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30 Plant-Based Sources of Protein

To increase your protein intake, check out these 30 plant-based sources of protein. Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body.… Rina - April 5, 2020

To increase your protein intake, check out these 30 plant-based sources of protein. Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Over time, a lack of protein can make you lose muscle mass, which in turn cuts your strength, makes it harder to keep your balance, and slows your metabolism. It can also lead to anemia when your cells don’t get enough oxygen, which makes you tired. Protein is critical for building and rebuilding muscle tissue, so it makes sense that a deficiency would cause muscle pain. When dietary protein is lacking, the body pulls from its reserves in both the muscles and joints. As a result, muscles tighten and ache, and joints stiffen.

Our blood sugar level can really affect how we feel and how our brains process information, so it’s important to keep those levels stable to prevent brain fog. In fact, poor concentration and a lack of motivation can also indicate a poor protein level in the body. Protein deficiency is when your intake is unable to meet your body’s requirements. An estimated one billion people worldwide suffer from inadequate protein intake. The recommendation for protein for an adult male is around 63 grams per day. For an adult female, it is around 52 grams per day. It is very easy to reach this recommended amount and you can get all the protein you need simply by eating a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Tofu. Shutterstock

1. Tofu the superfood

Our list of ’30 Plant-Based Sources of Protein’  starts with -Tofu! Tofu is also known as bean curd and is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness. It can be silken, soft, firm, or extra firm. Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a valuable plant source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese and phosphorous. In addition to this, it also contains magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. Tofu is high in protein and many healthy nutrients.

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Eating tofu may protect against a variety of health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Tofu can be a great source of low-calorie protein in a weight loss diet. It’s a plant-based protein, like beans and lentils but tofu is lower in carbohydrates than these sources.
Tofu 3 oz, 6.9g of protein, 1.6g carbs, 0.3g fiber, 65 calories

Tempeh. Shutterstock

2. Tempeh, even more protein

Tempeh is a nutrient-dense soy product with a high amount of protein, as well as various vitamins and minerals. It may decrease cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, and appetite while improving bone health. Tempeh also contains prebiotics, which may improve digestive health and reduce inflammation. It’s popular with vegans and vegetarians because it has vitamin B12 and is a complete source of protein. That means it has all nine of the essential amino acids your body needs for healthy bones and muscles. What does tempeh taste like? The fermentation gives tempeh an earthy, savory, mushroom-like flavor that’s much stronger than the flavor of tofu.

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Where tofu is often soft and bland, tempeh is chewy and nutty. Cut into thin slices, marinate, and pan-fry (go easy on the oil, since tempeh is like a sponge). Use in sandwiches and salads. Crumble and cook like taco meat for old school tacos or as a filling for enchiladas. Tempeh is rich in soy protein and genistein, which have beneficial effects on the regulation of high blood sugar and prevent diabetes. Many studies have shown that fermented soybean and LAB are effective for the prevention of type II diabetes.
Tempeh 3.5 oz, 18.2g protein, 9.4g carbs, 5g fiber, 196 calories

Seitan steak. Pixabay

3. Seitan, the texture of meat

Seitan is a popular plant-based protein made from wheat gluten and water. It is high in protein and is a good source of minerals like selenium and iron. Seitan is a great option for vegans who cannot eat soy, since other popular vegan foods, such as tofu and tempeh, are soy-based. Seitan contains more protein than most other plant-based protein sources.

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However, seitan isn’t a complete protein—it lacks the amino acids lysine and threonine.  As a high-protein ingredient, seitan can make a great-tasting addition to your diet. However, it’s not for everyone—people who can’t eat wheat or gluten should avoid seitan.
Seitan 3oz, 18g protein, 3 carbs, 1fiber, 90 calories

Chickpeas. Shutterstock

4. The amazing Chickpea

Chickpeas are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber They offer a variety of health benefits, such as improving digestion, aiding weight management and reducing the risk of several diseases. Additionally, chickpeas are high in protein and make an excellent replacement for meat. The fiber, potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium in chickpeas all support heart health. Fiber helps decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Chickpeas contain no cholesterol. Both fiber and protein aid in weight loss. Fibre keeps you fuller for longer and protein satiates hunger.

