10 Top Plant-Based Protein & Iron Sources

Nowadays, most people are aware that following a meat-free diet doesn’t mean you’ll be lacking on iron and protein. Actually, there are plenty of meat-free sources of these two important nutrients.

Following a plant-based diet is good for you, for the environment, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Plus, it was discovered that excessive intake of red and processed meats increases the risk of cancer in a WHO study.

But, Are Proteins from Plants Complete?

A common question you see about proteins from plants is whether they’re complete.

A compete protein refers to the type and number of amino acids in it or the building blocks of protein.

If a protein has all of the 9 essential amino acids in equal levels, it’s considered complete.

In fact, for people with a varied diet, it’s rare not to meet their RDA of protein unless they have a limited access to food so they would do better by choosing animal foods over the plant ones because of their better amino acid distribution.

Therefore, as long as you don’t eat highly processed foods on the daily and live in the desert, you can easily get the needed nutrient from a plant-based diet.

Best 10 Sources of Iron & Protein from Plant-Based Foods

Kale

One cup has almost 3 grams of protein and it’s also abundant in vitamins A, B, C, and K and folate.

Chia seeds

This is one of the most nutritious foods in the world; ¼ cup will boost your iron levels by 3.5 mg and your protein levels by stunning 12 grams.

Put them in salads, made puddings and combine them in smoothies. You can also use them as a replacement for eggs in recipes.

Quinoa

In 6 grams of dry quinoa, you have 2 mg of iron. This is a pseudo-grain free of gluten and an amazing source of protein and iron.

It’s also abundant in magnesium and phosphorus. You can cook it or eat its sprouts. Mix it in salads, smoothies, add it to stir-fries, and more.

Lentils

Whether cooked or sprouted, they’re delicious. 50 grams will provide you with 6.6 mg of iron.

They are also beneficial for cholesterol reduction, the heart health and digestion, and balanced blood sugar levels.

Sprouts

This superfood should be a part of everyone’s diet- it can be grown from any nut, legume, seed or bean.

For example, buckwheat sprout, clover sprouts, lentil sprouts, etc. One cup will give you 5 mg of iron. They’re the tastiest when added into salads and blended in smoothies.

Spinach

This green leafy veggie is rich in iron and protein, as well as in vitamins A, B, C, and K, but it also has copper, manganese, and calcium. You can add it to savoury meals, mix it in smoothies or eat it fresh in salads.

Broccoli

This cruciferous veggie has iron, protein, and cancer-fighting compounds. It also contains calcium and various phytonutrients. You can eat them raw, stir-fried, roasted or blended in smoothies. There are many options.

Hemp seeds

These seeds are one of the most complete foods in the world in terms of nutrients.

They have all the essential amino acids and fatty acids for good health. Add them to fresh salads, morning oatmeal, smoothies, stir-fries, etc.

In 10 grams, you get 4 mg of iron.

Pumpkin seeds

These seeds will supply you with one milligram of iron per 10 grams. They’re a great snack rich in zinc.

Add it to salads and smoothies and soups, but make sure you soak them before like with all other seeds and nuts to ease their digestion.

Goji berries

This amazing fruit will give you 18 mg of iron per 10 grams and they have all the 18 amino acids and are also abundant in other vitamins. You can add them in smoothies and salads; they definitely add a unique flavour.

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