Protein is an essential part of any diet and vegetables are a great way to get more protein into your diet. This seemingly insignificant nutrient is deceptively hard-working and is vital to every cell, tissue, bone, and muscle in your body. Protein has many different functions and given that is makes up a massive 40% of our bodies' dry matter, it begins to become clear how significant protein is. Protein is key to the growth and repair of your muscles, bones, ligaments, tissues, and even your hair, skin and nails. It also boosts your immune system and helps your body fight infection. It maintains bodily functions, such as digestion, metabolism and circulation. Here are some of the best protein-packing vegetables available:
Although technically considered fruits and legumes, beans top the list when it comes to protein-rich food sources. Pinto, garbanzo, white, kidney, lima and soy beans are all packed with protein. Per 100g, the average protein content of beans is 9g, but some varieties contain as much as 12g per 100g – making the almighty bean the vegetarian source of protein.
Per serving, asparagus delivers over 3g of protein. This lanky, green vegetable is extremely versatile, as it can be boiled, grilled, steamed or fried.
Excellent in curries and soups and equally appealing eaten mashed or as a steamed side dish; not only is cauliflower versatile and healthy but it contains 3g of protein per serving.
Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
Tying for fourth place are two more examples of healthy, green vegetables: broccoli and brussels sprouts. Both of these vegetables are protein-rich, low in fat and easily prepared; making them ideal side-dishes.
Artichoke is another vegetable that is high on the list when it comes to protein content. Serving up just under 3g of protein per serving, artichokes are an excellent addition to pasta, salads and soups and provide an earthy, intense flavor.
Tiny yet surprisingly rich in protein, watercress is next on the list. Per 100g serving, watercress delivers almost 3g of protein, which, for its size, renders it an excellent source of the nutrient. Perfect for salads, soups and sandwiches, watercress can easily find its way into your diet.
It might be slightly more calorific than the other vegetables listed here, but sweetcorn also has its benefits: Per serving, it contains almost 3g of protein and is a delicious addition to many popular recipes.