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According to a study published in the journal Appetite, regularly eating chickpeas can help to keep weight loss plans on track. They’re loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Chickpeas, as well as beans and lentils, are well-known foods with a low glycemic index, making them good choices for diabetes, but new research suggests that eating legumes may actually have a therapeutic effect. It should be emphasized that chickpeas are a “complete protein” meaning that they contain all 9 Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s) which is one of the many reasons they have become such a valued food ingredient for vegetarians as well as omnivores across the globe.
Chickpeas 1cup, 14g protein, 45g carbs, 12.5g fiber, 269 calories

 

Soybeans. Pixabay.

5. The benefits of Soybeans

Soybeans are a type of legume that can be eaten whole or processed into a variety of forms. Though they are called beans, they actually belong to the pea family. Soy has been part of traditional Asian diets for thousands of years. Today, soy is widely consumed, not only as a source of plant-based protein but also as an ingredient in many processed foods. However, soy remains a controversial food… Some praise its health benefits, while others claim it could be bad for you.  Several studies suggest that soy may improve cholesterol levels, especially “bad” LDL cholesterol. However, the researchers observed that soy supplements didn’t have the same cholesterol-lowering effect as eating soy foods.

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Because soy contains phytoestrogens, men may worry about including it in their diet. However, studies do not indicate that soy negatively impacts the production of testosterone in men. What’s more, soy may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. While soybeans were once grown mainly in China, nowadays they are grown primarily in the US and South America and imported to China. However, 94% of soybeans grown outside of China are currently genetically modified. The safety of genetically modified foods may be a concern. Still, in moderation, soybeans and other GMO’s like corn can still be part of a healthy diet.
Soybeans 1 cup, 29g protein, 17g carbs, 10g fiber, 298 calories

Lentils. Image via Shutterstock

6. The many shades of Lentils

Brown, green, yellow, red or black – lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. They pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors. They’re easily cooked in 5–20 minutes. Which like soaking, reduces their antinutrient content. When a person replaces meat in the diet with high fiber foods, such as lentils, they decrease their risk of heart disease. Studies have found that potassium, calcium, and magnesium in lentils can decrease blood pressure naturally. Although many anti-inflammatory diets claim that whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) increase inflammation, research shows otherwise.

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Legumes are high in fiber and magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Lentils are an excellent food choice if you are trying to lose weight. Because lentils contain virtually no fat but are high in fiber, they tend to fill you up without adding unnecessary calories to your meal. A mere 1.5 cups of lentils contains just as much protein as a 3 oz chicken breast, but lentils contain the dietary fiber, copper, phosphorus, and manganese that you can’t get from meat.
Lentils 1cup, 17.9g protein, 39.9g carbs, 15.6g fiber, 229 calories

Edamame. Pixabay

7. Edamame with Sake

Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans sometimes referred to as vegetable-type soybeans. In addition to being a source of protein, edamame is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K. These plant compounds may reduce the risk of heart disease and improve the blood lipid profile, a measure of fats including cholesterol and triglycerides. Rich in isoflavones and omega-3 fatty acids, edamame can lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

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Edamame is a soy product and must be cooked before it can be eaten safely because raw soy is poisonous. Eating the beans raw can cause short term digestive problems and possible long-term health issues, and they are the classic accompaniment for the Japanese Sake.
Edamame, 1 cup – shelled, 33.2g protein, 28.3g carbs, 10.8g fiber, 376 calorie

Black beans. Shutterstock

8. The amazing benefits of Black beans

Black beans should be part of every diet. They’re healthy foods that help prevent cancer because they’re filled with phytochemicals that protect your cells from damage, and black beans are thought to be even more packed with antioxidants than other varieties. Luckily, black beans are easy to add to your diet. The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content of black beans, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. This fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

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For this reason, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommends eating 3 cups of legumes or beans per week. Eating 1/2 cup of beans every day will help you meet your weekly goal.  Black beans as part of a healthy weight loss diet can help you lose weight. Beans of all types are high in fiber and low in fat. They keep you full for long periods of time and help keep your blood sugar stable. All legumes, including black beans, are full of protein and fiber — two well-known appetite crushers.
Black beans 1 cup, 15.2g protein, 40.8g carbs, 11.3g fiber, 225 calories

Pinto bean. Image via Shutterstock

9. Pinto bean have protein too

Pinto beans are extremely nutritious. They’re an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients may provide several benefits, including improved blood sugar control and heart health. Pinto beans are also rich in various antioxidants and may help lower your risk of chronic disease. Pinto beans provide a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates. 3 There are nearly 30 grams of starch in a single serving of pinto beans.

