 25, 2010

Super Charged * Super Foods: Protein Dense Plant Food


 It's a fact.  We all need to eat more greens...just like our moms and grandmas have been saying for years.  Remember how Popeye relied on a can of spinach to prepare for fights with Bruno?  Spinach is 30% protein and 70% vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.  That sounds like fighting food to me!  Meat on the other hand may be 50% protein, but the remaining 50% will be a mixture of some vitamins and saturated fat...the kind of fat that clogs our arteries.  I'm not saying you can't eat your meat, or that you need to be vegan, but i'm pointing out that it's evident that we need to up our greens to have more clean, low-fat nutrient density in our meals.  Vegans...especially those of you eating little meat/legume/grain protein, should be mowing through the chard, kale, spinach, and other greens..they are an incredibly nutrient dense protein source.  Now keep in mind, while much of these leafy greens have a high percentage of protein, it requires you eating a significant amount of them to reap the protein benefits.  Dr Douglas Graham (Author of 80-10-10, who touts a 80% fruitarian diet for athletes) suggests we eat 1 lb of leafy green vegetables a day.  I agree.  Between these greens, other vegetables, and a high fruit consumption you will already be getting about 10% of total caloric intake in protein (the RDA is 10-35% protein of daily caloric consumption and it's always set a little higher than you really need to account for any possible deficiency) plus you receive a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, without the unnecessary and harmful saturated fats that come from animal protein.

Below is a list of the protein percentages in various plant foods.  This could be a great tool for many of you living your grateful life.  Next time you're at the market, pick up a few of these higher protein foods and swap them out or add them in to your already healthy dishes....making them that much more nutrient dense!

Vegetables
Spirulina: 56% protein
Watercress: 51%
Laver (seaweed): 40% protein
White mushrooms: 37% protein
Crimini mushrooms: 37% protein
Broccoi raab: 36% protein
Oyster mushrooms: 31% raw
Spinach: 30% protein
Sprouted mung beans: 28% protein
Chives: 27% protein
Asparagus: 27% protein
Arugula: 25% protein
Portabella mushrooms: 25% protein
Butterhead lettuce: 25% protein
Mustard greens: 25% protein
Beet greens: 24% protein
Lambsquarters: 24% protein
Mustard spinach: 24% protein
Cilantro: 23% protein
Sugar snap peas: 23% protein
Swiss chard: 23% protein
Green leaf lettuce: 22% protein
Sprouted lentils: 21% protein
Collards: 20% protein
Purslane: 20% protein
Nopales (cactus pads): 20% protein
Parsley: 20% protein
Broccoli: 20% protein
Cauliflower: 19% protein
Chicory greens: 18% protein
Endive: 18% protein
Romaine lettuce: 18% protein
Zucchini (courgette): 18% protein
Celery: 17% protein
Sprouted peas: 16% protein
Iceberg lettuce: 16% protein
Kale: 16% protein
Wakame (seaweed): 16% protein
Okra: 16% protein
Kohlrabi: 15% protein
Dandelion greens: 15% protein
Radicchio: 15% protein
Green beans: 14% protein
Scallions: 14% protein
Sweet red peppers: 13% protein
Tomatoes: 12% protein
Cabbage, green: 12% protein
Radishes: 12% protein
Garlic: 12% protein
Cucumber: 11% protein
Cabbage, purple: 11% protein
Turnip greens: 11% protein
Eggplant: 10% protein
Fennel: 10% protein
Kelp: 10% protein
Beets: 10% protein
Sweet green peppers: 10% protein
Celeriac: 10% protein


Fruit
Guavas: 13% protein
Carambola: 11% protein
Cantaloupe: 8% protein
Peaches: 8% protein
Nectarines: 8% protein
Watermelon: 7% protein
Strawberries: 7% protein
Oranges: 7% protein
Grapefruit: 7% protein

Nuts and seeds
Black walnuts: 14% protein
Pistachios: 13% protein
Almonds: 13% protein
Coconut water: 13% protein
Flaxseed: 12% protein
Sunflower seeds: 12% protein
Tahini: 11% protein
Chia seeds: 11% protein
Cashews: 11% protein
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