The best thing about plant-based protein is that it’s so diverse. There are protein-rich, plant-based superfoods with all sorts of nutrients and health benefits that you can choose from.
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “Gee, so what is the best plant-based protein powder?” we’ve got your back. Here’s a rundown that’ll help you pick your perfect match out from the pack:
What is the Best Plant-Based Protein Powder? Presenting the Contenders:
All plants contain protein, but some are less “complete.” That means they don’t provide enough of one or more of the nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein—we need all of them in healthy amounts to function at our best. Some plants are also richer in total protein content than others.
No one plant is perfect, but there’s a smorgasbord of top-notch options. Each has significant health benefits while also offering a treasure trove of healthy proteins to a plant-based meal plan or diet. Here are a few of the top contenders for the rank of the best plant-based protein sources:
Sprouted Brown Rice
Raw, sprouted, whole grain brown rice makes a fantastic complete protein powder that’s not likely to cause allergic reactions, even for folks with super sensitive stomachs. It’s also easy to digest and naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. These are some of the reasons it’s been called “nature’s perfect protein.”
The “Inca peanut,” as it’s called, is all the rage right now. However, it’s actually the seed of a plant that’s been cultivated in Peru’s rainforests for 3,000 years! It lays its claim to the title of “best” because sacha inchi is not only rich in protein—these seeds also have more omega-3s than any other nut or seed (and 17 times as much as salmon). It’s one of the best plant-based sources of this health-boosting fatty acid on earth!
Extracted from split peas, this power-packed protein is everywhere. You can find it in meal replacement shakes, veggie burgers, and protein bars worldwide. Pea protein has a better balance of essential amino acids than hemp seeds, rice, and most other grains, and its protein is highly “bioavailable” (easily absorbed in full by the body). Eating it regularly provided a well-balanced source of protein while also reducing the levels of “ghrelin”—the hunger hormone—in the body.
And the Winner Is...All of Them! No, really:
Why pick and choose? Remember, the best thing about plant proteins is their diversity. A healthy diet should combine nutrients from a super-star mix of ingredients, and the best plant-based protein powder is no different. If you’re shopping for protein powder for smoothies, shakes, or cereal, get one that has all of the above.
There are plenty of other plant-based protein superfoods to try out, too, like hemp seeds, chlorella, and wheatgrass. And definitely don’t sleep on spirulina! This algae powerhouse has the highest known protein concentration of any food source (60-70% by weight!). Try them all—you can’t go wrong.