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Carbohydrates in the form of starch provide the body with quick energy. You’ll also benefit from 15 grams of fiber when you consume a cup of pinto beans. Pinto beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate, and a good source of protein, vitamin B1, and vitamin B6 as well as the minerals copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
Pinto bean 1 cup cooked, 15.4g protein, 44.8g carbs, 15.4g fiber, 244 calories

 

white beans. Shutterstock

10. White bean varieties

White beans are packed with folate, vitamin B1 (thiamin), potassium, magnesium, and iron. It’s an easy bean to cook with and can be a healthy substitute for the type of starch in potatoes. Popular varieties include the navy bean (also called white pea bean, small white bean, Boston bean, Yankee bean or Fagioli), which is small and cooks relatively quickly. They are known to combat inflammation because they’re loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber, and protein. Fiber helps your body feel full, so you don’t need to eat as much throughout the day.

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While current dietary guidelines recommend getting about 25 grams of fiber a day, many fall short. On average, people consume just 12.1 to 13.8 grams a day. Vegetarians rely on beans and legumes for a lot of their protein, but these foods are actually a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Beans like pinto, navy, and kidney are about one-quarter protein and three-quarters carbohydrate. The carbohydrate portion is a mixture of fiber and starch.
White beans 1 cup, 17.4g protein, 44.9g carbs, 11.3g fiber, 249 calories

kidney beans. Shutterstock

11. Mineral-rich Kidney beans

Similar to the kidney in shape and color, kidney beans provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, and so are generally beneficial for your health. Kidney beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein. They’re also rich in various minerals, vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and other unique plant compounds. Therefore, these beans may aid weight loss, promote colon health, and moderate blood sugar levels.

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Make sure to cook them well, Raw or improperly cooked beans are toxic. According to the FDA, eating as few as 4-5 uncooked kidney beans can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in 1-3 hours after ingestion. Uncooked kidney beans have an unusually high concentration of a chemical called phytohaemagglutinin that is destroyed when the beans are properly cooked by boiling.
Kidney beans 15.3g protein, 40.4g carbs, 11.3g fiber, 225 calories

Peas. Image via Shutterstock

12. Peas Please

Peas have many essential vitamins and minerals that the body requires. Compared to other vegetables such as carrots, peas have higher levels of protein. In addition, peas are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, iron, folate, thiamin, Vitamin C and manganese. They have a high level of Vitamin K and one of the many health benefits of green peas is blood sugar control.

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As a group, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas are known as pulses. They may influence weight loss due to their effect on fullness, as well as their protein and fiber content. Similarly to oatmeal, pulses contain soluble fiber that may slow down digestion and absorption.
Peas 1cup 8g protein, 21g carbs, 7g fiber, 118 calories 

Almonds. Image via Shutterstock

13. Almonds for your health

Almonds are native to the Middle East, but the US is now the world’s largest producer. The almonds you can buy in stores usually have the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside. They are sold either raw or roasted. Almonds are an excellent source of protein, but they may also have significant fat-burning power. If you are aiming for a flat stomach, you need to get your cravings in hand.

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The best way is to snack on healthy foods which make you feel fuller for a longer time and do not bloat your stomach at the same time. Eating almonds every day is associated with greater weight loss and higher fat metabolism. They are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. Almonds are rich in magnesium and nutrients which promote hair growth. By preventing dandruff and hair damage, almond provides sufficient nutrition to the hair follicles that make the hair strands stronger, thus reducing hair fallout.
Almonds 1oz, 6g, 5.6g, 3.3g fiber, 164 calories

cashews. Unsplash

14. Cashews are better cooked

The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. Cashews contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants. When consumed daily, these antioxidant compounds can protect the eyes from the type of damage that can lead to blindness as we get older.  They can also help decrease the risk of cataracts. Magnesium in cashew nuts is essential for regulating the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, which may further help you lose weight. While nuts are high in calories, eating the right amount daily can actually help lose weight.

