Even though fish, meat, eggs and diary contain the most amount of protein, did you know there are certain vegetables which are also high in protein? Animal proteins tend to make your body acidic as I wrote in my blog last week, Is the Protein You Eat Making You Acidic. The best way to stay alkaline is to eat lots of alkaline vegetables along with your animal protein. The best way to stay alkaline is to eat lots of alkaline vegetables along with your animal protein. In addition I recommend eating meals with high protein vegetables instead of animal protein some of the time. When you eat these vegetables you get the protein along with fiber and a multitude of nutrients without any acidic yield. Here is my list of the 5 vegetables with the most amount of protein. I have not included any soy like edamame even though it is high in protein. I tend to stay away from soy products unless they are fermented because they contain antinutrients and toxins. Just as a reference point we need between 30-60 grams of protein each day.
An avocado is not technically a vegetable, it is a fruit. Avocados contain all 18 essential amino acids necessary for your body to form a complete protein. Avocados also improve the absorption of fat soluble nutrients like vitamin A, E and D. You have heard me say is not just what you eat that is going to keep you healthy it is how well you digest the food you choose. A steak may be hard to digest for many people, avocado on the other hand is readily absorbed by the body. Avocados also regulate blood sugar and have the good fats you need to reduce the signs of aging. Include them as a regular part of you diet especially when you are skipping the animal protein. Recipe: Tomato Peach and Avocado Salad
2. Peas – 1 cup cooked peas provides 8 grams of protein
Peas are one of the best sources of vegetable protein, about the same as a glass of milk. They are full of fiber, high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory agents. Even though peas contain some starch and sugar they also contain a phytonutrient called coumestrol to protect against stomach cancer. Peas are also good for the earth. They work with the bacteria in the soil to “fix” nitrogen from the air into the soil. This reduces the need for fertilizers since their main ingredient is nitrogen. As you mother used to say, “eat your peas”. You can add peas to any stir fry, soup, grain dish or salad. Fresh peas are fabulous but you have to clean them out of their shell. The easiest way to get them is frozen. I like organic baby peas. Recipe: Millet Fried Rice.
Spinach is best served cooked. One pound of spinach yields about 1 ½ cups cooked and is a good amount for 2 people. Cooking spinach allows you to eat lots of it easily. Another great thing about spinach is it is readily available. It is easy to find in any supermarket and it is affordable. It is high in flavonoids which act as antioxidants protecting the body from free radicals. It is an outstanding source of vitamins C and K that work to keep cholesterol from oxidizing making spinach good for your heart. Popeye was right spinach makes you strong. In addition to eating cooked spinach, I put spinach in my smoothies like my Easy Strawberry Green Smoothie You can add it to any smoothie. Recipe: Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
Broccoli is a great source of vitamins K, A, and C, in addition to fiber, potassium, folate, and lutein. Broccoli is high in sulforophane, a sulfur-containing compound present in cruciferous vegetables. Sulforophane has anti-cancer properties. It is important how you cook broccoli. Boiling can leach up to 90% of the nutrients from the broccoli. It is best to steam, roast, grill or stir fry broccoli to preserve the nutrients. Recipe: Grilled Broccoli with Garlic
I have to confess I don’t eat too many artichokes. I found it fascinating to discover they are a great source of protein and other nutrients. They are great for promoting bile flow which digests fats. Bile also moves toxins from the liver on to the intestines for elimination making them a powerful detoxifier. Artichokes have been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). Clearly we need to eat more artichokes. Here is an easy recipe I am going to try. Recipe: Roasted Artichokes with Lemon and Garlic