In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “What vegetables and fruits are high in protein?” Also, we’ll explore what protein is, and why it is important to have protein in our diet.
What vegetables and fruits are high in protein?
Vegetables that are high in protein include:
- Lima beans
- Mung beans
- Fava beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Chia seeds
The most distinguishable vegetables in this list belong to the Fabaceae family and are legumes. Dry foods such as grains, and legumes are richer in protein, due to their low water content, and because they absorb ammonia with the help of microorganisms that capture atmospheric nitrogen.
Fruits that are high in protein include avocados, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, guava, jackfruits, kiwis, apricots, raisins, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, bananas cherries, and grapefruits.
While most fleshy fruits will have low protein concentrations of protein (due to their water content), they can still contribute to a person’s daily intake, along with providing other nutrients such as potassium.
Additionally, due to the absence of water, dried fruits have higher protein concentrations than their fresh counterparts. However, if our readers opt to consume dried fruits, they should be mindful and avoid presentations that are sweetened, and by extension, have added calories.
The above-listed fruits and vegetables contain proteins that are often harvested at an industrial level and used to make protein powder for those who engage in plant-based dieting.
What is protein?
Proteins are biomolecules. They are made up of long chains of smaller building blocks, known as amino acids. The word protein comes from the greek proteios, which means principal, or main, and it alludes to how proteins make up nearly 45% of the dry weight of cells.
There are 22 different amino acids, though only twenty are coded by our DNA. These amino acids function similarly to how letters in the alphabet make up the words we communicate with.
Amino acids join together via special chemical unions (known as peptidic bonds) and just like there are short and long words, they make up various proteins of different lengths.
However, this process is complex and requires complex machinery present at a microscopic level within our cells.
Functionally, proteins make up structures in our cells, and they can have special chemical functions, such as regulating chemical reactions. The former is known as structural proteins, and the latter is known as enzymes.
Proteins make up the skeletons within our cells and help carry out orders handed out by our DNA – which in layman’s terms, contains our blueprints –instructions for our bodies’ growth, development, and functioning.
Structural proteins are important components of striated muscle– because striated muscle is tissue made up of various cells that require protein for repairing the “tears” that build muscle.
Enzymes are important because they regulate chemical processes that our cells need to maintain homeostasis– which is balance at a cellular level.
Why is it important to have protein in our diet?
Protein is essential to have in one’s diet, because it is necessary for optimal immune function, maintaining healthy muscle mass, recovering from injuries and procedures such as surgeries, as well as to combat physiological and metabolic problems caused by amino acid deficiencies.
Protein is also important for young children, teenagers, and pregnant women to consistently source, as their bodies are undergoing processes that require protein to make new, healthy cells.
A lack of overall protein may result in malnourishment and metabolic complications such as poor healing, a weakened immune system, and in the case of children and teenagers, stunted growth.
People who consume scant amounts of protein may have underdeveloped muscle mass, further complicating physical activities, are our muscles are inserted into our bones and their contraction and expansion make movement possible.
Protein is abundant in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs. However, those who opt for plant-based dieting may consume substitutes such as powdered vegetable protein.
We encourage our readers to consult with a licensed nutritionist if they have any doubts regarding their exact nutritional needs or to speak with a general practitioner if they are suffering from symptoms associated with low-protein intake.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the search query: “What vegetables and fruits are high in protein?” Also, we have explored what protein is, and why it is important to have protein in our diet.