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Can you live off of cashews alone? You’d need to take a vitamin C supplement to survive any meaningful length of time. Cashews don’t provide complete amino acids, so you’d eventually develop some protein issues. Additionally, cashews must be cooked or steamed before consumption, as in their raw state they contain urushiol, a chemical which is also found in poison ivy and can be fatal if consumed in large enough amounts.
Cashews 1 oz 5.2g protein, 8.6g carbs, 0.9g fiber, 157 calories

Walnuts. Shutterstock

15. Eat more Walnuts!

Walnuts are the only nuts that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, along with the almost-extinct butternut. They are dense in nutrients and provide heart-healthy fats. The combination of healthy fats, protein, and fiber in walnuts helps to increase satisfaction and fullness. How many walnuts should you eat in a day? “A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut,” said US chemistry professor and study researcher Joe Vinson in a statement.

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“But unfortunately, people don’t eat a lot of them.” His advice: eat seven walnuts a day. Walnuts are the top nut for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. Their many benefits include:
Walnuts 10z, 4.3g protein, 3.9g carbs, 1.9g fiber, 185 calories

Pistachios. Image via Pixabay

16. Pistachios and better sleep

Pistachio nuts are not only tasty and fun to eat but also super healthy. They are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and various nutrients such as vitamin B6 and thiamine. Their health effects may include weight loss benefits, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and improved gut, eye, and blood vessel health. Pistachios hit the sleep-inducing jackpot, packing in protein, vitamin B6, and magnesium, all of which contribute to better sleep. Pistachios contain about 660 nanograms melatonin per gram of pistachio, which was more than various other foods.

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Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland to regulate the body’s internal biological clock and control daily sleep cycles. It is not recommended to eat the right before bed. These take longer to digest and can keep you awake. Unsaturated fats will not only boost your heart health but also improve your serotonin levels. Examples include peanut butter (read the label to make sure peanuts are the only ingredient) and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
Pistachios 1oz, 5.8 protein, 7.9g carbs, 2.9g fiber, 158 calories

Hazelnut. Image via Shutterstock

17. The delicious Hazelnut

Hazelnuts are a delicious snack, and they provide a range of benefits, including improving heart health and reducing inflammation. The hazelnut, also known as the filbert, is a type of nut that comes from the Corylus tree.  Rich in unsaturated fats high in magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B and E. Hazelnuts are good for your heart, help reduce the risk of cancer, and aid in muscle, skin, bone, joint and digestive health.

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It is also good for your skin. It’s loaded with skin-nourishing vitamins and essential fatty acids that help protect skin against sun damage, boost collagen production, and more. The robust amount of vitamin E present in hazelnuts help maintain the skin and hair health. Vitamin E protects the skin and hair from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, reducing the risk of skin cancer and dark spots.
Hazelnuts 1oz, 4.2g protein, 4.7g carbs, 2.7g fiber, 178 calories

Macadamia. Image via Pixabay

18. Macadamia The hardest nut

Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia. These nuts are high in healthy fats and may help those trying to lose weight. One serving of macadamia nuts also contain dietary fiber, protein, manganese, thiamin, and a good amount of copper. The fat content of macadamia nuts is higher than that of other popular nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Eating 1.5–3 ounces (42–84 grams) of macadamia nuts each day may significantly reduce markers of inflammation, such as leukotriene B4.

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Inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease. One nut you have likely never seen in the shell is the macadamia, and for good reason. Unlike opening a peanut or pistachio, it takes some serious muscle to extract the edible nut from its shell: 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to be exact, making it the hardest nut in the world to crack!
Macadamia nuts 1oz, 2.2g protein, 3.9g carbs, 2.4g fiber, 203 calories

Pecans. Shutterstock

19. Pecans

The pecan is a species of hickory native to northern Mexico and the southern United States. Pecans are excellent sources of manganese and copper, two minerals that boost overall metabolic health and anti-inflammatory properties, and potentially help reduce the risk of heart disease. The added benefit: These nutrients have shown promise specifically in preventing high blood pressure. Pecans are an excellent source of L-arginine, an amino acid which, when applied topically helps treat male pattern baldness as well as encourage the growth of healthy hair.

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This, in turn, increases the rate of blood flow throughout the body and to the hair roots which is vital for healthy hair growth and scalp. Pecans contain vitamin A and vitamin E, which are nutrients that contribute to the prevention of wrinkles and premature aging. The fiber content of pecans can help eliminate these toxins which in turn will support skin health. Pecans contain antioxidants that can help prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Pecans 1oz, 2.6g protein, 3.9g carbs, 2.7g fiber, 196 calories

Pumpkin seeds. Image via Shutterstock

20. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. This combination has benefits for both the heart and liver. The fiber in pumpkin seeds helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. A serving of pumpkin seeds (around 1 ounce one handful) will give you a fifth of your daily requirement for protein, over half your requirement for phosphorous, almost half of your copper and magnesium requirement, a quarter of your zinc needs and 16 percent of your iron intake.

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Pumpkin is a healthy food rich in nutrients and compounds that can support blood sugar control. Several animal studies have shown that it may lower blood sugar, potentially improving diabetes management and helping slow the progression of the disease in some cases. Pumpkin seeds are a skin superfood because they’re so high in zinc. Zinc protects your cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin renewal.
Pumpkin seeds 1oz, 9.3g, 3.8g, 1.1g, 148

21. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family native to Central America. Despite their small size, chia seeds are full of important nutrients. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke.

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Have you considered drinking them? When you think of foods, you rarely think of hydration. But don’t be fooled, if you have trouble drinking enough water throughout the day, chia seeds are a terrific aid. With their unique ability to absorb over 10x their weight in liquid, chia seeds are the ultimate hydration food.
Chia seeds 1oz, 4.4g protein, 12.4g carbs, 10.7g fiber, 139 calories

Flaxseeds. Image via Shutterstock

22. Flaxseeds

Flax, also known as common flax or linseed. It is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. Textiles made from flax are known in the Western countries as linen and traditionally used for bed sheets, underclothes, and table linen. Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition to being used in food, flaxseed oil can be applied to the skin to enhance skin health and increase skin moisture.

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Alternatively, some people use flaxseed oil as a hair mask to promote growth and shine. Flaxseeds are rich in proteins. So, when you consume a teaspoon of flaxseeds, along with dietary fiber, the protein content suppresses your appetite. This prevents you from overeating, thereby helping you in losing weight. Flaxseeds are low in starch and sugar, hence they are not high on calories. Flax seeds are safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts. But there are some things to keep in mind before you take flax seeds to lose weight. Don’t consume raw or unripe flax seeds. Not only will they cause indigestion, but they may also contain toxic compounds.
Flaxseeds 1oz, 7.1g protein, 10.6g carbs, 7.1g fiber, 159 calories

Sesame seeds. Image via Shutterstock

23. Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds, despite their tiny size, are a valuable cash crop. They are a good source of healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. Regularly eating substantial portions of these seeds (not just an occasional sprinkling on a burger bun) may aid blood sugar control, combat arthritis pain, and lower cholesterol. Sesame seeds are rich in lignans that may help burn fat as they cause the body to release more fat-burning liver enzymes.

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Sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein, which helps increase your metabolic rate and curbs hunger, thereby avoiding excessive calorie consumption and aiding weight loss. They are full of calcium as well, eating just 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds adds 88 mg of calcium to a person’s diet. Sesame seeds also contain zinc and copper, and both are beneficial to bone health. They also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can worsen symptoms of many disorders, including arthritis.
Sesame seeds 1oz, 5g protein, 6.6g carbs, 3.3g fiber, 162 calories

Quinoa salad. Image via Shutterstock

24. Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain crop that is grown for its edible seeds. It’s pronounced KEEN-wah. It technically isn’t a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal. In other words, it is basically a seed, which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain. Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire. Often referred to as the super grain, quinoa is high in fiber and high-quality protein. In fact, it contains more protein than any other grain while also packing in iron and potassium. This superfood is classified as a whole grain and is naturally gluten-free.

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Quinoa has a glycemic index of around 53, meaning it won’t cause as dramatic a spike in blood sugar. This means that quinoa can be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes since fiber and protein are considered important for keeping blood sugar under control. Quinoa is a complete protein that is also gluten-free and full of amino acids, which helps cleanse and detoxify the body and keep your immunity up.
Quinoa 1cup cooked, 8.1gprotein, 39.4g carbs, 5.2g fiber, 222 calories

Breakfast cereal rolled oats. Image via Shutterstock

25. Rolled oats

Rolled oats are a type of lightly processed whole-grain food. Traditionally, they are made from oat groats that have been dehusked and steamed, before being rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers and then stabilized by being lightly toasted. Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits. These include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.

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The low-glycemic impact (GI) of a bowl of oatmeal eaten in the morning provides a good source of energy throughout the morning hours, without a dramatic increase or drop in blood sugar. The daily caloric impact of an oatmeal breakfast is huge. Oatmeal could help you decrease your total daily calories by as much as 81%. Oatmeal and other unrefined grains tend to be high in fiber, and fiber also may help with inflammation.
Rolled oats 1cup, 5.9g protein, 30g carbs, 4g fiber, 170 calories

Barley. Image via Shutterstock

26. Barley

Barley was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. It is high in fiber, especially beta-glucan, which may reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It may also aid weight loss and improve digestion. Whole-grain, hulled barley is more nutritious than refined, pearled barley. Barley contains selenium. Getting selenium from the diet can help prevent inflammation, according to a study from 2012.

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Barley is packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals. All these are excellent for your skin. It has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body. Whole grain barley is very high in dietary fiber, which allows it to be digested slowly. Combined with a high level of magnesium, whole-grain barley is considered an incredibly beneficial food for diabetics and those with a high risk of developing diabetes.
Barley 1 cup 3.5g protein, 44.3g carbs, 6g fiber, 193 calories

Asparagus. Pixabay

27. Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable. It is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. That’s good news if you’re watching your blood sugar. It’s also a great source of copper, an essential trace mineral that aids in collagen formation, energy production and iron absorption.

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Thanks to their diuretic function, they help the cleansing process by activating the functions of the liver and kidneys that eliminate the toxins.  Asparagus Can Keep Diabetes Away. It is a popular vegetable, can keep diabetes at bay by helping blood sugar levels stay under control while boosting the output of insulin, the hormone that helps the body absorb glucose, says a study. This study suggests asparagus extract exerts anti-diabetic effects.
Asparagus 1cup, 2.9g protein, 5g carbs, 2.8 fiber, 27 calories

Broccoli. Pixabay

28. Broccoli 

Broccoli is a great source of protein as well as vitamins K and C, a good source of folate (folic acid) and also provides potassium, fiber. Vitamin C builds collagen, which forms body tissue and bone, and helps cuts and wounds heal. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.

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Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts are particularly healing for arthritis conditions, as are asparagus, pak choi, cauliflower, celery cabbage, and fennel. Studies have found that eating a serving of broccoli every day could prevent and slow the spread of osteoarthritis. Broccoli is full of many vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta-carotene. Lutein protects your skin from oxidative damage, which can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled.
Broccoli 1 cup 3.7g protein, 11.2g carbs, 5.1g fiber, 55 calories

Fresh spinach. Image via Shutterstock

29. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant native to central and western Asia. It is a rich source of protein and it is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach.

Spinach can be eaten alone or added to your eggs. Freepik

Low in calories and packed with the goodness of vitamins and minerals, spinach contains a high content of fiber and water, which can help facilitate weight loss. So, if you happen to maintain a healthy calorific intake, going for nutrient-dense spinach could be a really good choice. Leafy greens like spinach can help reduce inflammation. Earlier research shows nitrate in the plant has the potential to help convert “bad” fat cells, which are white, into beige cells which help to reduce obesity.
Spinach 1 cup cooked 5.3g protein, 6.8g carbs, 4.3g fiber, 41 calories

Seaweed (wakame) salad. Unsplash

30. Seaweed (wakame)

Wakame is a nutritious, edible seaweed that brings a unique taste and texture to a variety of dishes. It can add a range of vitamins and minerals to your diet for a low number of calories. It is also associated with various health benefits, including lower cholesterol levels, decreased blood pressure, enhanced weight loss and reduced blood sugar.

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Unlike land plants such as kale and spinach, seaweed contains preformed omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, so seaweed can be a reliable source of omega-3. There are several types of seaweed, and it generally comes dried or in a powder form. One common nutrient that is found across all seaweed is dietary fiber. It helps in digestion and helps in weight loss.
Seaweed (wakame) 1 cup, 5.3g protein, 6.8g carbs, 4.3g fiber, 41 calories

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-finds-american-grown-pistachios-contain-melatonin-300899264.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=89
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26268987

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